​​​​​​The Penny Red from Plate 77  

The UK's most valuable stamp

​​​​

A Penny Red from Plate 77 is one of the most valuable stamps in the World and often viewed by collectors as the holy grail of philately. The stamps were printed sometime after 1863 and failed the quality standards of the Post Office.

Flaws in Plate number 77 meant the stamp perforations were lined up incorrectly. The “Plate 77” from which the test sheets of stamps were printed from was destroyed along with all printed test sheets and individual stamps.
​​​​​​​

No Plate 77 Penny Red stamps were made available for circulation. ​​​​​​​
​​​​

Stamps produced from Plate 77 Penny Reds are not supposed to exist, but that is not the case as a small number of stamps made their way into circulation. At least one sheet was released into circulation and a 77 stamp has become one of the most sought after stamps in the World, making a 77 a collectors dream and very highly prized.
 

The last Penny Red stamp “77” to be sold and in the public domain was sold by the stamp collecting specialists Stanley Gibbons to a private collector for £495,000 in 2016, becoming the second most valuable Great Britain stamp. The most valuable UK stamp is also a Penny Red from Plate 77, which sold at an auction in 2012 for £550,000 but it’s higher price is reflected in the fact that it is considered to be in a better condition.
 

So how many Penny Black 77’s are there?
 

Only a small number exist and to-date only four “mint” (un-used) and five “used” (Franked or cancelled) have been reported or verified. See table below:
 

The known Penny Reds from Plate 77 are:​​​​​​​
​​​​​

1 x Mint

Royal Philatelic Collection

1 x Mint

Tapling Collection at the British Library

1 x Mint

Stolen from the Raphael Collection in 1965, not seen since

1 x Mint

Once part of the Ferrary collection and sold in the 1920’s

2 x Used

Two examples found 20thCentury that were damaged and have not been seen for many years

1 x Used

In the Crocker Collection, subsequently lost in the San Fransisco earthquake of 1906

1 x Used

Sold by Stanley Gibbons to a private collector £495,000 (letters M-I)

1 x Used

Sold at auction 2012 £550,000 (letters P-I)


​​​​​​​

Not all Penny Red stamps are valuable but collecting Penny Reds from all Plates can be quite challenging and rewarding as the Plates number up to Plate 225, with the exception of a few Plates that failed the quality standards of the Post Office.
 

Penny Reds stamp (Plates 71 to 225) have a catalogue value starting at £2.75 and up to £800 for Plate 225, with an average price of under £10. Plate 77 being the exception. The catalogue prices listed are for good examples, but well centred, lightly used can attract a premium of plus 125%, with all others on a downward sliding scale depending on any faults and the condition of the stamp.


​​​​​​​Shop Penny Reds