Yesterday (May 19), Geneva auction house David Feldman sold a 1948 10 Rupee Mahatma Gandhi stamp of India for the incredible price of €120,000; €144,000 (US$ 205,000) when buyer's premium is included.
This is much greater than the price paid for the prized example of the 4 Annas 'Inverted Head' error, which sold at Spink in October 2010 for £105,390 ($170,500 on today's exchange rate) - at that time a world record for an Indian stamp.
Since then another example of the error has sold for €140,000 hammer price at German auctioneers Christoph Gartner. Following on from Spink's sale of an 1854 Indian issues cover for the equivalent of $183,000 in January, it's clear that this is to be a huge year for Indian philately.
David Feldman also believes that their sale represents a World Record price paid for a modern stamp from any country.
The stamp, probably the finest remaining example out of only 18 known in existence today, was issued by the Government of India as a set of 4 commemorative stamps on August 15th, 1948 as a tribute to the father of the nation Mahatma Gandhi, who was assassinated in January of the same year.
These were the first commemorative stamps of Independent India, and issued in 4 denominations - 1 ½ / 3 ½ / 12 Annas, and the 10 Rupees. A set of only 100 10 Rs. stamps (in two sheets) were overprinted with "Service", making these the world's least printed stamp.
In the same auction, part of a fantastic Grand Prix winning collection of covers of Indian stamps used in Burma attracted interest from all over the world. During a tense period of bidding, the collection was sold for a total amount of €672,000 (US$ 957,000).
The results at David Feldman have shown that the market for Indian stamps and postal history is extremely buoyant, and makes an excellent opportunity for investors.