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Auction PR Publicity Announcements News and Information

The Islander Collection of South American Stamps for Siegel New York Auction

New York – The world’s most valuable private collection of South American postage stamps, assembled over four decades by a retired college professor who now lives on an island, will be offered in a public auction in New York City and online on June 5 and 6, 2008. One 1840’s item from Brazil is expected to sell for more than $1 million.

“The collection contains more than 300 rare stamps and is conservatively estimated at $5 million. These include the rarest and most outstanding classic stamps of the 1840’s and 1850’s from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Peru,” said Scott R. Trepel, President of Robert A. Siegel Auction Galleries, Inc. of New York City (, the firm conducting the sale.

“These historic stamps have been publicly displayed at international exhibitions over the decades, and the rarest item in the collection was prominently featured in a 1954 Life magazine article, ‘World’s Rarest Stamps.’ But this is the first time all of them have been gathered in one collection at one time.”

Highlights of the auction include:

• Argentina (State of Buenos Aires): The only surviving example of the 1859 one-peso “tête-bêche,” which is French for head-to-foot, and the term collectors use to describe a pair of stamps that are printed upside down to each other. It has a pre-sale estimate of $400,000 to $500,000.

• Brazil: Examples of rare stamps from 1843 that are nicknamed “Bull’s Eyes” because the stamp’s denomination is printed in large bold numbers in the center of a bull’s eye-appearing oval. The collection contains the most famous and valuable item in Brazilian philately, the “Pack Strip,” named after a previous owner. The strip has two 30-reis and one 60-reis stamps joined together. (See accompanying illustration above.) It’s estimated to sell for $1 million to $1.5 million.

• Chile: An envelope with a unique block of 14 lithographed 5-centavo stamps of 1854. Valued today at $400,000 to $500,000, the cover was found in a flea market more than 60 years ago, and this is the first time it’s ever been offered in a public auction.

• Colombia: A letter with a 5-centavo and a10-centavo stamp dated September 1, 1859, the first day these very first stamps of Colombia were issued. It is the only “first day cover” known of any first-ever stamps issued in South America, Canada or the United States. The pre-sale estimate is $200,000 to $300,000.

• Peru: A postally canceled block of 21 one-dinero denomination stamps of 1858, the largest known remaining block of the first stamps issued by Peru. The pre-sale estimate is $75,000 to $100,000.

“The sale is named ‘The Islander Collection’ because the anonymous collector lives on an island outside the United States. He’s a retired professor of economics who has lived on three islands, and whose love of stamp collecting started when he was child,” said Trepel.

“There’s never been a more valuable collection of South American stamps offered in a public auction.”

For additional information about The Islander Collection, contact Robert A. Siegel Auction Galleries, 60 East 56th Street, 4th Floor, New York, NY 10022. Phone: (212) 753-6421. Online: E-mail: [email protected].