John E. du Pont’s British Guiana collection to be auctioned in June

Feb 21, 2014, 7 AM

The British Guiana 1851 2¢ black on pale rose stamp. The David Feldman auction firm in Geneva, Switzerland, will offer John E. du Pont’s collection of British Guiana June 27.

The award-winning collection of classic British Guiana formed by John E. du Pont will be auctioned by David Feldman June 27 in Geneva, Switzerland.

The announcement of the sale comes just one week after the Sotheby’s auction firm revealed that du Pont’s 1856 British Guiana 1¢ Magenta stamp (Scott 13), frequently described as the most valuable stamp in the world, will be offered in a dedicated auction at its New York City gallery.

The Feldman auction of du Pont’s British Guiana collection will take place 10 days after the 1¢ Magenta is offered by Sotheby’s during the evening of June 17.

Linn’s editor Charles Snee reported in the March 3 issue that Sotheby’s anticipates the unique rarity will draw a final bid between $10 million and $20 million.

Full details of the British Guiana collection sale have not been revealed by the Feldman firm, but publicity distributed by Feldman Feb. 18 pictures several classic British Guiana rarities, including a used example of the 1851 2¢ black on pale rose stamp, closely cut to its roughly round shape. The stamp is identified by the Scott Classic Specialized Catalogue of Stamps and Covers 1840-1940 as British Guiana Scott 1, with a value of $250,000.

In an extract from a series of articles by L.N. Williams published by Feldman in 1992, it was reported that only two single stamps and two covers bearing the 2¢ black on pale rose stamp are still in private hands.

The primitive 1850-51 first issues of British Guiana are often referred to as the Cottonreels because of their round design, which Williams noted bears a rough resemblance to “the comparatively well-printed labels which used to grace the ends of wooden reels of cotton.”

The David Feldman website pictures additional classic stamps and covers from the collection, and notes that “many great items from the Ferrari, Hind, Burrus and Caspary collections will now come to the market again.”

The auction will offer more than 200 individual items, Feldman reports, “including great single rarities with mint, used and original covers.”

Exhibited under the pseudonym Rae Maeder, du Pont’s British Guiana collection earned five Grand Prix awards. With the 1¢ Magenta as its centerpiece, the exhibit claimed the Grand Prix International at the 1986 Ameripex International Exhibition in Chicago.

Often described as eccentric, multimillionaire du Pont, heir to the du Pont chemical fortune, shot and killed Olympic wrestler Dave Schultz in 1996 at du Pont’s Foxcatcher estate in Newtown Square, Pa.

Convicted of murder in the third degree but found by a jury to be mentally ill, du Pont died in a Pennsylvania prison at age 72 in 2010.

Feldman has also announced that on the same day as the British Guiana sale, the firm will auction the Koichi Sato Tasmania collection.

Sato’s collection won the 2003 National Grand Prix in Australia and took home the 2013 Grand Prix d’Honneur at the Melbourne International Exhibition.

“I love the stamps of the British Empire,” said Sato, “and chose to collect Tasmania because it represented for me dignity, beauty and rarity.”

Additional information about the June 27 British Guiana and Tasmania auctions can be found on the David Feldman website at

Contact the auction house by e-mail at

The firm’s address is David Feldman SA, 175 Route de Chancy, Box 81, CH-1213, Onex, Geneva, Switzerland.