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Don’t Put This Stamp in the Mail

Posted on June 17th, 2014 by Joe G

You think 49 cents is a lot to pay for a stamp? What about $20 million?

The 1856 British Guiana One-Cent Magenta (“the Mona Lisa of stamps”) was first owned by a 12-year-old Scottish boy living in South America, who then sold it to a local collector. It traveled through a variety of hands, breaking several records at auctions until 1980, when John E du Pont purchased it for $935,000. Du Pont was an heir to a chemical fortune, and is known for being convicted of shooting an Olympic wrestler.

Several four-cent stamps of this variety are known to exist, but this is the only known one-cent stamp. It features an image of a three-masted ship and the British Guiana motto “we give and expect in return,” in Latin. The one-cent magenta, along with a four-cent magenta and a four-cent blue, went into circulation when a shipment of stamps from London was delayed.

The one-cent magenta is expected to fetch between $10M and $20M, which would break the record for a single stamp – currently held by an 1855 Swedish stamp.



Courtesy of The Guardian

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