British Guiana 1c magenta

The stories of Nyassa, Somali Coast, Liberia, etc etc

British Guiana 1c magenta

Postby invertedcenter » Wed Mar 12, 2014 10:28 pm

Yes..I know its not an inverted center stamp, but it is the most expensive and most famous stamp.


The British Guiana 1c magenta is regarded by many philatelists as the world's most famous stamp.[1] It was issued in limited numbers in British Guiana (now Guyana) in 1856, and only one specimen is now known to exist.
It is imperforate, printed in black on magenta paper, and it features a sailing ship along with the colony's Latin motto "Damus Petimus Que Vicissim" (We give and expect in return) in the middle. Four thin lines frame the ship. The stamp's country of issue and value in small black upper case lettering in turn surround the frame.
• 1 Background
• 2 Description and history
• 3 Controversies
• 4 In popular culture
• 5 See also
• 6 References
The 1c magenta was part of a series of three definitive stamps issued in 1856 and was intended for use on local newspapers. The other two stamps, a 4c magenta and 4c blue, were intended for letter postage.
The issue came about through mischance. An anticipated delivery of stamps by ship did not arrive so the local postmaster, E.T.E. Dalton, authorised printers Joseph Baum and William Dallas, who were the publishers of the Official Gazette newspaper in Georgetown, to print an emergency issue of three stamps. Dalton gave some specifications about the design, but the printer chose to add a ship image of their own design to stamps. Dalton was not pleased with the end result, and as a safeguard against forgery ordered that all correspondence bearing the stamps be autographed by a post office clerk. This particular stamp was initialled E.D.W. by the clerk E.D. Wight.
Description and history
Only one copy of the 1c stamp is known to exist. It is in used condition and has been cut in an octagonal shape. A signature, in accordance with Dalton's policy, can be seen on the left hand side. Although dirty and heavily postmarked on the upper left hand side, it nonetheless could be the most valuable stamp in existence.
It was discovered in 1873 by a 12-year-old Scottish schoolboy, L. Vernon Vaughan, in the Guyanese town of Demerara (whose postmark the stamp bears), amongst his uncle's letters. There was no record of it in his stamp catalogue, so he sold it some weeks later for six shillings[1] to a local collector, N.R. McKinnon. In 1878 McKinnon's collection was sold to a Liverpool stamp dealer, Thomas Ridpath, for £120.[2] Shortly afterwards, the same year, Thomas Ridpath sold the 1c to Philipp von Ferrary for about £150.[2] His massive stamp collection was willed to a Berlin museum. Following Ferrary's death in 1917, the entire collection was taken by France as war reparations following the end of World War I.
Arthur Hind bought it during a series of fourteen auctions in 1922 for over US$36,000 (reportedly outbidding three kings, including King George V); on 6 April 1922, sale 3, lot 295, the stamp sold for 300,000 franc + 17½% tax (@48 frs to £1 = £7,343).[2] On 30 October 1935 it was offered for sale at Harmer Rooke & Co auction 2704, lot 26, where a bid of £7,500 was received from Percival Loines Pemberton. However the lot was withdrawn and returned to Mrs Scala (formerly Mrs Hind).[2] In 1940, she offered it for private sale through the philately department of Macy's department store in New York City. It was purchased for $40,000 by Fred "Poss" Small, an Australian-born engineer from Florida, who had wanted to own the stamp since he first heard about it as a boy.[3] In acquiring it, Small completed a full set of stamps from British Guiana. In 1970, Small auctioned his entire stamp collection (estimated to be worth $750,000), and the 1c stamp was acquired by a syndicate of Pennsylvanian investors, headed by Irwin Weinberg, who paid $280,000 for it and spent much of the decade exhibiting it in a worldwide tour. John E. du Pont bought it for $935,000 in 1980.[1] Subsequently it was believed to have been locked in a bank vault while its owner was in prison and is presumably still there because the owner died while still incarcerated.[4] The stamp is now scheduled to be sold at auction in New York on June 17, 2014. Sotheby's estimates the sale price could reach $20 million. [5]
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