A horde of rare triangular stamps which were among the first ever printed in South Africa are set to fetch tens of thousands of pounds at auction.
The stamps, made by London printers Perkins, Bacon & Co. in 1853, were produced in their unusual shape so illiterate workers could distinguish domestic from international mail.
Among the designs is a depiction of a reclined Lady of Good Hope – a fictional female figure who has a similar place in South African society as that occupied by the Statue of Liberty in America.
“That was our first stamp ever,” said Savo Tufegdzic, head of the stamp and coins department at Stephan Welz & Co, fine art auctioneers in Johannesburg.
The triangular stamps were used until 1864, after which square stamps were adopted.
Tufegdzic, who is overseeing the auction on Wednesday, said he expected to see people bidding on the stamps from all over the world. He has hopes of fetching over 800,000 rand (£45,158) for one lot of the scarce stamps.
“South Africa in comparison has a very small market, if you look at Europe, China, U.S. and Canada, they’re huge markets around the world,” he said. “Now people collect stamps just like art and gold, it’s an investment.”