Sotheby’s Sells Famous Stamp For A Record $9.5 Million

NEW YORK CITY — For the fourth time in its history, the British Guiana one-cent black on magenta set a new world auction record for any stamp June 17 at Sotheby’s New York, achieving $9,480,000, nearly one billion times its original face value.

No stamp is rarer than the sole-surviving example of the British Guiana, a rare yet unassuming penny issue from 1856, which has been heralded as the pinnacle of stamp collecting for more than a century. The stamp was rediscovered by a 12-year-old Scottish boy living in South America in 1873, and from there passed through some of the most important stamp collections ever assembled. Until Sotheby’s international exhibitions this spring in Hong Kong, London and New York, the British Guiana had been out of public view since 1986.

David Redden, Sotheby’s Vice Chairman, said, “We are thrilled with tonight’s extraordinary, record-setting price of $9.5 million – a truly great moment for the world of stamp collecting. That price will be hard to beat, and likely won’t be exceeded unless the British Guiana comes up for sale again in the future. I have to say I’m a little sad to see it go – when I was eight years old this was the most precious object in the entire world, and I never dreamed I would have it in my hands.”

The previous auction record for a single stamp was approximately $2.2 million, set by the Treskilling Yellow in 1996.

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