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Sunday, February 1, 2015

Japan's Most Valuable Stamp

What is Japan's most valuable stamp?

No! Not a hanko, but a real paper stamp—though admittedly it was NOT issued by the Japan Government, but rather it was privately-issued.I should state, however, that some stamps looked like paperbook marks and had a hanko stamp on them as the form. 

Thee most valuable Japanese stamp is known as the China Japan Gold Traders stamp, it was issued in 1847, and like the name suggests, it was a stamp used ONLY by gold traders of Japan and China.

It is also, the world's first private stamp. Japan itself did not issue a postage stamp as a nation until 1871.

The stamp was purchased for a whopping $10 dollars, though admittedly, I am unsure in what denomination.

Back in 1847, gold traders for the two countries printed a grand total of 15 stamps for gold postage to and from China and Japan.

A total of five of these stamps were used by the gold traders.

Ten of them were NEVER used. 

These stamps were only 'rediscovered' in January of 2010 via the Dr Philip Presley collection in London and are considered as world’s most valuable and rare stamps.

For reference, the United States issued its first ever postage stamps on July 1, 1847.

The first ever postage tamp is the iconic Penny Black issued on May 1, 1840.

How much is the 1847 China Japan Gold Traders stamp worth? I saw it being offered for sale for $300,000 a few years ago (I don't know if it sold) , but know that two unused stamps sold in 2010 for US$550,000 (in London, UK) - EACH. I believe another one was sold to a Japanese buyer for US$900,000.

As you can see, there is a wide range of prices being tossed around - or at least they were as of 2010.

The 1847 China Japan Gold Traders stamp is obviously a stamp, but since it was issued by a trade organization rather than a nation, I am unsure if it bears the same thrill of the chase.

It's like the fact that someone once printed 10 books of my collected short stories. Let's suppose I become more famous than god, like J.K. Rowling, does that really constitute a first printing and would it really be worth more than one professionally published?

It depends on what people want to pay for it.

Prior to publishing a comic book, back in the 1930s, publishers would, in order to copyright a preferred TITLE, would mock up comic books and have the title patented.

They might have had to create two or three of each to achieve a copyright, but despite the name on the mock-up, the rest of it might not have anything to do with the character? Is it valuable? Is it a real comic book?

It is NOT a real comic book, but it does hold value from a purely historical standpoint.

The same for the China Japan Gold Traders stamp of 1847.

Now… here's the thing… who the fugue actually printed the stamp? Gold Traders in China or in Japan?!

Considering that Japan was pretty shut off with its whole closed door policy for a 250 years, wouldn't one expect the stamp to therefore have been created in China?

In fact… wasn't Great Britain monkeying around in China and its politics back in the middle part of the 1800s? Oh yes!

But what is up with that whole $10 thing? Dollars?

While in the Shakespeare play Macbeth, there is mention of "ten thousand dollars", but Shakespeare would have used slang where appropriate, as some Scottish coins from the 16-17th centuries were referred to as 'thistle dollars'

The Gold Standard (created by the U.S.) did not actually come about until 1873…

Hong Kong, now Chinese, but ounce belonging to Great Britain… it has used 'dollars' since 1863.

I have no idea why the China Japan Gold Traders stamp of 1847 denotes dollars as a currency unit?Why is it in English?

Anyone have any theories, or better yet - facts?

Andrew Joseph

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