How about a postage stamp? In terms of size and weight, no other natural or man-made object is more valuable than the rarest of the rare stamps.
The world’s most expansive stamp was printed in Sweden in 1855 and was the result of a printing error. Instead of printing the Treskilling stamp on green stock, it was printed on yellow / orange stock paper. Only one copy of the Treskilling Yellow postage stamp is known to exist. It first achieved a million-dollar price tag when it was sold formally in 1990. Six years later, it was sold for 2.5 million Swiss Francs, around 2.3 million US dollars. In 2010, the stamp made headlines again with a record-breaking sale. While the exact figure is unknown, the auctioneer revealed that it at least maintained the $2.3 million price achieved in 1996.
Treskilling yellow stamp is considered the most expensive stamp of the world among five other expensive stamps. The story behind Treskilling yellow stamp is quite interesting. In Sweden, there were two types of stamps that were issued at that time i.e. Three and Eight schillings. The Treskilling stamps had green colors while that of 8 skillings was yellow-orange. On one historic day, a Treskilling stamp having a yellow color was issued by mistake. The specialists advocated that the employees on the coloring job forgot to change the color due to which the yellow stamps were printed by mistake.
Even though a whole sheet of yellow stamps was printed at that time but only one Treskilling yellow stamp existed in the whole world. Due to this standout fact, the genuineness and worth of this particular stamp is determined by its unique color. It is also mentioned as Three schilling banco error of color.
It is believed that this particular stamp was revealed by a person in 1886. Georg Wilhelm Backman, a young collector of stamps was going though envelop covers of his grandmother during which he found a 3 schilling yellow stamp. After keeping it for around one year, he sold it to a stamp collector. The first amount for which Treskilling yellow stamp sold was seven koronor which approximately is around one dollar. The person considered to be the first buyer was a stamp collector named as Heinrich Lichtenstein who was not sure about the worth of the stamp so he validated it with the help of experts.
Since no other stamp with such exclusive attributes was found since 1885 to date, the fact was out that this is the only existing “Treskilling yellow stamp”.
In the year of 1970, Swedish Postal Museum became the source of a controversy that the stamp is nothing but a fake. After this statement, the stamp under discussion was examined by a commission and was declared to be a genuine one. In 1984, the owner of stamp named David Feldman sold the stamp in exchange of hefty amount. The stamp was resold in the year of 1990 for over $10,00000. Afterwards, in 1996 another purchase for stamp was done for a noticeable amount of money. Each of these three prices marked the world record as a price of a postage stamp.
After a chain of buyers, Government of France finally held the ownership of this unique stamp. If we look back at the most recent sale, the name of a Swedish politician pops up who still holds the ownership of the stamp since 2013.
A significant event associated with the Treskilling Yellow stamp was a lawsuit brought in high court by a husband and wife against Clydesdale Bank PLC. The couple named Baron Jean-Claude Pierre Ferdinand Gunther Andre and his wife Jane Andre claimed that there were nine Treskilling Yellow stamps placed in six covers inside the bank by them. They also mentioned that these covers remained untouched from 1986 through 2014. They made a statement that upon reopening of these covers, they came to know that their belongings had been taken away deliberately. After conducting a detailed trial, the court responded with rejection of the claim made by the couple.
There is also an interesting storybook written by Lars Fimmerstad published in 2004 which tells the story of Treskilling Yellow Stamp. It is quite a matter of surprise that how a stamp with coloring error has gained the title of being the most valuable stamp in the whole world and still carries a huge value.
- Treskilling Yellow (Wikipedia)