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When considering buying EFO's, it's sometimes frustrating to look at catalogs and sales flyers that picture them in black and white.The full impact of these colorful rarities is something that absolutely must be seen in living colorwith images of the material that are crystal clear. Only then can one appreciate the nuances of each of these unusual pieces.
For the Jack Nalbandian client, the marvel of the Internet has solved this problem once and for all. We have produced a website store that's not only open 24 hours a day, but offers the visitor the opportunity to see, up close, enlarged "high-resolution" color photographs of a growing array of EFO's from our vast stock. And while online, the customer can purchase his choice of material from our many different price lists.
But There's Much More...
A key element of the Nalbandian Internet presence is the storehouse of resources and helpful information available to the collector who visits our site. John Hotchner, the nation's leading expert on EFO's, has a special section on the siteand one can also find an essential ERRORS INFORMATION SECTION and other free information. Our site is truly the EFO collector's "Home on the Internet".
Now his authoritative writings on the subject appear on our Internet website and here in the pages of our newsletter. We've had a long relationship with John over the years and are quite honored to be able to make his work available to you.
We expect to run new additions to John Hotchner's outstanding material here on our site about every four to six weeks. Be sure to check our site often to read these new installments.
In addition, we also salute John Hotchner's wonderful contributions to organized philately and his service as the president of the American Philatelic Society. John will depart that office in August 1999. He has served with distinction!
|Philately's Greatest Error
Should anyone ever ask you if errors arent the most enchanting pastime in philately, heres the stamp to tell them about!And like many famous errors, it is a stamp with quite a story. It all begins in 1885 with a young stamp collector who made an interesting discovery.
The stamp is called the "3 skilling-banco error of color" which is cancelled "Nya Kopparberget 13 July 18(57)". It was first issued by Sweden in 1857 and, because of a horrible mistake on the part of the stamps printer, a handful of the 3-skilling-banco issue were printed in yellow instead of the normal green ink. At the time of the stamps release, this fact was not known by anyoneand was certainly complete overlooked by both the printer and Swedish postal officials.
But then, in 1886, young stamp collector Georg Wilhelm Backman was rummaging through some old envelopes in his grandmothers attic and found one particular cover (envelope) bearing a seemingly common stamp, but in a color he had never seen before: yellow instead of green. The next year, when offering some of his stamps for sale, Backman sold the error to Stockholm stamp dealer Heinrich Lichtenstein for 7 kronor...or about the equivalent of 50 U.S. cents at the time.
Thereafter, the stamp went into several different collections of philatelist who, in essence, recognized that the stamp was rare. But HOW rare was not a subject of discussion in the worldwide hobby until the error was sold by German stamp dealer Sigmund Friedl in 1894 to the most famous collector of the period: Count Philipp la Renotiere von Ferrary. The price Ferrary paid to add it to his collection (at the time the largest worldwide collection of stamps known to exist) was just 4,000 gulden...then the equivalent of about $3,000.
There the Swedish "error of color" remained until 1922. All during this nearly 30-year period, Ferrary and other serious philatelists understood that the stamp was quite rare, perhaps even Swedens rarest stamp of all. But in the worldwide scheme of philately, its importance was still yet to be realized. After all, supposedly other stamps (like the famous British Guiana 1856 Penny Magenta, touted even today as the worlds rarest stamp) were even rarer and more important.
By 1922, Ferrary had fallen on hard times and his collection was confiscated by the Germany government and ordered to be sold so as to pay some of the countrys reparations (war debts) from World War I. In a world-famous auction held in that year, the Swedish Baron Eric Leijonhufyud purchased the stamp for 35,250 French francs...or about $5,000.
Four years later, in 1926, Claes A. Tamm, a renowned collector who was devoted to assembling a totally complete collection of Sweden, convinced the Baron to sell it to him for 1,500 British pounds...or about $10,000. The acquisition made his collection complete. Two years later (obviously bored by the fact that he had no new worlds to conquer), the Baron sold the stamp to a Swedish collector by the name of Dr. Ramberg for 2,000 pounds ($15,000.
In 1937, the stamp changed hands again and the fame of the error really began to blossom. It was sold by the London auction firm of H.R. Harmer to King Carol II of Rumania for 5,000 poundsor better than $30,000. It changed hands one more time by mid-century (1950) when it was privately sold to Rene Berlingen of Germany for an unknown figure.
And there the Swedish "3-skilling-banco error of color" remained until 1984 when it went on the block at the David Feldman auction house in Zurich, Switzerland. By that time, the worlds serious specialists were quite aware that, the British Guiana Penny Magenta notwithstanding, the Swedish error was perhaps the most valuable stamp in the world. The stamp, sold to an elderly collector of Scandinavia, realized 977,500 Swiss Francs...or over $500,000. This was the highest price in the world ever paid for a single stamp.
In 1990, it again was sold by Feldman. And again, the stamp set a world record exceeding well over $1 million!
Finally, the stamp was to set one more world recordand cause such a stir that the news of its sale was to be broadcast on television newcasts worldwide. On November 8, 1996, shortly before it was shown to the public at the New York Collectors Clubs Anphilex stamp show at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, it was again sold at a Feldman auction for 2,500,000 Swiss francs...or nearly $1.5 million.
Philatelic dreams are made of such stories. The Swedish error is, of course, only one of many great raritiesand certainly one of the two most famous. The other, British Guianas Penny Magenta, may not be the worlds rarest stamp anymore. Feldman may have helped to discover another example of this renowned stamp. If it turns out to be the real thing and there are actually TWO copies of the British Guiana, then the Swedish error will own, outright, the fully-blossomed title of "World Rarest Stamp."