Rare stamp from murderer's estate on auction

2014-03-24 20:44
(Shutterstock)

(Shutterstock)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

kalahari.com

London - A rare One-Cent Magenta postage stamp printed in British Guiana in 1856 and most recently owned by the estate of a du Pont chemical company heir convicted of murder is expected to fetch a record price of $10m-$20m, Sotheby's said on Monday.

The stamp is being sold by the estate of the late John du Pont, who died aged 72 in a Pennsylvania prison in 2010 where he was serving a sentence for the 1996 shooting of Olympic champion US wrestler David Schultz.

Du Pont, whose wealth was estimated at $250m at the time of his 1997 trial, was one of the richest murder defendants in US history at the time of his conviction.

Sotheby's said experts from the Royal Philatelic Society London had re-authenticated the British Guiana One-Cent Magenta, the only one of its kind known to exist, and the auctioneer would offer the stamp at auction in New York on 17 June.

"It is one inch by one and a quarter inches, it's tiny and when it sells it will be the most valuable object by weight and size ever sold," David Redden, Sotheby's vice chairperson and director of special projects, told Reuters.

"Our estimate on this stamp is $10m to $20m. That seems like an awful lot, but in the great scheme of things, across the entire collecting world, the most extraordinary objects in every field, that price suddenly becomes a little modest."

Chris Harman, chairperson of the Philatelic Society's expert committee, said the stamp printed in what is now called the Republic of Guyana was without peer.

"It's one of the first stamps in the world, 1856, British Guiana was one of the first countries in the world to issue their stamps, and this was a locally printed stamp, of which there are very few Four-Cent, and there's only one One-Cent, so it has gained this iconic status," he said.

It has not been on public view since 1986, when it was exhibited at a stamp show in Chicago. The last time it was certified as authentic by the Royal Philatelic Society was in 1935, since when several attempts at forging it have been made.

The current auction record for a single stamp is 2 875 000 Swiss francs (approximately $2.2m), set by the Treskilling Yellow in 1996.

Family fortune

Du Pont, who purchased the One Cent in 1980, was a great-great-grandson of EI du Pont, who in 1802 founded the chemical firm that bears his name and created one of America's largest family fortunes.

Du Pont was found guilty but mentally ill in connection with Schultz's death. During the trial, his attorney said du Pont suffered from delusions.

The One-Cent Magenta was printed in British Guiana in 1856 after a shipment of stamps from England was delayed, which threatened a disruption of postal service throughout the colony.

The postmaster turned to the printers of the local Royal Gazette newspaper, and commissioned a contingency supply: the One-Cent Magenta, a Four-Cent Magenta, and a Four-Cent Blue.

The sole-surviving example of the One-Cent was first rediscovered not far from where it was initially purchased.

In 1873, L Vernon Vaughan, a 12-year-old Scottish schoolboy living with his family in British Guiana, found the stamp among a group of family papers bearing many British Guiana issues.

A budding stamp collector, Vaughan added it to his album and later sold the stamp to another collector in British Guiana.

The One-Cent entered Britain in 1878, and shortly after, it was purchased by Count Philippe la Renotiere von Ferrary, one of the greatest stamp collectors in history.

France seized his collection, which had been donated to the Postmuseum in Berlin, as part of the war reparations due from Germany, and sold the stamp in 1922.

It changed hands several times after that before du Pont, an avid philatelist, paid $935 000 for the stamp in a 1980 auction, marking its most recent record-setting price.

"I don't think any of us will probably see it again in our lives, and so that is a milestone," Harman said.

Read more on:    uk
NEXT ON NEWS24X

SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/Movies
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Wednesday Cape Town - 20:17 PM
    Road name: MetroRail
    Due to extensive vandalism on the Central Line a limited Bus Service will operate between Nyanga/Chris Hani and Nyanga/Kapteinsklip - EXPECT DELAYS
  • Wednesday Montague Gardens - 19:58 PM
    Road name: Montague Drive
    ROADWORKS - lane closures both directions for BRT lane construction - expect DELAYS
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Up to 60% off - clearance sale!

Save up to 60% on appliances, books, electronics, toys, movies and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Deal of the Week!

Get bestselling John Green novels now just R99 each! Hurry and get yours while stocks last. Shop here.

Mind blowing deals on beauty & fragrances

Save up to 30% off beauty and fragrances. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 50% off hair care products!

Save up to 50% on professional hair care products at kalahari.com. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

30% off academic books

Score a mind blowing 30% off academic books! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Samsung Galaxy Tab P7500 10.1" Tablet With WiFi & 3G

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 gives you a better experience for...

From R4999.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

It is always easier to look out and see what needs changing. Looking in is a lot harder... Today you may need to look at what...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.