Stamp Stories from around the world

Hello all you stamp friends out there. I this blog I will bring you all the exiting stamp stories from around the world. Today I will tell you the exciting story of the  “Tre skilling Yellow” from Sweden, one of the most rare and expensive stamps of the world. In 2010 the “Tre skilling Yellow” was sold for  2.3 million $. My name is Vagn Juhl-Larsen. I am from Denmark and have been a stamp collector for more than 50 years.

First a little bit of pre-history:

Sweden is located in Scandinavien and its nabours are Norway. Denmark and Finland.

Fig. 1. Map of Scandinavia.

Sweden issued their first stamps on 1. July 1855 showing the coat of arms of the country. The denominations of the stamps were 3, 4, 8 and 24 skilling


Fig. 2. The first five stamps from Sweden.

As you can see, the 3 skilling banco was green, but in 1885 a yellow or orange copy was found.

Fig. 3: The regular tre skilling and the unique  “Tre skilling yellow”

No other copies have been found since. So the “Treskilling Yellow” is probably unique.

Now to the question: How did the “Treskilling Yellow” come into excistence?

There are three theories to explain the color-difference:

The first theory states, that the printing color used for the 8 skilling banco stamp was used to print a sheet of the 3 skilling banco.

The second theory states, that the stamp is a forgery.

The third theory states, that a single 3 skilling banco by mistake was printed in an 8 skilling banco sheet of 100 stamps.

If this first theory should be the explanation, then 100 yellow stamps should have been printed, and 99 of these lost, and that is nor likely to have happened.

The forgery theory was put forward in the 1970´s by The Swedish Postal Museum. But after examinations by two different commissions, it was agreed, that the “Tre skilling Yellow” was genuine. And that is still the opinion of today.

So today the third theory is believed to be the most plausible, because only one stamp has been found. By mistake a stereotype of the 3 skilling stamp was put into the printing plate of the 8 skilling stamp.

And now to the story of how the “Treskilling Yellow” was found

The stamp was discovered in 1885 by a 14 year old scoolboy, Georg Wilhelm Backman, who lived from 1871 to 1947.

4) Georg Wilhelm Backman (1871-1947).

He found it on one of his grandmothers old letters. Together with other stamps, he sold it a year later for 7 kronor to the Stockholm stamp dealer Heinrich Lichtenstein. Seven kroner, that would be aroung 50 dollars today, was quite a large sum of money at that time for a young boy.

At the end I will tell you what happened to the Treskilling yellow after1885

As you can see, the “Tre skilling Yellow” have had no less than 14 owners from 1885 until today. The price of the famous stamp have risen from just 7 swedish kroner in 1886 to 2,3 million dollars over the over the last 137 years.

The three most famous owners of the “Threeskilling Yellow” are:

  1. Philippe Ferrary who bought the stamp in 1894. He was a very well-known millionaire and stamp collector.

5) Philippe Ferrart (1850-1917).

  1. King Carol 2. of Rumania who bought the “Threeskilling Yellow” in 1937.

Fig. 6. King Carol 2. of Rumania (1893-1953).

  1. And last but not least Gustav Archibald Siegwart Douglas. He bought the stamp in 2013 and is the current owner. He is a very well-known Swedish politician.


Fig. 7. Gustav Archibald Siegwart Douglas (1938-).

The end

That was all for this week, but don’t forget to join us for next weeks story. Here we present the exciting story of the British Guiana one cent magenta from 1856. This stamp is by far the most expensive stamp ever sold. On June 17th 2014 it was sold by Sotherbys for the record price of no less than 9.480.000 $.

Fig. 8. British Guiana one cent magenta from 1856.

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