Are You Ready for the British Guiana One-Cent Magenta?


Mar 31, 2014 Europe/London

Here's something to look forward to if you are passionate about stamps. Did you know that on June 17, 2014, the most popular stamp in the world will be offered in an auction to be hosted by Sotheby's New York? There are other 'rare and pricey' stamps out in the market, but for many hobbyists and enthusiasts who are into philately, the British Guiana One-Cent Magenta is considered the most important single stamp in the world. This stamp has been sold three times on the market, and for the past three tries, this stamp managed to fetch a record price for a single stamp. So should you feel excited as well and join the bidding frenzy for this stamp? Before you get too excited, it's best to first discover the story behind this important stamp.

British Guiana One-Cent Magenta stamp history

It all started in 1873 when a 12-year old boy named Vernon Vaughan discovered the stamp while rummaging through the letters of his uncle in Demerara, Guyana. The stamp was not found in any existing stamp catalogue back then, so he decided to unload the stamp to a dealer in the area for a few shillings. From this point, the price of the stamp (and its real value in the market) started to rise.  The stamp changed hands before it was purchased in 1880s by Philippe von Ferrary for US$750. Now, von Ferrary was somewhat of an odd person, known to dress inappropriately for his standing, and had few friends. He may have been odd in the eyes of some, but he knew his stamps. During his time, he collected some of the rarest stamps on the market, and it was mentioned that his mansion was filled with stamps. An agent for Arthur Hind purchased this stamp in 1922 for the fine price of 352,500 francs. In 1920, a second copy was reported and this was acquired by Hind. This stamp was then shown to the public in 1986 when it was hosted at the Ameripex 1986 International Stamp Show.

A rare stamp item fit for display and prized auctions

But with the latest pronouncements, the general public will soon see what the fuss is all about. According to the event organizers, the stamp will be shown in a number of locations like Hong Kong and London before it will be officially shown at Sotheby’s in New York on June 14. The stamp that will be shown to the public is actually part of the collection of John du Pont. A part of the proceeds will go to the Eurasian Pacific Wildlife Conservation Foundation, a foundation supported by du Pont.
According to David Redden, an executive for Sotheby’s, the British Guiana is one stamp that has captured his attention, even before he knew of some of the world’s greatest art works. He shared that this is one magical object that is best treasured and should be seen by everyone. And the good news is that the general public will soon be invited to marvel and appreciate this treasure - on the scheduled auction set on June 17.