by Alice Monroe
The world's most expensive stamp - the rare 19th Century British Guiana One-Cent Magenta - has sold at auction for a record $9.5 million
NEW YORK CITY -- A tiny stamp issued in 1856 in a former British colony sold at auction in New York for a record $9.5 million on Tuesday. David Redden, vice chairman of auction house Sotheby's, called the sale "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," Redden said.
It is not the first time that the British Guiana One-Cent Magenta has broken the record for the price paid for a single postage stamp - in its long history it has broken the auction record four times.
It was most recently owned by John E. du Pont, an heir to the du Pont chemical fortune who was convicted of fatally shooting a 1984 Olympic champion wrestler. Du Pont bought the stamp for $935,000 in 1980 - a record auction sale price for any stamp then. The British Guiana has not been publicly exhibited since 1986.
The stamp, printed on magenta paper, bears a three-masted ship and the colony's motto, "We give and expect in return".
It was issued by printers in British Guiana in 1856 and brought into circulation as a temporary replacement after a shipment of stamps from London was delayed.