2 exciting opportunities in British Guiana philately
It's five years since the world-famous British Guiana 1c Magenta stamp appeared for sale fresh from the estate of legendary collector John du Pont.
The stamp sold at Sotheby’s New York in June 2014 for $9.5 million. A record price for a single stamp - that still stands today.
At the time the worldwide chairman of Sotheby's books department, David Redden, commented: "I have been with Sotheby's all my working life, but before I knew about the world's greatest works of art, before I knew about the Mona Lisa or Chartres Cathedral I knew about the British Guiana.
"For me, as a schoolboy stamp collector, it 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."
Adding to the excitement was the fact the stamp had not been on view publicly since 1986, when it was featured at the Ameriplex '86 International Stamp Show in Chicago.
It all began 163 years ago
The stamp was born in 1856, when the British Guiana (now independent Guyana) postmaster ordered the printers of a local newspaper to produce a contingency supply of stamps.
This was to remedy a shortage caused by the delay of a shipment from England.
The colony had been receiving stamps manufactured by Waterlow & Sons in the UK since 1852.
The 1c Magenta from this contingency issue was thought to have been lost to history, until a Scottish schoolboy living in the colony discovered the sole-surviving example in a pile of family papers.
It was first believed to be fake, simply a doctored example of the 4c Magenta from the same issue.
Not realising its true value, the schoolboy sold the stamp to a local collector for just a few shillings.
In 1878, it entered the UK and was purchased by Count Philippe la Renotiere von Ferrary - one of the greatest stamp collectors ever to have lived.
World records and rumours
When Ferrary's collection was donated to the Berlin Post museum, France seized it as part of reparations from the first world war.
They sold the stamp in 1922 as part of a series of auctions that have since gone down in philatelic lore. It was bought by industrialist Arthur Hind, who paid a then postage stamp record of $32,500.
During Hind's ownership of the 1c Magenta, it was rumoured that another example had been discovered.
However, the rumour goes on to say that Hind bought the second example himself and destroyed it, preserving the uniqueness of his original stamp.
The unhinged philatelist
John du Pont during his jail time for murder.
The British Guiana 1c Magenta has since passed through some of the most illustrious collections of the 20th century, before ending up with John du Pont, heir to the du Pont family fortune.
Famed for his eccentricities, as well as a murder conviction, du Pont paid another record price of $935,000 in 1980.
For the next 34 year the stamp was buried deep within du Pont's collection, with the philatelic community pining for its return.
My offer to you
Unfortunately I do not have the 1c Magenta available for sale. It was purchased by the footwear designer Stuart Weitzman, who has created shoes for, among others, Beyoncé and Taylor Swift!
I do, however, have two British Guiana examples available that are much more affordable.
Both examples are priced at below the current Stanley Gibbons catalogue figures, so are excellent value.
Prices for British Guiana stamps rose significantly in the aftermath of the 2014 auction of the 1c Magenta.
I think it is only a matter of time before it appears for sale in an auction again.
So why not consider purchasing one of these now while they are still at a really keen price?
Please reply to this e-mail now to secure one of these for your collection.
Alternatively, give us a call on +44(0)1534 639998.
Mike Hall CEO - Just Collecting
PS. Want to own a stamp from British Guiana yet don’t have these sums to hand? Just tell me your budget and I’ll be in touch soon. Of course the same applies if there are any other countries of particular interest to you.
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