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British Guiana One Cent Magenta Stamp

The One-Cent Magenta Comes to Market

On February 14 Sotheby’s announced that the Legendary and Unique British Guiana One-Cent Magenta will be offered at auction on June 17 in New York City. The auctioneers have placed an estimate of $10-20 Million on this great rarity. We reproduce here excerpts from the Sotheby’s news release [with additional information in brackets].

No stamp is rarer than the sole-surviving example of the British Guiana One-Cent Magenta [Scott #13], a unique yet unassuming penny issue from 1856, and no stamp is more valuable: each of the three times it has been sold at auction, it has established a new record price for a single stamp. [At present, however, it has been surpassed by other stamps—see Sotheby’s footnotes—but if it sells for even half the low end of the presale estimate, it will once again be the world’s most valuable stamp. JFD.]

The British Guiana is equally notable for its legacy, having been rediscovered by a 12-year-old Scottish boy living in South America in 1873, and from there passing through some of the most important stamp collections ever assembled. The British Guiana has not been on view publicly since the 1986, when it was exhibited at Ameripex ’86 International Stamp Show in Chicago. The stamp will travel this spring to locations including…

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(Article includes: One-Cent Magenta History of Ownership, British Guiana history, other British Guiana stamps and reveals the name of the "anonymous" new owner.)