Ultra-Rare 1-Cent Postage Stamp From 1868 is Expected to Sell for $5 Million at Auction

An ultra-rare 1-cent postage stamp from 1868 featuring Benjamin Franklin will be offered at an auction organized by Robert A. Siegel Auction Galleries on June 14. It is estimated that the stamp could end up selling for $5 million.

The stamp’s rarity comes from its “Z grill” pattern. This pattern, developed to discourage the re-use of the stamps, was only in use for several years in the late 1860s.

There are only two known Benjamin Franklin 1-cent postage stamps with “Z grill”. One is being held in The New York Public Library and the other one was owned by American investor and renowned philatelist William H. Gross, who decided to put it on sale through Robert A. Siegel Auction Galleries.

The stamp was last featured at an auction in 1998 when it was acquired by Donald Sundman, President of the Mystic Stamp Company, for $935,000. In 2005, Sundman swapped the stamp with Gross for a 24¢ Inverted Jenny Plate Block, which was priced at $2.97 million at the time. This allowed Gross to become the second person ever to have the “complete” U.S. stamp collection.

Since 2007, Gross has been selling off his collection, with the proceedings of the sales going to charity.

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