The 1-cent postage stamp from a 19th century British colony in South America is expected to sell for between $10 million and $20 million at Sotheby’s on June 17, the Associated Press reports.
The One-Cent Magenta has a storied past, including breaking the auction record for a single stamp three times. It’s also the only major stamp missing from the British Royal Family’s private Royal Philatelic Collection.
Marked with a three-masted ship printed in black on magenta paper, the stamp is thought to be the only survivor of a small batch commissioned in British Guiana when a shipment of stamps was delayed from London.
The stamp was first owned by a Scottish boy in South America in the late 1870s. The boy sold the stamp to a local collector, who in turn sold it to a dealer in Liverpool. When the man died his collection was bequeathed to the Postmuseum in Berlin. Following World War I, the stamp was auctioned by France for $35,000, setting the first record for a single stamp.
Another auction record was set in 1970 when the stamp was purchased for $280,000 by an investment consortium. In 1980, the stamp was sold to John E. du Pont for $935,000. du Pont’s estate is currently selling the stamp. A portion of the funds from the auction will go to the Eurasian Pacific Wildlife Conservation Foundation.
Rare stamp could bring millions at NYC auction [Boston.com]