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Rare Penny Black found in attic.

ONE of the rarest examples of a Penny Black stamp has been discovered in a North Wales derelict attic, hidden in pigeon droppings.

The 1841-dated postage stamp, pictured , was found alongside 26 other Penny Blacks, the first adhesive stamps used by any postal service in the world, and with 400 examples of its successor the Penny Red in the Denbighshire loft.

The particularly rare stamp comes from the "number 11" plate, the last one to be used to make the stamps before the red colour was adopted.

Few were made and they have a book value of up to pounds 15,000.

Stamp expert Colin Knights said the firm that received the stamp had impaled all its envelopes on letter spikes, which were then left in the attic.

"They've stayed there for years until they were discovered," he said. "Half had already gone on the tip before the owner realised what was hidden under the pigeon muck.

"It's astonishing what people are throwing away." Mr Knights, owner of Aqueduct Auctions in Froncysyllte, Denbighshire, has valued the stamp at between pounds 2,000 and pounds 5,000.

Most of the envelopes were postmarked for nearby areas including Wrexham, Mold and Liverpool.

Mr Knights added: "It's interesting to think what other hidden items are lying about and awaiting discovery.

"We just don't know what interesting and valuable items may still get thrown away because no-one looks at them properly." The auction will be held at Aqueduct Auctions on 15 May..
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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:May 1, 2009
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