A is for Aden and Z is for Zanzabar

A is for Aden and Z is for Zanzibar... Now what is between? For the world wide classical era philatelist and stamp collector, a country specific philatelic survey is offered by the blog author, Jim Jackson, with two albums: Big Blue, aka Scott International Part 1 (checklists available), and Deep Blue, aka William Steiner's Stamp Album Web PDF pages. In addition, "Bud" offers commentary and a look at his completely filled Big Blue. Interested? So into the Blues...

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Most expensive stamp ever in Big Blue?

Tuscany 1851-52 Scott 1 1q black
"Lion Of Tuscany"
Into the Big Blue
$2,500 used!

That is the catalogue value for the Tuscany 1852 1 Quattrini black "Lion of Tuscany" stamp cut image shown above.

Actually, because of the 1851 date, BB might be referring to the 1851 Scott 1a black/bluish @ $2,750. But I went here with the major number.

There is an 1857 1q black/white paper for "only" $1,325, but I consider the issue date too late for BB's intent.

This expensive stamp cut turned up as I was reviewing the BB Italian States coverage, which will be included in the next post.

Although I am less than half way through the country analysis of Big Blue, I suspect this is the most expensive stamp space ever to appear in the album.

True, there are other stamps in the issue that are less expensive.

1851-52 Scott 5a 2 Crazie greenish blue
60 Quatrinni = 20 Soldi = 12 Crazie = 1 Lira

The 2 Crazie stamp (Yes, that's the denomination!) above is "only" CV $200 used. Perhaps no one will notice if one substituted?  ;-)

I was aware that the '69 editors had added the U.S. Scott 2 10c black/bluish "Washington" @ CV $1,200 used/ $600 pen cancel. The Scott 1 5c red brown/bluish "Franklin" @ CV $525 used /$200 pen cancel is also in all editions. But many BB collectors have a separate collection for U.S., so a bit of a moot point. Nevertheless, the U.S. Scott 2 was the most expensive stamp space in BB that I knew of....

Until now.

If one recalls, reviewing all the most expensive stamps in BB for the countries from Aden through Guinea...

 "We have a new leader as the most expensive stamp in Big Blue. Surpassing the China Scott 78 1c on 3c red ($250) is the blank space choice France 1849-50 Ceres Imperforate 40c orange/yellowish Type I @ $475!"

But incredibly, for the Tuscany stamp spaces, there's more...

The 1860 stamp next to the 1851 "Lion of Tuscany"?
1860 1c brown lilac @ $1,000!
The stamp cut next to the 1851 1q black image is a 1860 Provisional Government issue valued @ $1,000 no gum!

Is there also a less expensive alternative?

1860 Scott 19 10c deep brown

The 10c deep brown of the set is CV $82+: not cheap, but much less than Big Blue's stamp image cut.

 What to do?

• If one is faithfully filling the spaces with stamps that clearly fulfill BB's specifications, then one better begin a savings plan. ;-)

• If one is less fastidious, then other stamps in the issues could be substituted.

And this expensive conundrum only applies to the 'earlier 41/'43/'47 editions, as the '69 editors removed Tuscany from the album.  ;-) 

Tuscany 1851-52 Scott 6 4  Crazie green 
Out of the Blue
Crazie expensive.



  1. Ahhh - Tuscany. You have some nice items in your collection. I have a love/hate relationship with Italian States stamps - While I really love their designs and the incredible history behind them, I hate that there are so many forgeries out there. Not sure how I would feel for a real expert to examine my states stamps. Makes me "crazie" thinking about it.


  2. I wonder what the editors of Big Blue were thinking of when they put this item in? It would be interesting to know the catalogue value of Tuscany Scott 1 in the 1930s.

    But that's nothing compared with the most expensive item I know of in my Minkus Supreme Global, which I've updated to the early 1960s. The additional pages for China PRC --issued after Nixon's visit to China--include the 1962 Mei Lan-fang Souvenir Sheet, currently retailing for over $20000. That's a page that will remain forever unfilled....

  3. Thanks James for reminding us how really crazy expensive the PRC 1960s stamp are!

    I don't have a catalogue from the 1930s, but my Scott 1947 has the 1q black @ $20 (1853-grayish paper) and $30 (1852). At an inflation rate of 10.3, the stamp would be in today's dollars $206-$309. Not pocket change, but clearly the Tuscany stamps have outpaced inflation.

  4. This edition of your blog motivated me to look more closely at my 1851(?) 1 Quattrini black "Lion of Tuscany" to determine whether or not to send it to an expert. I don’t like to send a stamp off if the prevailing evidence suggests that it’s inauthentic. Mine does not appear to have the required water mark, and does not have elaborate stippling on the lion’s back, and does not have the lion’s toes drawn as in the best examples. There are too many differences to attribute them to plate variation, I think. So, for now, my “fake?” will remain as an unexpertized space filler among, no doubt, many other Italian States fakes. I found the discussion on http://www.stampboards.com/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=37394 very helpful in coming to my decision. -- Bud

  5. Hi Bud

    Good discussion on stampboards, with an illustration of a (probable) genuine 1 Quattrini black. Thanks for the link.

    I agree without a watermark, and the lack of stippling, the chances of a genuine become smaller.