Half a million dollars of rare coins and stamps are going under the auctioneer's hammer in New Zealand's biggest coin auction.

Mowbray Collectibles is hosting the auction, which includes stamps so rare, just one of them is worth $25,000.

There are three gold staters of Alexander the Great, which are believed to be among the oldest coins issued in Europe, dating back to 2600BC.

Other coins are from Carthage, Rome, and the Byzantine Empire.

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A reconstructed sheet of the world's first stamp, the Penny Black, is estimated to go for $45,000.

The sheet has been painstakingly reconstructed from individual stamps, so the stamps are now in the order they would have appeared in when the sheet was first printed.

Some of New Zealand's most rare and valuable stamps on offer.

In 1949 New Zealanders were disappointed by a cancelled royal tour, when King George VI fell ill.

"Vanguard" stamps had been issued by our posties to celebrate the occasion, and most were destroyed once the tour was postponed.

Only seven survived. One is up for auction and expected to go for around $25,000.

The
The "Vanguard" stamp from the cancelled 1949 royal tour is expected to fetch about $25,000. Photo/Supplied.

Managing director John Mowbray said the stamp's rarity and place in history was what made it so valuable.

"The people who did the destroying sort of stuffed a few in their pocket.

"Out of the seven they saved, this is the finest one known, so we're expecting a lot of interest."

Catalogues for the collection have been sent all over the world, and many of the oldest pieces are expected to go overseas.

Mowbray said local collectors tended to focus on the slightly newer New Zealand coins and stamps.

A reconstructed sheet of 240 of the world's first stamp, the Penny Black. Photo / supplied.
A reconstructed sheet of 240 of the world's first stamp, the Penny Black. Photo / supplied.

"Most people collect from the country they live in.

"It's their own history, not necessarily something that happened a million miles away, a million years ago.

"But there are, of course, people collecting ancient coins.

"Absentee purchases are a very important part of our catalogue, we've mailed out a tonne of catalogues around the world for this sale.

"We're expecting hundreds of bid sheets to come in by fax, post, email and phone, to compete against the people sitting in the room."

The auction is being held at 12.30pm on March 11 at the West Plaza Hotel in Wellington.