A rare letter which circulated Shetland in the 1840s has been recognised as possibly the rarest private item of Scottish postal history.
Estimators from the Scotia Philately organisation, which deals with specialist stamps and has done so for many years, believe the letter to be worth in the region of £85,000 – due to its unusual use of half of a 2D stamp.
The letter, which is addressed to Annsbrae from West Sandwick, is dated March 28 1842 and the use of the severed stamp resulted in only the 1D rate being paid.
Research has suggested that the use of the halved 2D stamp was due to the Shetland Islands running out of 1D stamps, as only one sheet had been sent from Aberdeen at the time, with all being used up prior to the date of the letter being posted.
Scotia Philately has hailed the find as representing when “half is more”.
A spokesman said: “We are selling this outstanding cover for £85,000. If the stamp had not been bisected, the letter would have been worth £2,500.
“The other half of this same stamp is known on a cover paying the same rate on March 27 1842, with both covers most interestingly coming from one collection – a quite remarkable story of survival, perhaps their unusual nature may have been appreciated by the addressee and saved accordingly.”
Experts Colin Harding and Robert Hepworth are currently touring Scotland on their 75th valuation trip, with various roadshows taking place around the Highlands and Islands between September 29 and October 4.