Shares in Stanley Gibbons Group PLC (LON:SGI) jumped this morning after the prestige collectibles merchant sold a strip of rare Indian stamps to a private collector-investor in Australia for £500,000.
That’s the highest price ever paid for a single Indian philatelic item.
Stanley Gibbons said the “unique” strip of four 1948 Gandhi 10 rupees ‘SERVICE’ stamps is considered the most desirable item of post-1947 Indian philately.
Only single examples of this “great rarity” have ever been recorded in private hands, the AIM-quoted firm said. In fact, Stanley Gibbons sold one of the singles last year to a client in Uruguay for £160,000.
The reason for the rarity and subsequent high value of these particular stamps is because only 100 were ever printed with the word ‘SERVICE’ on and they were issued directly to the Governor-General’s secretariat.
One sheet of 50 stamps remains intact in the Delhi Postal Museum, while only thirteen single examples from the other sheet are authoritatively recorded, including the strip of four just sold.
HM Queen Elizabeth II is also known to have a similar strip of four 1948 Ghandi ‘SERVICE’ stamps in her collection, which is thought to be the largest and most valuable private collection in the world.
Today’s sale follows on from a string of recent high-profile sales of Indian rarities, including the famous ‘Four Annas’ – where the head of Queen Victoria is inverted – which sold for almost £110,000 last month.
“The market for high-quality Indian rarities has been strong for several years and is supported by the on-going desire of the wealthy, Indian diaspora and savvy international clients to own these historic assets,” said Stanley Gibbons’ managing director of investors.
“Given Stanley Gibbons' specific expertise, we are best placed to identify, authenticate and trade rare Indian stamps of the highest quality.”
Shares in Stanley Gibbons gained almost 9% to trade at 9.37p shortly before midday.