World's most expensive stamp 2010 - Most expensive stamp sold in Geneva.

A David Feldman employee shows what is believed to be the world's most expensive stamp, the Swedish "Treskilling Yellow - Error of Color", at David Feldman Philatelists auctioneers in Geneva, Switzerland, Thursday, May 20, 2010. Treskilling Yellow is estimated to be worth 1.5 - 2.0 million euro (US dlrs 1.85 - 2.45 million) .

It will be sold on May 22, 2010 in Geneva. The first stamp of Sweden issued in 1855 was printed in green, but 30 years later one example was found in yellow. The stamp was discovered by a Swedish schoolboy on a letter of his grandmother in 1885 and sold to a stamps dealer for 7 crowns.

GENEVA — The Swedish "Treskilling Yellow" retained its title as the world's most expensive stamp when it changed hands at a private sale shrouded in secrecy, the auctioneer claimed Saturday.

The one-of-a-kind 1855 misprint was sold to a group of buyers who asked that their identities and the winning bid be kept confidential, said auctioneer David Feldman.

He declined to reveal whether the sale matched the 2.875 million Swiss francs (then about $2.3 million) price it set a record for in 1996.

"It is still worth more than any other single stamp" including the even older "2 Penny Post Office Mauritius Blue" that sold for 1.5 million francs (then $1.4 million) in 1993, said Feldman.

He added that both the price and identity of the buyers, who took part in the telephone auction against a single rival bidder, would likely become public knowledge eventually.

Noted U.S. stamp expert Robert Odenweller said it wasn't unusual for buyers of such valuable items to keep details of the sale secret at first, only to release information bit by bit later.

"The people who run around with that kind of change in their pockets have their own ideas about publicity," Odenweller told The Associated Press.

For years the owner of another unique stamp, the 1856 "British Guiana 1 cent Magenta," remained a mystery until it transpired that it had been bought for nearly $1 million by chemicals fortune heir John du Pont in 1980, Odenweller said. That stamp is believed to lie in a bank vault while du Pont serves a 13- to 30-year sentence for third degree murder.

"It's fairly possible that if the British Guiana were ever put up for sale again it could blow everything out of the water," said Odenweller, a past president of the Collectors Club of New York.

The Treskilling Yellow is the only known misprint of an 1855 three shilling stamp that was supposed to be green. It has fabled status among collectors and is considered one of the world's most valuable objects for its size.

The auction house valued the stamp at euro1.5 million to euro2 million ($1.87 million to $2.5 million) before the sale, but actual sales prices can vary greatly depending on what the buyers feel such unique items are worth.

Feldman told the AP that Saturday's auction "happened very quickly because the buyers clearly knew how much they were prepared to pay."

The economic downturn has made people more careful about bidding for such pricey items, he said. At the same time, stamps are increasingly being seen as investment opportunities, he added. "People are looking for investments they can hold in their hands."

The Treskilling Yellow has changed hands at least once since 1996, but little is known about the last owner except that he or she had to sell the stamp because it had been put up as financial collateral.

The first collector to own the stamp is said to have been a Swedish schoolboy, who found it in 1885 among a pile of letters left by his grandparents. A similar tale is told about the 1 cent Magenta.

Feldman said the Treskilling Yellow was last displayed in public a week ago at the London 2010 Festival of Stamps.
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