A 1-cent postage stamp called the 1856 British Guaina One-Cent Magenta made it to the record books again as the world’s most valuable stamp when it sold yesterday for $9.5 million at a Sotheby’s auction in New York City, reports the Associated Press.
This little bit of paper has been around the block before — it’s the fourth time its sale has broken the auction record for a single stamp.
The tiny stamp hasn’t been shown to the public since 1986, which means it’s a pretty big deal.
“You’re not going to find anything rarer than this,” said Allen Kane, director of the Smithsonian National Postal Museum. “It’s a stamp the world of collectors has been dying to see for a long time.”
The Magenta broke the previous record of $2.3 million for an 1855 Swedish stamp that sold in 1996.
The stamp comes with a bit of sordid back story as well, as its last owner was John E. du Pont, an heir to the du Pont chemical fortune. He bought the stamp in 1980 for $935,000. He was later convicted of fatally shooting an Olympic champion wrestler, and the stamp was then sold by his estate.
Though there are other example of a similar 4-cent stamp that was produced at the same time, this is the only known 1-cent stamp of its kind to exist.
Raise your hand if you fee like it’s time to start rooting around in the attic again. I can’t see your hands but I know you’re all with me here.
Rare Stamp Sells for $9.5 Million [Associated Press]