The first sale of this stamp was for six shillings ($1.44) in 1873. One hundred forty years later, the British Guiana 1 Cent Magenta sold for over 6.4 million times that amount and reached $9.48 million at a Sotheby’s auction in June 2014.
The stamp was printed in 1856 after the postmaster general of British Guiana ordered a set of three types of stamps to be made after a shipment from London was delayed. This is the only stamp known to exist.
Before its sale in 2014, the stamp belonged to John E. du Pont, the heir to the du Pont family fortune who murdered a man in 1997 on his Foxcatcher farm (Steve Carell plays du Point in the 2014 film, "Foxcatcher"). Du Pont had purchased it for a then-record-setting $935,000 in 1980. He died in prison in 2010, and the stamp was sold by his estate.
The high bidder? High-end shoe designer Stuart Weitzman, who tucked the $9.5 million stamp in his pocket after making the record-breaking sale.
"I figured the best way was not to use an armored truck. That would call attention," Weitzman told The Washington Post. "My goodness, an armored truck pulling out from Sotheby’s could give some hooligans something to think about."
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