The Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum announced the results of an auction held Saturday, Feb. 12, to sell a portion of the museum’s deaccessioned surplus revenue stamps. The auction yielded more than $3.3 million, exceeding the museum’s pre-sale estimate of $1.9 million. Approximately 35,000 copies of the most valuable revenue stamp varieties from the museum’s collection were sold at the auction, which attracted interest well beyond the philatelic community.
“We are very pleased with the enormous success of this sale,” said National Postal Museum Director Allen Kane. “The strong showing for the auction confirms the museum’s decision to make the stamps available through a public sale. Instead of being kept in storage for another 50 years, these stamps are now in the hands of collectors, where they belong.”
The National Postal Museum eventually will release an estimated total of 7.4 million revenue stamps. Approximately six million of these stamps are in mint condition; another 1.4 million stamps will be released in a marked format to clearly distinguish them from the unmarked copies that were sold at auction. The marked stamps primarily consist of high value varieties, which, if sold in large quantities unmarked, would almost certainly flood the market and devalue the stamps.
Proceeds from sales of the deaccessioned revenue stamps have been earmarked for the benefit of the Postal Museum’s national philatelic collection.
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