The Blue Boy - one of the world's rarest stamps - expected to fetch $1 million at auction next month

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16 May 2019
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The famed Alexandria Blue Boy stamp will be the highlight of the Erivan collection of US postal history at HR Harmer, New York, on 22 June 2019.

The Blue Boy last appeared at public auction in 1967 and this time, bidding will start at $1,000,000 with industry experts agreeing the final price is likely to go much higher.

Issued in Alexandria, Virginia in the 1840s, before the United States federal government had even issued postage stamps, the Blue Boy has long been an icon of American philately. The envelope bearing the Blue Boy” which once contained a letter detailing a forbidden romance between young lovers of different religions, was supposed to have been burned upon opening. Fortunately for stamp collectors today the young lady disobeyed these orders, as today the Blue Boy is the only stamp of its kind in existence.

A rare stamp

The Blue Boy was featured in Life Magazine in 1954 as one of the 'world’s rarest stamps'. Although it has been exhibited publicly only twice in recent years it remains one of the most storied and iconic of all postage stamps—not just in America, but worldwide.

The Erivan collection

Assembled by German business magnate and philanthropist Erivan Haub over the course of decades, the Erivan Collection represents one of the most impressive collections of American envelopes ever compiled. From the introduction of the postage stamp in North America in the mid-1840s through the emergence of the United States as a world superpower at the turn of the 20th century, the Erivan Collection tells stories of romance and adventure, expansion and progress.

Included in the Erivan Collection are many of the most celebrated items in all American philately, including some which have not been on the auction block for decades.

Also, for sale in the first offering from the “ERIVAN” Collection will be one of two envelopes in existence carried by the first eastbound trip of the Pony Express. While the service only catered to the wealthiest of Americans when it was initiated in 1860, its status as an icon of American progress and resilience has grown exponentially over the years. According to Harmers, what few people realize is that only a few hundred letters sent via the Pony Express still exist today, and even the most 'common' are still highly prized by collectors.

Visit the Erivan Collection website for more information and background.

After this initial sale taking place on 22 June 2019, H.R. Harmer will proceed with nine additional sales of the Erivan Collection, to be held every spring and autumn through until 2023.

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Images courtesy of H.R.Harmer/Erivan Collection.