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British Guiana’s 1-cent postage stamp of 1856 sold for record 9.5 million US dollar

Jun 19, 2014 16:37 IST

An 1856 British Guiana 1-cent postage stamp was sold for record 9.5 million US dollar on 18 June 2014 to become the world’s most valuable stamp.

The auction was held by the Sotheby in New York. It was for the fourth time that the 1856 Magenta stamp broke the auction record for a single stamp in its long history.

It was the only major stamp absent from the British Royal Family's private Royal Philatelic Collection.

An 1855 Swedish stamp, which was sold for 2.3 million dollars in 1996, previously held the auction record for a single stamp.

About the stamp

The stamp is about 2-cm × 3-cm in size. Printed in black on magenta paper, it bears the image of a three-masted ship and the colony's motto, in Latin: we give and expect in return.

It went into circulation after a shipment of stamps was delayed from London and the postmaster asked printers for the Royal Gazette newspaper in Georgetown in British Guiana to produce three stamps until the shipment arrived: a 1-cent magenta, a 4-cent magenta and a 4-cent blue.

The stamp was found by a 12-year-old boy and went through numerous stamp collectors' hands until it was bought by John du Pont in 1980. Du Pont shot dead Olympic wrestler David Schultz on his property in 1996 and passed away in prison in 2010.

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