1882 £5 Orange in stamp auction

A RARE stamp worth thousands was recently unearthed in Lichfield – and the city’s auctioneers say now’s the time for other collectors to have their postal treasures valued.

The iconic 1882 £5 Orange has been described as potentially the “culmination of a collecting career” and is regarded by many philatelists as the holy grail of British stamps.

It is also the highest value pre-decimal stamp ever to be issued. In the 1880s, £5 represented approximately one month’s average salary – £2,000 in today’s money.

Richard Winterton Auctioneers at The Lichfield Auction Centre, Wood End Lane, Fradley Park, will market the stamp on behalf of a Lichfield client as part of a very good Great Britain collection, offered intact in the Fine Arts & Specialist Sale on March 24-25.

“Isn’t it crazy to think that this little bit of paper could be worth so much? It goes to show that you never know what might be out there,” said Mr Winterton, pictured above with the album containing the £5 Orange.

“Curiously enough, it is most unlikely that these large stamps were ever used for postage in the regular sense.

“The Inland Revenue act of 1881 cleaned up the system used for collecting duties and introduced new duties.

“Part of the act made the use of postage stamps a method of paying duties – thus a new high value stamp was required at fairly short notice.

“It was decided to modify the very similar £5 Telegraph stamp, by replacing the word ‘telegraph’ with ‘postage’, and the £5 Orange was first issued in March 1882.

“So the main use of these stamps was to show that duty had been paid, for internal accounting purposes or event for payment of bulk mail – oh yes, junk mail was a thing even in the 1880s!”

Mr Winterton added: “It is a very large, attractive stamp and highly desirable to collectors, especially those who specialise in Great Britain stamps.

“It is in a beautifully compiled album which also features an 1840 Penny Black and Two Penny Blue, a Two Shilling Brown and an 1867 Five Shillings.

“The album as a whole is guided at £4,500 but could fetch far more, especially considering that the £5 Orange alone is worth thousands of pounds.”

Consignments of other stamp collections are now being invited for appraisal by specialist Stuart Billington from February 3. Please call 01543 251081 or email office@richardwinterton.co.uk as soon as possible, with items deposited no later than 4pm on Friday, January 31.

Viewing ahead of the March Fine Arts & Specialist Sale takes place on Saturday, March 21 from 9.30am until 12 noon; Monday, March 23 from 10am-4pm and on day of sale from 8.30am.

Our latest on Facebook

Newsletter Sign Up

Keep up to date by signing up to recieve our emails.

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

By signing up I agree to the privacy policy and I understand that I can unsubscribe any time.