Rare Stamps: 1849 Bavaria, 1 Kreuzer Tete-Beche Pair

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1849 Bavaria, 1 Kreuzer Tete-Beche Pair
1849 Bavaria, 1 Kreuzer Tete-Beche Pair

Printed in 1849, the 1 Kreuzer Black issue was one of the 1st stamps issued in the German State of Bavaria. Initially printed in panes of 45 stamps, the tete-beche varieties were created when a few cliches were mistakenly inserted into the printing plate upside-down. It is unknown how many of the stamps were printed in with the inverted plates, but only three tete-beches are known to exist today.

Each of the three tete-beche pairs have a different position and no tete-beche varieties are found in any of the complete panes still in existence. A block of twelve stamps featuring a tete-beche variety was originally found in the Ferrari collection. In 1923, at a Paris auction, the block was sold to New York native Alfred F. Lichtenstein, a rarities collector referred to by many as “the philatelist’s philatelist.”

After his death, his daughter, Louise Boyd Dale, inherited the error block where it was kept by the Anne Boyd Lichtenstein Foundation until 1990. The 1849 Bavaria 1 Kreuzer tete-beche pair has a value in today’s market of US$150,000.

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