Author Topic: 'Holy Grail' of stamps to fetch $20 MILLION at auction cost only 1ct in 1856  (Read 168 times)

Golden Oxen

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'Holy Grail' of stamps to fetch $20 MILLION at auction - despite costing just one CENT when it was issued in 1856

    British Guiana 1c Magenta was issued in 1856 by the colony's postmaster
    It was part of an emergency shipment of stamps commissioned by the postmaster and printed by the Royal Gazette newspaper
    This range also included the 4c Magenta and the 4c Blue stamps
    The 1c Magenta is the only surviving example of the stamp
    It is so rare it has been previously dubbed 'the Holy Grail of stamps'
    Experts predict it will fetch up to $20 million at a New York auction in June

By Victoria Woollaston

Published: 07:21 EST, 5 May 2014 | Updated: 09:23 EST, 5 May 2014

After being discovered in a stack of papers in 1873 and sold on for just six shillings, the British Guiana 1c Magenta stamp is expected to fetch up to $20 million (£11.8 million) at auction.

   

Frequently described as ‘the most valuable stamp in the world’, the small, octagonal-shaped stamp will be sold in a one-lot auction in New York on 17 June.

It is the only surviving example of the ‘emergency’ stamps range launched by the British Guiana postmaster in 1856, and is so rare it has been previously dubbed 'the Holy Grail of stamps.'
Frequently described as 'the most valuable stamp in the world', the British Guiana 1c Magenta, pictured, will be auctioned in New York on 17 June. It is the only surviving example of the 'emergency' stamps range launched by the colony's postmaster in 1856, and was discovered by a schoolboy in Demerara in 1873
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Frequently described as 'the most valuable stamp in the world', the British Guiana 1c Magenta, pictured, will be auctioned in New York on 17 June. It is the only surviving example of the 'emergency' stamps range launched by the colony's postmaster in 1856, and was discovered by a schoolboy in Demerara in 1873

Also known as the One-Cent Magenta, the stamp was part of a shipment commissioned by the country’s postmaster when a delivery from England was delayed.

This range also included the 4c Magenta and the 4c Blue, and all the stamps were printed by the local Royal Gazette newspaper.

The 1c Magenta is printed in black on magenta paper, and features a sailing ship with the colony's Latin motto 'Damus Petimus Que Vicissim', which translates to ‘We give and expect in return.’

The stamp's country of issue - now known as Guyana - and its value is shown in small black lettering around the frame.
THE HISTORY OF THE BRITISH GUIANA 1C MAGENTA

The British Guiana 1c Magenta was issued in 1856 by the local Royal Gazette newspaper.

It was later discovered in 1873 by a 12-year-old schoolboy in Demerara, and this location is confirmed by the stamp’s postmark.

Reports claim it was sold for six shillings to a local collector and was later bought in 1878 by Liverpool stamp dealer Thomas Ridpath for $200 (£120).

Ridpath then sold it to Philip von Ferrary for $250 (£150) the same year.

Arthur Hind bought it in 1922 for $36,000 (£21,000) and in 1940 it was bought for $40,000 (£23,700) by Fred Small during a private sale.   

In 1970, Small auctioned his entire stamp collection and the 1c stamp was bought by Irwin Weinberg, for $280,000 (£166,000).

A decade later, John E. du Pont bought the 1c Magenta for $935,000 (£554,000) to add to his private collection, where it remained until his death in 2010.

The stamp is now scheduled to be sold at auction in New York on 17 as part of du Pont’s estate for an estimated $20 million (£11.8 million).

In March, the Expert Committee at the Royal Philatelic Society London gave the stamp a pre-sale estimate of between $10 million (£6 million) and $20 million (£11.8 million).

     

After close examination by six experts, including spectrometer analysis, the Committee certified the stamp as genuine.

The last time the world-famous stamp was examined was in 1935 and it has been in private collections ever since.
In March, the Expert Committee at the Royal Philatelic Society London gave the stamp a pre-sale estimate of between $10 million (£6 million) and $20 million (£11.8 million). The last time the world-famous stamp was examined was in 1935, pictured, and it has been in private collections ever since
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In March, the Expert Committee at the Royal Philatelic Society London gave the stamp a pre-sale estimate of between $10 million (£6 million) and $20 million (£11.8 million). The last time the world-famous stamp was examined was in 1935, pictured, and it has been in private collections ever since

David Redden, director of special projects and worldwide chairman of Sotheby's Books Department, said: ‘For me, as a schoolboy stamp collector, [the 1c Magenta] was a magical object, the very definition of rarity and value, unobtainable rarity and extraordinary value.

