Following hot on the heels of it’s popular Penny Black stamp coin, the British Pobjoy Mint is launching an unusual coin in a similar style featuring another philatelic icon, the Tuppenny Blue. The postal system as we know it today was born 175 years ago in Britain with the launch of a pair of stamps that were both proof of payment and receipt for postage, combined with a fixed price that did not depend on the distance the letter was to travel. Used by virtually every country in the world today, it was actually a ground-breaking idea back in 1840. We all know the Penny Black, but the Tuppenny Blue was the more expensive stamp that today can command some quite staggering prices.
The image above has for its backdrop a block of twelve unused stamps. World reknowned stamp experts, Stanley Gibbons, has an investment branch that lists as a flagship product something called the Prestige Portfolio. Comprising fifteen items with a combined selling price of £3,508,000 ($5.23m), one of the items is the aforementioned block of stamps described as “1840 2d Blue Pl.1. The magnificent reunited unused o.g. four margin block of twelve comprising of a block of four lettered SE-TF and a block of eight lettered SG-TJ both complete with full deckle edge bottom margin”. To give you some idea of how important this stamp is, this item is valued at £950,000 ($1.4m), almost three times the value of the second most expensive item in the portfolio, itself a Master Die Proof of the Penny Black.
The coin itself has a very unusual blue colouration over the whole of both surfaces, not traditional colouring, but almost taking on the effect of having been dyed. Pobjoy describes it as being a Pearl-effect finish and the Penny Black coin was similarly finished in black for the same reason (below-right). It’s hard to see that those who bought the Penny Black coin won’t snap this up as well. Stamp collectors are a passionate and often hard-core bunch, and items like this are few and far between. The subject is steeped in history, a landmark in fact, something that also goes down very well in the numismatic collectors world. We haven’t seen prices yet, but can’t imagine it being priced any differently from the Penny Black coin at £66.62 +tax for the one standard ounce sterling silver version, and £24.96 +tax for the cupro-nickel. The earlier coin was available in a 5oz silver and 1oz and 1/25th oz gold versions, but apart from a note that gold may be available if you contact the mint, we only have confrimation on these two at present. It should be up on the Pobjoy site shortly.