Classic British Stamps - the 1910 Tyrian Plum

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25 February 2013
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imports_CCGB_tyrianplum2dstampsold_46347.jpg Tyrian Plum 2d stamp sold by Warwick & Warwick in October 2012
Planned to be issued in 1910, the Tyrian Plum 2d stamp was withdrawn due to the death of King Edward VII in May of that year, and while millions of copies were promptly destroyed, some examples survive to this day. ...

The 1910 Tyrian Plum is one of Britain's rarest stamps, with just one known used example - now owned by the Queen - and a handful of mint copies.

Planned to be issued in 1910, the stamp was withdrawn due to the death of King Edward VII in May of that year, but not before printing firm De La Rue had produced an estimated 24 million copies.

The stamps were promptly destroyed but, as is often the case with philatelic rarities, a few examples survived.

Tyrian Plum
Year: 1910
Issue date: not issued
Known examples: 12
Value: an example sold for
£102,000 in 2011

One of the surviving examples was posted to the then Prince of Wales and received by him on 6 May 1910, the very day Edward VII passed away and he became King George V.

'One doesn't imagine the postman would have come up to Marlborough House to complain and ask for postage due,' Michael Sefi, the Keeper of the Royal Philatelic Collection told Stamp & Coin Mart. 'A dealer may well have put the stamp on the cover and sent it.' Other philatelists believe the stamp collector King sent it to himself.

A complete imperforate registration sheet of 240 Tyrian Plum 2d stamps is held in the British Postal Museum & Archive.