The postage stamp is said to be one of the most sought-after items in the world of philately.
During the first printing of the four annas stamp in the survey office in Calcutta in 1854, the Queen’s head was accidentally printed upside down on the stamp.
The mistake went unnoticed and dozens of the stamps were sold in India, which was the jewel in the crown of the British Empire at the time.
Only about 20 or 30 of the stamps remain in existence today.
It was in the collection of renowned US philatelist Robert Cunliffe for many years before being sold by another private collector.
David Parsons, a stamp specialist at Spink’s, the auctioneer’s, said: “This is an incredibly rare stamp. There was an accident during the printing process which meant the Queen’s head was upside down.Collectors of stamps love inverted stamps because they are so startling.”
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