British Guiana 1c Magenta Sells for $7.9 million


Jul 03, 2014 Europe/London

British Guiana 1c Magenta Stamp-Making the Mark as the World’s Most Valuable Stamp

Rarity is one thing that’s treasured and valued in philately. For the longest time, enthusiasts and stamp collectors have been searching, collecting and sharing stamps that are rare, valuable and tell the story of its country of origin. Just speak the words ‘rare stamps’ and surely collectors and philatelists will come together and take a look at these items. And when it comes to rare stamps that managed to get the attention of enthusiasts, only a few can beat the British Guiana 1c Magenta stamp. This is one stamp that has been cited for its rarity, long history and of course value. And just recently, this magenta-colored stamp has made history- it bumped another famed stamp to take the lead as the world’s most valuable stamp.

New world record for stamp value

Stamps may seem like basic and rough pieces of paper, but there’s no denying their value and importance. These pieces of paper will not just tell the value to be paid by the sender; stamps also tell the story of a culture or country where it came from. Thus, it is no surprise that some stamps are highly sought-after in the market, like the Swedish Treskiling Yellow. When this stamp was opened for bidding in 1996, it was valued at US$2.2 million, considered then as the world’s most valuable stamps
Fast-forward to this year, and there’s another record holder when it comes to the priciest stamp on the market - the British Guiana 1c Magenta. This stamp was offered at Sotheby’s on June 17, 2014, and was sold for $7.90 million to an anonymous phone bidder. The stamp was initially valued to fetch between $10 million to $20 million, but it fell below expectations, but still managed to sell at a record price.

A Rare Stamp with a Long History

There’s only one copy of the Guiana magenta stamp available, thus helping build the excitement among enthusiasts and collectors.
The stamp’s story started in 1856 in England, a time when stamp production and delivery were slow. When the supplies for 1- and 4-cent stamps were low, the postmaster requested William Dallas and Joseph Baum of Official Gazette to deliver emergency supplies of stamps, and the result were stamps printed on magenta paper. The stamps then were left imperforate, featured a rough design of a ship sailing with the words ‘Damius petimus que vicissum’. Fearing that the stamps were rather crude and could be counterfeited, the postmaster decided to sell the stamps that contained the initials of postal clerks. And with almost a hundred of these stamps printed, only one remained in circulation - the stamp that featured the initial of E.D. Wight, now the world’s most valuable stamp.
The story (and the fascination) of enthusiasts with the British Guiana 1c Magenta stamp will not stop with this sale. In fact, the sale of the stamp to an anonymous phone bidder will only fan the flames of excitement and passion of enthusiasts to follow the story of the stamp and watch the market once again for the next appearance of the item that recently made history.