World Stamps

Gustaf Douglas, 1938-2023

Jun 5, 2023, 12 PM
Gustaf Douglas, who died May 3 at age 85, was the head patron of the Stockholmia 2019 philatelic exhibition held May 29-June 2, 2019, in Stockholm, Sweden. Mr. Douglas is seen at right in this photograph taken during the show. Photo by Jay Bigalke.

By Linn’s Staff

Swedish aristocrat and billionaire Gustav Douglas, who acquired the unique Sweden 1855 Treskilling Yellow error of color (Scott 1a) in 2013 in a private sale, died May 3 at the age of 85.

Like the unique 1856 Penny Magenta of British Guiana (Scott 13), the Treskilling Yellow has a fascinating story of discovery and a pedigreed provenance to go along with its extreme rarity.

David Feldman sold the Treskilling Yellow in 1984 for approximately $455,000, the second-highest price ever obtained for an individual stamp at that time. It is now valued at $3 million in the Scott Classic Specialized Catalogue of Stamps and Covers 1840-1940.

Mr. Douglas’ numerous philatelic achievements include being invited to sign the Roll of Distinguished Philatelists in 2018. The award, created in 1921 by the Philatelic Congress of Great Britain, is considered the highest honor a philatelist can receive.

In 2015, Mr. Douglas received the Tilleard medal from the Royal Philatelic Society London for his display titled “Classic Sweden.”

According to the RPSL, the Tilleard medal is “awarded for the best 1 p.m. display of any aspect of philately, given at an ordinary meeting of the Society, during the relevant period, by one, or not more than two persons.”

In 2015, the Swedish Philatelic Federation awarded Mr. Douglas the Strandell medal, the highest philatelic recognition in Sweden.

More recently, Mr. Douglas served as the head patron of Stockholmia 2019, the international philatelic exhibition held May 29-June 2 in Stockholm, Sweden, in conjunction with the 150th anniversary of the RPSL, the oldest philatelic society in the world.

Mr. Douglas was a successful businessman and industrialist for more than 50 years. He was the founder, principal owner and chairman of the board (1994-2012) of Assa Abloy, the world’s largest supplier of locks, doors and other access systems for homes, businesses and institutions.

He is survived by his wife, Elisabeth von Essen Douglas, whom he married in 1963, and two children, Carl and Eric.

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