Auction house Sotheby's has just sold (on behalf of du Pont's estate) the world's only known and surviving example of a one cent magenta stamp from British colonial Guyana that was first printed in 1856. The stamp is hinged on paper, printed in black ink and bears the signature of the postmaster.
This is the history of the stamp:
1856 - British colony Guyana runs low on stamps as a shipment is delayed. Postmaster commissions a contingency supply.
1873 - 12 year old Scottish boy living with his family in British Guyana discovers the stamp among some family papers. The boy, Vernon Vaughan, adds the stamps to his album. He later sells the stamp for a few shillings.
1878 - Stamps makes its way to Britain.
Bought by French Count Philippe la Renotiere von Ferrary and later donated to museum in Berlin.
1922 - After WW1, French seized his collection as part of war reparations from Germany and sold stamp in auction to Arthur Hind who was a rich man from New York city. Hind paid $35,000 for the stamp.
1970 - Stamp sold for record $280,000
1980 - du Pont, an American multi-millionaire, buys stamp for record $935,000. du Pont is later sentenced to jail for shooting Dave Schultz and dies in prison in 2010.
2014 - Stamp sells for a record $9.5 million after bidding begins at $4.5million. Sotheby's had valued the stamp at $10-20 million. Nevertheless, stamp sets record price for auction. Previous record price was $2.2million for the Treskilling Yellow back in 1996.