British Guiana 1c Black on Magenta stamp sells for £5.5 million

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18 June 2014
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imports_CCGB_britishguiana1cmagenta-2-_34058.png British Guiana 1c Magenta
The famous British Guiana 1c Black on Magenta has been sold for nearly one billion times its original face value. The $9,480,000 price tag (approximately £5,587,512) broke the world auction record for a stamp. ...
The famous British Guiana 1c Black on Magenta has been sold for nearly one billion times its original face value.

The $9,480,000 price tag (approximately £5,587,512) broke the world auction record for a stamp, but failed to reach the pre-sale estimate of up to £12 million.

The stamp was bought by an anonymous telephone bidder amidst rumours that it may have been purchased on behalf of the Queen for inclusion in the Royal Philatelic Collection.

However, Keep of the Royal Philatelic Collection, Michael Sefi, told Stamp & Coin Mart: ‘I can categorically confirm that the Collection has not bought the British Guiana 1ct. It has been reported that King George V was offered the stamp twice but turned it down as being too expensive on those occasions. I have no direct evidence of that, but it seems quite possible.’

For the fourth time in its illustrious history, the British Guiana One-Cent Black on Magenta set a new world auction record for any stamp at Sotheby’s New York.

Watch a video about the 1856 stamp.

Read our ten little known facts about the British Guiana 1c Black on Magenta.

The sole-surviving example of the British Guiana, a penny issue from 1856, has been heralded as the pinnacle of stamp collecting for more than a century. The stamp was rediscovered by a twelve-year-old Scottish boy living in South America in 1873, and from there passed through some of the most important stamp collections ever assembled.

Until Sotheby’s international exhibitions this spring in Hong Kong, London and New York, the British Guiana had been out of public view since the 1986.

David Redden, Sotheby’s Vice Chairman, commented:

'We are thrilled with tonight’s extraordinary, record-setting price of $9.5 million – 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. I have to say I’m a little sad to see it go – when I was eight years old this was the most precious object in the entire world, and I never dreamed I would have it in my hands.'

You can find out much more about the famous stamp in the April issue of Stamp & Coin Mart - available to download now or order as a print copy.

Watch a video about the 1856 stamp

Read our ten little known facts about the British Guiana 1c Black on Magenta
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