‘That schoolboy of long ago would be bemused and astonished to think that he would one day, years later, be temporary guardian of such a world treasure.’

Following travelling exhibitions in Hong Kong and London, the British Guiana will be on display at Sotheby's in New York from 2 to 23 May.
The 1c Magenta was part of an emergency shipment commissioned by the country's postmaster when a delivery from England was delayed. This range also included the 4c Magenta, pictured, and the 4c Blue, and all the stamps were printed by the local Royal Gazette newspaper
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The 1c Magenta was part of an emergency shipment commissioned by the country's postmaster when a delivery from England was delayed. This range also included the 4c Magenta, pictured, and the 4c Blue, and all the stamps were printed by the local Royal Gazette newspaper.


     



 

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Golden Oxen

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After being re-authenticated by the Expert Committee at the Royal Philatelic Society London and making the rounds at libraries and museums in Hong Kong, London, and New York, the world’s rarest stamp will go up for auction. The last time it made a public appearance was in 1980 when the mentally disturbed heir to the du Pont fortune, John du Pont, bought it for $935,000. When the British Guiana One-Cent Magenta’s owner was imprisoned in 1997 for murder, it is believed the stamp was locked in a bank vault. The stamp has re-surfaced as a result of du Pont’s 2010 death in prison. It will be sold on June 17 at Sotheby’s New York as part of du Pont’s estate and has a pre-sale estimate of $10-20 million. That makes it the highest price ever paid for a postage stamp. At one-thousandth of an ounce, it is probably the most valuable object in the world as well.

Everyone in philately, which is the study of postal history, knows the British Guiana One-Cent Magenta as the Holy Grail. The world’s most famous stamp came about by mischance. British Guiana, now known as the independent nation of Guyana, had been getting its stamps from a manufacturer in England since 1852. In 1856, however, a stamp shipment was delayed. Knowing that the delay had the potential to disrupt postal service throughout the entire country, a British Guiana postmaster commissioned a local printer to produce a temporary emergency supply of three different stamps: a four-cent blue, a four-cent magenta, and a one-cent magenta. (Two hundred of the four-cent stamps are known to exist, and they each have a value of $50,000.) The one-cent stamps were intended for use on local newspapers while both four-cent stamps were to be used for letters.
There is only one known British Guiana One-Cent Magenta in existence. A 12-year-old Scottish schoolboy first rediscovered the sole-surviving example in 1873 amongst his uncle’s letters in the Guyanese town of Demerara. The budding philatelist added it to his stamp album. However, because there was no record of it in his stamp catalogue, he sold it a few weeks later to a local collector for six shillings. In 1878, that collector sold his collection to a Liverpool stamp dealer, marking the stamp’s entrance into the U.K. That same year, the stamp was bought from the stamp dealer by Philipp von Ferrary, a son of Italy’s Duke and Duchess of Galliera. Ferrary, who was born in France and lived there until his death, assembled the most complete worldwide collection of stamps that has probably ever existed. Though his massive collection was willed to a Berlin museum, France took it as war reparations when Ferrary died during WWI in 1917. Five years later, American textile industrialist and philatelist Arthur Hind bought British Guiana One-Cent Magenta at auction for $36,000, outbidding King George V in the process. In 1940, Mrs. Hind sold it through the philately department in Macy’s New York City store to an Australian living in Florida. The acquisition gave Floridian Fred Small a complete set of British Guiana stamps. Small auctioned his entire stamp collection off in 1970, and the British Guiana One-Cent Magenta went to a syndicate of investors from Pennsylvania for $280,000. It spent much of the 70s touring the world.

