Two penny blue bought for £29,000 sells for £1m at auction

The elusive 'Post Office Mauritius' two penny blue stamp fetched just over £1 million to become the most valuable ever sold in the UK.

The rare 'Post Office Mauritius' stamps sold for £1 million at auction in London

An unidentified telephone bidder beat off competition from six would-be buyers in the crowded sales room to pay twice as much as expected for one of the world's most famous stamps at Spink Auctioneers, London.

The stamp was one of the highlights of the Chartwell collection formed by businessman and philanthropist Sir Cyril Humphrey Cripps, expected to fetch more than £20million in nine sales over 18 months.

Collectors from around the world have descended on the auction house to bid for stamps currently held in 80 albums.

Another rarity going under the hammer is the finest known 'penny black', dating from the beginning of the Post Office in 1840.

It is expected to fetch between £150,000 and £200,000.

Auction house chairman Olivier Stocker said: 'The Chartwell Collection is, without a shadow of a doubt, one of the biggest ''wow'' moments we have ever experienced.

'When the collection arrived in London it was amazing to watch as our specialists turned the pages of what may be one of the finest philatelic collections of our time to reveal treasure after treasure.'

Sir Humphrey was a passionate collector all his life. After his death in 2000, his children found a shoebox in the back of his wardrobe containing thousands of train tickets.

He had kept the ticket from every journey he had ever made.

Sir Humphrey began collecting stamps in the 1950s, encouraged by his son Robert, who had inherited a stamp album from an uncle.