Inverted Swan Error Stamp

2019-07-05 Fri

The Inverted Swan is a 4-pence blue postage stamp issued in 1855 by Western Australia. It is one of the world's first invert errors.

Technically, it is the frame that is inverted, not the image of the swan, but it has become commonly known as the Inverted Swan. In 1854, Western Australia issued its first stamps, featuring the colony's symbol, the black swan.

In January 1855, additional 4d stamps were needed. When Alfred Hillman brought the printing stone out of storage, he found that two of the impressions had been damaged, so he had to redo them. One of the replaced frames was tilted; the other was accidentally redone upside-down.

The stone's block of 60 was transferred four times to make the printing stone, and 97 sheets were printed before Hillman discovered the mistake and corrected it, resulting in a total of 388 errors being printed. However, the errors went unrecognized and unreported for several years. Only 15 complete copies, plus a part of a stamp in a strip of three, have survived.

One example was discovered in Ireland in the 1860s, acquired by the Duke of Leinster, and bequeathed to Ireland in 1897. It is on display at a museum in Dublin. Other examples are in the Royal Collection, the Tapling Collection of the British Museum, and at museums in Sydney, and Perth, in addition to private collections.

Prices have been variable, with one copy realizing USD80,000 in a 1980 auction, and another going for USD37,500 in 1983.

Image Courtesy: https://corinphila.ch

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