An astounding, never hinged, mint example of the classic Canadian rarity, the 1851 12d. Black. This is unquestionably the finest mint example in existence. Featuring an incredible overall freshness and brilliance, with intensely rich colour and a sharp and detailed impression on pristine paper. With four exceptionally large and well balanced margins (it is likely that the margin at the bottom is a partial sheet margin) and absolutely immaculate full original gum.
The unique stamp is accompanied by a letter from the highly regarded Canadian auctioneer J.N. Sissions, dated August 10 1965. In the letter he describes the stamp as "…genuine and flawless, brilliant original gum, never hinged and immaculate in all respects. I believe it to be the finest existing copy." Photographic enlargements of the front and reverse of the stamp are also included.
Charles Shreve, President of Spink Shreves said of this example: "I've been in the business my whole life, four decades and I've never seen a stamp of that rarity or that age, a classic stamp, in that perfect a condition."
The last sale of an original gum, premium quality, mint example of the 12d. Black occurred in November 2009 during the auction of the William H. Gross Collection of Important Postage Stamps and Postal History of British North America. This example sold for $299,100. However, its margins are not nearly as large as those found on The Black Empress and, more importantly, the Gross example was hinged, as is every example in existence apart from The Black Empress.
This example of the 12d. Black is unquestionably the finest example in existence. It is extraordinary that The Black Empress has survived for nearly 160 years in such remarkable condition. The only unhinged example of this stamp in the world. This item is being sold in United States Dollars at $750,000. And now stamp is to be auctioned for £485,000.00.