Wednesday, June 18, 2014

One Cent Magenta Stamp Sold for Record Price at Sotheby's Auction

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.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Rare and Valuable Stamps

Rare stamps are not always valuable.  But in most cases, they probably are.  And the trend that we are seeing is probably this:  Rare stamps will become more and more valuable.

The reason for this is actually quite simple.  As the number of extremely wealthy people (we are talking about billionaires here) increases over the recent years, it only means that higher amounts of money are being paid for rare and coveted objects and items like fine wines, art pieces and of course, rare stamps.

Well, the idea is probably that owning this one-of-a-kind items is probably sought after by the rich because it connotes a certain amount of exclusivity.  After all, anyone can buy a Ferrari or a castle.  But how many people can actually own a piece of art if it is the only one in the world.  So the wealthy people are inclined to splurge on this.

Some of them are of course true collectors who might have been collecting stamps since they were young and struck it out rich, thus turning back to their childhood hobby.  But these are probably far and few between.  Nevertheless, it probably makes sense to look into rare stamps of countries where a large percentage of billionaires boast from.  By this, we are talking about countries like China, India, Russia, etc.  These billionaires will probably be interested in collecting rare stamps that belong to their country.


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