A set of four rare stamps featuring the portrait of Mahatma Gandhi were on 19 April 2017 sold for record 500000 pounds by listed stamp dealer Stanley Gibbons. The block of four was sold to a private collector-investor in Australia for the highest ever price for Indian stamps. The purple-brown stamps are inscribed with the word ‘Service’ and were issued to the then Governor-General’s Secretariat for official use.
The Indian stamps were particularly rare due to the fact they were in a set of four. Presently, only 13 of the 1948 Gandhi 10-rupee Purple Brown and Lake Service stamps are in circulation. These thirteen stamps include the strip of four and a block of four in the Royal Philatelic Collection owned by Queen Elizabeth II, which is believed to be the world’s largest and most valuable private stamp collection. Stanley Gibbons previously sold one of these singles for 160000 pounds to a client in Uruguay in 2016.