Sotheby’s has sold rare stamps for over 140 years, with our first stamp auction devoted entirely to postage stamps held in 1872. Since then Sotheby’s has represented the most significant and famous philatelists, including Sir Maxwell Joseph, Ryohei Ishikawa, Robert Gibbs, Sir Gawaine Baillie and Lady Mairi Bury. Our sale catalogues have become highly valued reference works within the collecting community.
Rare stamps of the classic period issued during the mid to late 19th century are in constant demand. Those in superb condition are worth considerably more than those with defects, often by factors of 100 or more.
Stamps with errors can command significant premiums. In 1918 a sheet of 100 recently-introduced 24-cent airmail stamps was found with the centre inverted; the “Inverted Jenny” now sells for hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Although we focus on high-value, single-owner collections, our team offers free saleroom estimates for more modest properties and can recommend reputable outlets for sales by auction or private treaty.