28 August 2023
In his latest ‘Market Watch’ guide, Michael Burzan details one of the most expensive independence stamp issues and the prices stamp collectors can expect to pay.
Now that the era of Queen Elizabeth II as head of the Commonwealth has come to an end, there is an opportunity to look back. One issue from her long reign has become particularly rare and valuable.
Anguilla, a group of islands in the Lesser Antilles in the Caribbean, had been part of the British colonial empire since the 17th century. In 1967, protests by the population erupted in the ‘Anguillan Revolution’.
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This was commemorated by a set of stamps that became the first issue of the independent issuing country Anguilla. The overprint series No. 1-16 is based on the postage stamps of St. Kitts, Nevis and Anguilla. On the minimal remaining stocks, the old country designation was replaced by an overprint ‘Independent / Anguilla’ in letterpress.
Because of the low stocks, the Anguilla postmaster closely supervised the sale of this issue. Orders from the trade or overseas for unused stamps were not accepted. Very few complete mint sets were sold.
For the smaller denominations from 1/2 to 25 cents, the registered numbers of overprinted stamps range from 2,475 at 5c to 4,250 at 2c.
Only 100 complete
Among the great rarities are the higher overprint values from 50c to $5. Number 12 was only issued in 175 copies, as was the $1 No 14. There were 225 copies each of number 15 at $2.50 and the maximum $5. However, the number of complete sets is determined by the 60c number 13, of which only 100 copies were produced with the independence overprint.
The set price of 1-16 according to the Michel catalogue adds up to mint unhinged €15,000; Scott $25,880; SG £28,000. The catalogue numbers according to Michel, Stanley Gibbons and Scott are the same.
In early December 2021, a complete set reached US$17,000, the 50c with off-set on the gum, the 60c tiny gum bend. In September 2022, a complete series mint closed at Daniel F Kelleher auction house at $10,000.
The cancelled series reported a result of $3,500 in 2017. A recent exceptional used offered at Mark Brandon came at £3,400.