British Guiana 1c Black on Magenta: 10 little known facts about the world's most expensive stamp


01 November 2020
imports_CCGB_britishguiana1cmagenta_84410.png British Guiana 1c Magenta
The famous British Guiana 1c Black on Magenta is the world's most expensive stamp, and over its 170-year life it has graced the collections of some of the planet's most esteemed collectors. Here are ten little known facts about the world's most expensive stamp… ...

The British Guiana 1c Black on Magenta is the world's most expensive stamp. 

The $9,480,000 price tag (approximately £5,587,512) broke the world auction record for a stamp back in 2014, and the unique item is set to go under the hammer again in June 2021 at Sotheby's in New York.

Ten little known facts about the world's most expensive stamp…

  1. The famous stamp was produced following the delay of a shipment of stamps in 1852. The postmaster ETE Dalton turned to the printers of the local Royal Gazette newspaper, and commissioned a contingency supply of postage stamps: the 1c magenta, a 4c magenta, and a 4c blue.
  2. The 1c stamp was printed in black on magenta paper and featured the image of a sailing ship (hardly visible on the only remaining example).
  3. Afraid of forgery, the British Guiana postmaster insisted that each postal clerk sign the stamp, and the initials EDW, of clerk ED Wight, can be seen on the world-famous stamp.
  4. In 1873, L. Vernon Vaughan, a twelve-year-old Scottish schoolboy living with his family in British Guiana, found the stamp among a group of family papers.
  5. After being purchased by Austrian nobleman Count Philippe la Renotière von Ferrary in 1878, France seized his collection, which had been donated to the Postmuseum in Berlin, as part of the war reparations due from Germany, and sold the stamp, in 1922, to New York textile magnate Arthur Hind for $35,000.
  6. In a 1980 auction, John du Pont, heir to the eponymous chemical company paid $935,000 for the stamp.
  7. At the 1980 auction a group of British stamp dealers tried but failed to buy the stamp.
  8. The stamp's owner John Du Pont was convicted of murder in 1997, meaning the stamp was held in his collection.
  9. Du Pont passed away, while in prison, in December 2010, leading to the sale of the stamp in 2014.
  10. The stamp was expected to fetch up to £12 million at auction, but the £5.5 million price tag paid by luxury shoe tycoon Stuart Weitzman is still a world record.

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