A rare example of the world's second official postage stamp, the two pence blue, starred in a US philatelic auction on August 24-25.
The two pence blue was intended to be issued at the same time as the world famous Penny Black, allowing a letter weighing an ounce to be posted. However, there is doubt surrounding its official release date, as the earliest postmark seen on the two pence is May 8, 1840, two days after the first postmark on a Penny Black.
While its name may not be as famous, there were far more Penny Blacks issued than the two pence blue, making the latter rarer and more valuable at auction. After the colouration of the Penny Black was revised to red, the two pence blue continued to be issued, though a white line was added so that newer printings could be identified. These later varieties are widely available on the current market.
The example at auction was one of the earliest two pence blues issued, having been printed from plate 1 in position T-B. With wide margins except at the upper left, it sold for $14,105.
Following this was a Queen Victoria £1 stamp from 1884, featuring the I. R. Official overprint. Despite a heavy patina and signs of aging, as well as having new gum, the exceedingly rare stamp sold for $11,673. The 2011 Concise Catalogue price for a sound example of this stamp is £32,000.
Paul Fraser Collectibles has a stunning unused original gum example of the 1884 £1 currently available, with only a small central gum thin above the watermark. We also have a superb example of the VR official, which stands as one of the rarest of all the officials.