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The British Guiana - Public Auction, 7pm - June 17, 2014

Every collecting area has its Holy Grail. For stamps it is The British Guiana. Frequently described simply as “the most valuable stamp in the world” or “the most famous stamp in the world”, The British Guiana One-Cent Magenta will be sold by Sotheby’s New York in a one-lot auction on June 17, 2014. Issued in 1856 for use in British Guiana, this unique survivor was discovered in 1873 by a schoolboy in Demerara and, within the stamp world, has had a mythic status for over 100 years. Having passed through some of the world’s most important stamp collections and having set a new world record for a stamp every time it has sold at auction (the last time being 34 years ago), it is now estimated to bring $10 million to $20 million.

Following travelling exhibitions in Hong Kong, The British Guiana will be on view at Sotheby's New York from 2 to 30 May 2014, open Monday through Saturday from 10AM to 5PM and Sunday from 1PM to 5PM. Dates and locations as follows:

May 2-30 -- Sotheby's New York
June 1-5 -- Sotheby's London
June 7-17 -- Sotheby's New York

For more information please contact us at:

Sotheby's
New York, NY
Phone: 212-606-7386

To request more information by email. debbie.moerschell@sothebys.com

Visit our Home Page at Sotheby's

Terms and Conditions.


The British Guiana

One-Cent Magenta
Lot Descrip Estimate
1 imageThe Unique British Guiana 1856 One-Cent, Black on Magenta Surface-Colored Paper (Stanley Gibbons no. 23, Scott no. 13).Initialed EDW, cut octagonally clear of design, April 4, 1856 DEMERARA circular datestamp, slight surface rubbing due to, according to RPSL certificate (2014), “over painting at some time in the past,” the unique example, unpriced in Gibbons and Scott.29 x 26 mm (1 5/32 x 1 1/32 in.)

EXPERTIZATION:
The stamp is accompanied by two "Genuine" certificates issued by the Expert Committee of the Royal Philatelic Society, London: Certificate No. 18,796 (17 October 1935), signed by Thomas William Hall, and Certificate No. 217,796 (17 March 2014), signed by Christopher Harman.
The stamp was also examined by Thomas Lera, the Winton S. Blount Research Chair of the Smithsonian National Postal Museum, on 17 April 2014, and several photographs taken by Mr. Lera are reproduced in the catalogue.

PROVENANCE:
Andrew Hunter (1856–1873), original recipient of the mailed stamp;
Louis Vernon Vaughan (1873);
Neil Ross McKinnon (1873–1878);
Thomas Ridpath (1878);
Philipp de la Rénotière von Ferrary (1878–1920; purple trefoil on reverse);
Government of France (1920–1922);
Arthur M. Hind (1922–1933; manuscript “H” on reverse; cloverleaf "AH" handstamp on reverse);
Ann Hind Scala (1933–1940; perhaps a seventeen-point star handstamp on reverse used to obscure the cloverleaf of her husband);
Frederick Trouton Small (1940–1970; comet handstamp on reverse; also initialed in pencil “FK” by his agent Finbar Kenny);
Irwin Weinberg and Associates (1970–1980; pencil “IW” on reverse);
John E. du Pont (1980–2014; pencil “JEdP” on reverse)

SELECTED EXHIBITIONS:
1923 London International Stamp Exhibition May 14–28
1926 New York International Stamp Exhibition October 16–23
1929 Le Havre, France, Exposition Philatélique Internationale May 18–26
1930 Boston, American Philatelic Society National Exhibition August 11–16
1940 New York World’s Fair, British Pavilion May
1947 New York Centenary International Philatelic Exhibition May 17–25
1956 New York Fifth International Philatelic Exhibition April 28–May 6
1963 Melbourne International Philatelic Exhibition October 6–12
1965 London Stanley Gibbons Catalogue Centenary February 17–20
1970–1980 Irwin Weinberg toured the stamp extensively including trips to England, Japan, Switzerland, France, India, Czechoslovakia, Germany, Spain, and Canada
1986 Chicago Ameripex International Stamp Exhibition May 22–June 1 (Part of the British Guiana exhibit by “Rae Mader," which won the Grand Prix)
1987 Perth, Australia, CUP-PEX National Philatelic Exhibition January 31–February 8

THE ONE-CENT BLACK ON MAGENTA IS UNIQUE—THE SOLE SURVIVING ONE-CENT OF THE ENTIRE 1856 ISSUE PRODUCED IN GEORGETOWN, BRITISH GUIANA. THE SURVIVAL, REDISCOVERY, AND SUBSEQUENT CHAIN OF OWNERSHIP OF THE UNIQUE EXAMPLE OF THE ONE-CENT MAGENTA IS JUST AS SERENDIPITOUS AND CAPTIVATING AS THE STORY OF ITS CREATION. THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STAMP WAS FIRST RECOGNIZED BY THE GREAT PHILATELIST EDWARD LOINES PEMBERTON, WHO DECLARED AS EARLY AS 1878 THAT THE “ONE CENT, RED, 1856!!! [IS] AS GENUINE AS ANYTHING EVER WAS.” AND JUST THIRTEEN YEARS LATER, THE PHILATELIC RECORD FORMALLY ACKNOWLEDGED THAT THE BRITISH GUIANA WAS UNIQUE: “THIS IS WITHOUT DOUBT, IN OUR OPINION, THE RAREST STAMP IN THE WORLD, IN ITS SOLITARY GRANDEUR.”MORE THAN A CENTURY AND A HALF AFTER ITS CREATION, THIS STAMP REMAINS THE NE PLUS ULTRA OF THE WORLD'S MOST POPULAR COLLECTING PURSUIT. (Image) (imagea) (imageb) (imagec) (imaged) (imagee) (imagef) (imageg) (imageh) (imagei) (imagej) (imagek) (imagel)

image image image image image image image image image image image image

Est. $10,000,000-20,000,000

SOLD for $9,500,000.00
Will close during Public Auction at Sothebys


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