The Penny Red stamp dutifully served the Victorian public for almost 40 years. But only a few knowledgeable collectors are aware of the full significance of the plate numbers from this classic British stamp.
Hidden within the borders of the stamp is the plate number and each number refers back to the original metal plate from which the stamp was printed. And as each plate printed different quantities of Penny Reds, so the plate number is the secret key to the stamp's rarity and true value.
An example recently sold for £495,000
For example, of the 152 plates used between 1864 and 1879, number 77 printed only a very few sheets with only a handful of stamps still surviving today. The rarity of examples with this plate number means that used stamps featuring plate 77 was recently sold to a British collector at an astonishing £495,000.
You can spot the plate numbers on the Penny Red by looking between the interleaving lines of the borders. The number appears twice on both left and right hand sides.
The stories behind the plates
Not all of the plates were used. Some were not up to scratch and were rejected on the grounds of quality so no stamps were ever printed bearing these plate numbers. These include plates 69 and 70, the first two plate numbers that were never used during early trials of the stamp.
Numbers 75, 126, and 128 were also never used on the grounds of quality. Number 77, the rarest, was also rejected but a very small number of stamps from the trials were inadvertently issued and used instead of being destroyed. This great rarity has sent their value soaring. The rest of the plates were used until they began to wear out and then were simply replaced with a new plate number.
A collection of virtually all the Penny Red Plates
Recently, we have acquired a limited number of sets of 1864-1879 Penny Reds - with one stamp from virtually every plate ever used. This is probably the most comprehensive collection of Penny Reds ever offered. The only plate numbers not represented are plate 225 and plate 77. In total 150 different stamps are included.
Only 20 collections currently available
If you would like to be among the lucky collectors to own the comprehensive 150 stamp Penny Red Plate Collection, then don't delay!
Presented in a Luxury Display Album with a Certificate of Authenticity, you can now be one of the lucky collectors who actually own an almost complete set of The Penny Red Stamp issue.
(+ £7.99 p&p)
Limited to 3 item(s) per household
- Free Luxury Presentation Album
- 150 plates in total
(+ £7.99 p&p)