Magenta stamp sells for $1.95b

The British Guiana One-Cent Magenta postage stamp from 1856, the only one of its kind to still exist, sold for a record US$9.5 million ($1.95b) at Sotheby’s yesterday in New York, Reuters reported.

The stunning price, which includes the buyer’s premium, makes the one-inch by one-and-a-quarter-inch stamp (2.5 cm by 3.2 cm) printed in black on magenta paper the priciest stamp ever sold at auction, and the most valuable object by weight and size, Reuters reported the auction house as saying.

An anonymous telephone bidder purchased the stamp during the bidding in the packed auction.

“Every time it has come up for auction and sold, it has brought the highest price ever paid for a stamp,” said David Redden, the worldwide chairman of books and manuscripts at Sotheby’s, said according to Reuters.

“It has always been the world’s most-famous stamp. It is one of these objects around which a huge mystique has grown up over the years,” he said.

The previous record auction price for a single stamp was 2.87 million Swiss francs (about US$2.2 million). This figure was set in 1996 for the Treskilling Yellow, a Swedish stamp that is a misprint of an 1855 shilling stamp in the wrong colour.

magentaReuters reported that the British Guiana stamp was sold by the estate of the late multimillionaire John du Pont, an heir to the du Pont chemical fortune, who died in prison in 2010 at the age of 72. Du Pont was serving a murder sentence for the shooting of David Schultz, a champion U.S. wrestler, in 1996.

Earlier this year, Reuters said that the Royal Philatelic Society of London re-authenticated the stamp, which du Pont, a keen stamp collector, acquired in 1980 for US$935,000. The stamp’s authenticity was previously verified in 1935.

The British Guiana One-Cent Magenta is one of the world’s first postage stamps. In 1856 in British Guiana the local postmaster asked a newspaper to print some stamps after supplies from Britain, where its stamps were produced, were delayed.

There are still a few four-cent stamps issued by British Guiana but this is the only one-cent. Until this year, the stamp had not been on public view since 1987, according to Sotheby’s.

The stamp was found in 1873 by a 12-year-old schoolboy named L. Vernon Vaughan, who was living in British Guiana with his family. He found it among his family papers.

 

The Reuters report said that he kept it in his collection and later sold it to another collector in British Guiana. It was next seen in Britain in 1878 and was then bought by Count Philippe la Renotiere von Ferrary, a noted stamp collector.

The count’s collection was donated to the postal museum in Berlin and was later confiscated by France as war reparation from Germany and sold in 1922, Reuters said.

It was sold several times before du Pont acquired it. Part of the proceeds of the sale will go to the Eurasian Pacific Wildlife Conservation Foundation, which du Pont backed, the report added.

Latest in Local News

default placeholder

Resource ambassadors raise $14.5m for UG

Education resource ambassadors from various parts of the world who were recently here for a conference on improving UG have raised $14.5m for the university.

default placeholder

Northern carriageway of Carifesta Avenue closed to traffic

The northern carriageway of Carifesta Avenue has been closed to traffic. This is to facilitate ongoing improvement and lighting works to the thoroughfare.

The newly appointed Deputy Commissioner General Hema Khan (left) with Chairman of the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) Board Rawle Lucas. She was introduced during a press conference held yesterday.

GRA sacks heads of Customs, HR

Chairman of the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) Board Rawle Lucas yesterday announced a major shake-up in the management of the tax body, including the removal of the heads of its Customs and Human Resources divisions for unsatisfactory performance and the appointment of a Deputy Commissioner-General.

European Union Ambassador Jernej Videtič (left) hands over the Coastal Engineering Design Manual for Guyana Sea and River Defences to Minister of Public Infrastructure David Patterson. (Ministry of Public Infrastructure photo)

$2B in EU funding for sea defences

While urging the swift operationalisation of the Public Procurement Commission (PPC), European Union (EU) Representative to Guyana Ambassador Jernej Videtič yesterday handed over a $2 billion cheque to Minister of Finance Winston Jordan to aid in improving the country’s sea and river defences.

Members of the City Constabulary in their ceremonial dress march along Regent Street yesterday prior to the arrival of the President. (Photo by Keno George)

Put citizens first

With the controversial parking meter contract instigating fractures within the Mayor and City Council (M&CC), President David Granger yesterday reminded city councillors that they are accountable to the citizens who voted them into office.

Injuried: Dhaniram Tribeni

Canal Number One businessman beaten, shot in home invasion

A Canal Number One businessman is now injured after he was beaten and shot early yesterday morning when armed bandits invaded his home and escaped with a quantity cash and jewellery.

default placeholder

City councillor accused of invading Town Clerk’s privacy

A city councillor has been accused of invading the privacy of Town Clerk Royston King and his family after contacting one of King’s daughters about the controversial trip he made to Mexico with the Mayor and other council members.

default placeholder

Chainsaw operator, 16, charged over rape of 10-yr-old

A 16-year-old chainsaw operator was yesterday charged with the rape of a child under the age of 16 years old and later released into the custody of his parents.

Comments

About these comments

The comments section is intended to provide a forum for reasoned and reasonable debate on the newspaper's content and is an extension of the newspaper and what it has become well known for over its history: accuracy, balance and fairness. We reserve the right to edit or delete comments which contain attacks on other users, slander, coarse language and profanity, and gratuitous and incendiary references to race and ethnicity.

Stay updated! Follow Stabroek News on Facebook or Twitter.

Get the day's headlines from SN in your inbox every morning: