The so-called Red Mauritius, one of the world’s most famous and rare stamps, was auctioned off in Germany for 8.1 million euros (AU $ 12.75 million).
According to the auction house, the historically valuable cover with the stamp only changes hands every few decades.
In total, three interested parties had bid over the phone after the stamp was put up for sale by a private owner on Saturday morning at a starting price of 4 million euros.
The Red Mauritius was first used to pay for the cost of postage for costume ball invitations. Three of the envelopes are said to have survived.
“Queen Elizabeth II has one of the ‘Ball Covers’ in her stamp collection,” said auctioneer Christoph Gaertner.
Another copy is in the philatelic collection of the British Library in London, he added. “The two can never be sold.”
The third one still in existence, he said, was the one that had just been auctioned off in private hands.
The previous owner had parted with the rare stamp only with a heavy heart, he said.
“I enjoyed every second of the prestigious Mauritius Ball Cover from 1847 and felt now was the time to pass it on to someone so passionate and proud to own it,” the auction house said. at auction before the sale.