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Rare NZ stamp sells for $13,000

Published: 7:01PM Thursday June 09, 2011 Source: ONE News

An extremely rare New Zealand stamp has gone under the hammer, selling for 6500 pounds (NZ$13,000) at a London auction.

The 1857 one shilling stamp was on a scruffy little envelope sent from a farm in Otago to Edinburgh in Scotland.

What heightens the stamps collectability is the resourceful actions of the Otago postmaster 150 years ago, who cut the stamp in half.

David Parsons from Spink Auctioneers explains the "bisect cover".

"It's a stamp or cover that bears a stamp that has been cut in half vertically."

At the time this letter was posted, stamps were only sold in one or two penny denominations while postage to the UK cost sixpence - half a shilling.

"So the postmaster at Otago took it upon himself to decide to cut one shilling stamps in half to pay the correct postage," said Parsons.

The stamp is one of the first shilling stamps ever printed in NZ and because of the postmaster's ingenuity there are just 25 in the world.

The letter which it is attached to was sent from East Waitahuna Station in Otago, addressed to a William Campbell in Scotland. Aside from his signature the writer's identity is a mystery.

The stamp sold in auction for just below its estimated value to the one and only bidder - a collector in Asia.