Perhaps the most famous of all US Stamps Columbians are always in demand.
This set of stamps is the standard by which most US collections are judged and the $5 Columbian is the most sought after stamp of the set.
Printed in 1893 by the American Bank Note Company, this set was controversial and caused quite a stir at the time.
Many stamp collecting experts believed these were printed just to make money from stamp collectors that would feel compelled to buy this expensive set of stamps. In 1893 the $16.34 face value of the set was far more than an average person could afford.
Luckily for us, these stamps were kept on sale and we now have these beautifully engraved pieces of art today.
The set consists of 16 stamps from 1 cent through 5 dollar denominations and, for the most part, the higher the denomination the more valuable the stamp.
These stamps were designed to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus' famous voyage. The designs tell the story of the relationship between Columbus and Queen Isabella of Spain culminating with is return from the Americas.
An interesting side note is that this set was highly purchased by speculators expecting stamp collectors to drive up prices of the stamps. Boy, were they wrong.
As hard as it is to imagine today, the $1 to $5 stamps in this set were oversupplied in mint condition until about 1910. Yep, until 20 years after they were issued, you couldn't even sell a $5 Columbian for $5.
Of course, things would change over the next 100 years. Eventually prices had to rise because the dollar value Columbians were only produced in quantities in the tens of thousands. Contrast this with the 2 cent Columbian which had 1.5 Billion stamps issued. Yes, Billion with a B!
This is why the low denomination stamps can be worth little to nothing and a plate block of the $5 Columbian can sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars.