Queen Elizabeth’s £100 Million Stamp Collection Features Rare Finds, but It’s Missing the World’s Most Famous Stamp

Queen Elizabeth is well-known for collecting corgis, horses, and brightly colored outfits, but royal fans may not realize that she’s also an avid stamp enthusiast. The 94-year-old monarch is quite proud of her collection and as it turns out, the hobby isn’t just a bit of fun — it’s also quite lucrative.

In the unlikely event that the monarchy was abolished tomorrow and taxpayer funding dried up overnight, the queen would have to draw upon her personal wealth for survival. And besides her properties, art collection, and pricey cache of jewels, Her Majesty also has about $100 million worth of assets in stamps.

Queen Elizabeth
Queen Elizabeth | TOLGA AKMEN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Queen Elizabeth loves showing off her stamp collection

Most visitors to Buckingham Palace will expect to be offered a cup of tea with the queen, but they might be slightly surprised when Her Majesty trots out her impressive stamp collection to show off. Yet according to one royal expert that’s exactly what she loves to do.

“The queen loves showing her stamp collection to visitors, say heads of state who stay at Buckingham Palace,” Phil Dampier told Fabulous Digital, as The Sun reported.

“It is one of her pride and joys, not only because she owns some of the world’s most valuable stamps, but also because she has built on a family treasure and feels she has done her father and previous monarchs who owned it proud.”

Queen Elizabeth
Queen Elizabeth | Lisa Sheridan/Studio Lisa/Getty Images

The queen does not own the world’s most famous stamp

Though her collection includes multiple rare and valuable finds, Queen Elizabeth lacks one very famous stamp that she’d no doubt love to own. This is the highly coveted British Guiana 1c magenta from 1856, of which there is only one surviving version in the world.

The stamp most recently sold for $9.8 million at Southeby’s to famed shoe designer Stuart Weitzman. Like the queen, Weitzman is an avid collector, a hobby he’s been keen on since childhood.

One rare stamp would complete the queen’s collection

British Guiana One-Cent Magenta stamp | Oli Scarff/Getty Images

It’s not just that Her Majesty wants the stamp because of its value — that single stamp is the final piece to complete her collection of British Imperial stamps. This is a collection of stamps related to the United Kingdom and the British Commonwealth.

Though she wasn’t prepared to spend more than $9 million on the missing piece, Queen Elizabeth no doubt covets that single missing stamp for her very impressive collection.

The royal stamp collection has been passed down through generations

King George VI
George VI | Kurt Hutton/Getty Images

Though Queen Elizabeth has expanded her stamp collection, the majority of her treasured stamps came to her through inheritance.

Members of the royal family have been collecting stamps since 1864 and the first noted collector was Prince Alfred. He eventually sold his collection to his brother Edward VII, who then gave it to his son, George V. The treasured stamps were so valued that each monarch has employed an official curator to manage them.

George V was also a serious collector and was elected honorary vice-president of what later became the Royal Philatelic Society of London. His son George VI was Queen Elizabeth’s father and eventually, the stamp collection made its way to her through him.