Robert A Siegel Auction Galleries will offer the David B Markowitz Collection of France and French Colonies in New York on January 22, with a Reunion 1852 15c stamp expected to lead bids.
Reunion is a French island located just east of Madagascar in the Indian Ocean. The 15c stamp at auction is considered the most important example of the island's first issue, boasting huge margins.
It is valued at $39,000.
The stamp is the only recorded example that has a sheet margin at the right, as well as the only example with a full sheet margin at the bottom. As Siegel states: "There are no other examples of the first issue of Reunion that come close to the magnificent physical characteristics of this stamp".
According to the auction house, there are only a "tiny" number of unused examples available, and most of these have faults.
A 30c stamp from the same issue, printed locally to fulfil demand, is also valued at $39,000.
Elsewhere, one of only three known used examples of the French Congo 1900 5-centimes on 20-centimes red on green holds a value of $26,000 in the sale.
A provisional issue used for just four days and never sold to the public, it is unknown how three examples escaped destruction, and the stamps have become essential for any serious French Colony collection.
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