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Blue Mauritius - The Hunt for the World's Most Valuable Stamps

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Blue Mauritius - The Hunt for the World's Most Valuable Stamps

Blue Mauritius by Helen Morgan

© Helen Morgan

The Bottom Line

An excellent examination of the history of the Blue Mauritius. Author Helen Morgan guides the reader from the creation and first usage of the stamps through a century and a half of buying, selling and discovery. We meet a variety of collectors with a variety of motivations for buying one of the rarest stamps in the world. The book is both rich in detail and a fascinating narrative. A recommended read for anyone interested in stamps or the phenomenon of collecting.

Pros

  • Accessible to philatelists and non-philatelists alike

Cons

  • Prices not converted in modern currency

Description

  • A look at one of the most famous and rarest stamp issues in the world.
  • Describes not just the history of the stamps, but how they became a cultural phenomenon.
  • A history of the earliest years of stamp collecting.

Guide Review - Blue Mauritius - The Hunt for the World's Most Valuable Stamps

In any list of the world's rarest and most valuable stamps the Post Office Mauritius will be near the top, with the last sale of two being for $4 million dollars. These stamps were some of the first stamps of the Empire not actually made in Britain. They were a 1 pence red and orange issue, as well as a 2 pence blue issue. Both depicted Queen Victoria in a manner similar to other stamps such as the Penny Black.

The key to their uniqueness and rarity is the fact that the initial printings had the word "Post Office" on one side, following printings would all say "Post Paid". The reason for the differences in wording is the subject of some debate, but what is agreed on is that it made the first stamps rarities. It is the history of the 23 known copies of these rarities that Helen Morgan chronicles.

She starts by examining the people and processes that led to their creation and initial use. Interestingly enough it took almost two decades before they became well known to the philatelic world. But as Morgan makes clear, once discovered they have remained in the philatelic eye ever since. The Post Office issues were some of the first "superstar" stamps that everyone hunted for and wanted. The constantly increasing prices astounded a public still dubious of the collecting of little pieces of paper.

The collectors and scholars of the Blue Mauritius are shown to be an eclectic group, with different backgrounds and personalities, including a Rothschild and Britain's King George VI. Morgan also shows how the stamps transcended philately becoming a subject of crime and action fiction.

In addition to the rich narrative, Morgan offers detailed chronologies of each of the known stamps as well as a detailed bibliography and discussion of her sources. This a wonderful book for learning more about a famous stamp issue and how it got that way.

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