Since July 1 is the National Postage Stamp Day in the U.S., our friends in the field of Philately would be happy that we’re talking about the British Guiana One-Cent Black on Magenta. Never heard of it? Right now, it’s the world’s most valuable stamp. The previous record holder for the priciest stamp was a unique and rare 1855 three shilling (Treskilling Yellow) Swedish stamp, which sold for about $2.3 million in Geneva last 2010.
On June 17, 2014, stamp collectors bid furiously for the 1856 British Guiana 1c magenta stamp at the Sotheby's New York auction. What’s the winning bid, you ask? A whopping $9,480,000.
The uberexpensive stamp was part of the estate of American philatelist and philanthropist, John du Pont, who was convicted for murder in 1997 and died in prison in December 2010. He bought the stamp in 1980 for $935,000. Thirty-four years later, the stamp’s value increased tenfold.
At the time of purchase, the winning bidder was not named. But later, the buyer was revealed as none other than the wealthy entrepreneur Stuart Weitzman.
If the name rings a bell, it’s because he was the same man who designed the million-dollar stilettos made from precious rubies. Weitzman was also known for designing shoes for high-profile clients like Beyonce and Taylor Swift. But who would have pegged him for a serious stamp collector?
I had no clue.
Avid philatelists like Weitzman and du Pont have paid a fortune to own post stamps with noteworthy history and scarcity. Because the British Guiana 1c magenta is more than a century old and has only one copy left, it’s among those extraordinary items that every billionaire would want to own. What was once ordinary has become a prized possession, you see.
So, yay for all the stamp collectors out there! And hopefully, you reap millions for your own collections someday.