Treskilling Yellow

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The first stamp produced by Sweden in 1855 was normally printed in a blue-green color; however this rare stamp was mistakenly printed in a yellow orange shade. The normal three skilling stamp printed in Sweden is colored green while the eight skilling stamp was printed in yellow. However, due to an unknown error (but most likely the three skilling plate was accidently replaced by an eight skilling one), the three skilling stamp was printed in yellow, creating the Treskilling Yellow Stamp. The number of stamps printed in the wrong color is unknown.

In 1886 A 14-year-old school boy named Georg Wilhelm Baeckman discovered the stamp among his grandmother’s possessions and sold it to a dealer for the then-lofty price of 7 kronor. The stamp traded hands several times over the next decade, fetching ever higher prices and inspiring collectors to search for more Treskilling Yellows. But no other was ever found.

In 1926 Claes A. Tamm bought it for £1,500 (GBP) in order to complete his collection of Sweden. In 1937, King Carol II of Romania purchased it from London auction house H. R. Harmer for £5,000, and in 1950 it went to Rene Berlingen for an unknown sum.

In the 1970s, the Swedish Postal Museum caused controversy by declaring the stamp to be a forgery, but after examination by two different commissions, it was agreed that it was a genuine error.

In 1990s the stamp price crossed $1 million for the first time and was setting new records every time it changed hands. The last sale was in 1996 when it sold for 2,875,000 Swiss Francs ($2.6 million US) to collectors who remain anonymous.

To this date, this is the only copy known in existence.

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