Rare stamp breaks New Zealand record at auction

The threepenny HMS Vanguard stamp from 1949, which set a new world record of $67,850 at auction in Otaki last weekend.
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The threepenny HMS Vanguard stamp from 1949, which set a new world record of $67,850 at auction in Otaki last weekend.

A Kapiti Coast stamp dealer has set a new world record for a rare New Zealand stamp sold at auction, more than doubling the previous record set in 2009.

Mowbray Collectables in Otaki, north of Wellington, sold a New Zealand threepenny HMS Vanguard stamp for $67,850 at its stamp auction last week. The stamp is believed to be one of only seven in existence.

The sale easily outstripped the previous world record for that stamp of $31,050, also set by Mowbrays.

John Mowbray, pictured in a file photo with a copy of New Zealand's first stamp and most valuable coin.
CHRIS SKELTON/ FAIRFAX NZ

John Mowbray, pictured in a file photo with a copy of New Zealand's first stamp and most valuable coin.

Mowbray Collectables owner and auctioneer John Mowbray said the stamp was highly sought-after by international collectors. 

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"We had a significant number of people chasing it, from all over the world.

"There were a lot of bidders on the phone, hundreds by email, and the room was full with about 60 people.

"When we got to $50,000, we still had four bidders, so it was very exciting."

The rare stamp was to have been part of a set printed for the 1949 royal tour of New Zealand and Australia by George VI and the royal family.

The tour had to be cancelled because of the king's poor health, and all the stamps were ordered to be destroyed. However, during the destruction process, a few stamps were rescued from the furnace.

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Mowbray has been auctioning stamps and coins for almost 45 years, and said it was the most successful auction in terms of one-off stamps.

"We are hoping there will be another HMS Vanguard up for auction in October.

"It shows the interest in philately is still strong for good-quality rare stamps."

 - Stuff

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