The physical appearance of the British Guiana One-Cent Magenta belies its worth. It was printed in black ink on magenta paper as imperforate, meaning that the stamps had to be cut by hand from a sheet with scissors or a knife. Someone chose to cut it into an octagonal shape, perhaps in an attempt to gussy up its ordinary countenance. Though given specifications by the postmaster regarding the stamps appearance, the printer took the liberty of adding an image of a simple, workman-like schooner that is more visible these days on the four-centers. The line-drawn ship was placed in the middle of the colony’s motto. The latin words “Damus Petimus” are above the ship, and the words “Que Vicissim” are below it. Today, this is less a motto than a prophecy. We give, the motto points says, and expect in return.

guardianlv.com/2014/05/british-guiana-one-cent-magenta-stamp-could-fetch-20-million-at-sothebys/


 

Golden Oxen

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      Rare stamp sets new auction record


   A postage stamp from a 19th-century British colony in South America has become the world's most valuable stamp - again.

   

                                                 

   

    A one-cent postage stamp from a 19th-century British colony in South America has become the world's most valuable stamp - again.

    The 1856 British Guiana One-Cent Magenta sold at auction at Sotheby's in New York for 9.5 million dollars (£5.6m). It is the fourth time it has broken the auction record for a single stamp in its long history.

    The stamp was expected to bring 10-20 million dollars (£5.9-£11.8m). Sotheby's said the buyer wished to remain anonymous. The price included the buyer's premium.

    David Redden, Sotheby's vice chairman, called the sale "a truly great moment for the world of stamp collecting".

    "That price will be hard to beat, and likely won't be exceeded unless the British Guiana comes up for sale again in the future," he said.

    Measuring one by one and a quarter inches, the One-Cent Magenta has not been on public view since 1986 and is the only major stamp absent from the Royal Family's private Royal Philatelic Collection.

    "You're not going to find anything rarer than this," said Allen Kane, director of the Smithsonian National Postal Museum. "It's a stamp the world of collectors has been dying to see for a long time."

    An 1855 Swedish stamp previously held the auction record for a single stamp. It sold for 2.3 million dollars (£1.3m) in 1996.

    David Beech, long-time curator of stamps at the British Library, who retired last year, has compared it to buying the "Mona Lisa" of the world's most prized stamps.

    The last owner was John du Pont, an heir to the du Pont chemical fortune who was convicted of fatally shooting a 1984 Olympic champion wrestler. The stamp was sold by his estate, which will designate part of the proceeds to the Eurasian Pacific Wildlife Conservation Foundation that du Pont championed.

    Printed in black on magenta paper, it bears the image of a three-masted ship and the colony's motto, in Latin: "We give and expect in return."

    It went into circulation after a shipment of stamps was delayed from London and the postmaster asked printers for the Royal Gazette newspaper in Georgetown in British Guiana to produce three stamps until the shipment arrived: a one-cent magenta, a four-cent magenta and a four-cent blue.

    While multiple examples of the four-cent stamps have survived, only the tiny one-cent issue is known to exist today.

    Its first owner was a 12-year-old Scottish boy living in South America who added it to his collection after finding it among family papers in 1873. He soon sold it for a few shillings to a local collector, Neil McKinnon.

    Mr McKinnon kept it for five years before selling it to a Liverpool dealer who recognised the unassuming stamp as highly uncommon. He paid £120 for it and quickly resold it for £150 to Count Philippe la Renotiere von Ferrary, one of the world's greatest stamp collectors.

    Upon his death in 1917, the count bequeathed his stamp collection to the Postmuseum in Berlin. The collection was later seized by France as war reparations and sold off in a series of 14 auctions with the One-Cent Magenta bringing 35,000 dollars (£20,700) in 1922 - an auction record for a single stamp.

    Arthur Hind, a textile magnate from Utica, New York, was the buyer. King George V was an under-bidder.

    After Mr Hind's death in 1933, the stamp was to be auctioned with the rest of his collection until his wife brought a lawsuit, claiming it was left to her.

    The next owner was Frederick Small, an Australian engineer living in Florida who purchased it privately from Mr Hind's widow for 45,000 dollars (£26,600) in 1940. Thirty years later he consigned the stamp to a New York auction where it was bought by an investment consortium for 280,000 dollars (£165,680) - another record.

    The stamp set its third record in 1980 when it was sold for 935,000 dollars (£553,254) to du Pont.

   home.bt.com/news/uknews/rare-stamp-sets-new-auction-record-11363912495575