World Stamps

A stiletto, Weitzman and the unique British Guiana 1¢ Magenta

Oct 31, 2019, 3 PM

Philatelic Foreword by Jay Bigalke

Stuart Weitzman, the renowned shoe designer and philanthropist, made philatelic history when he purchased the unique British Guiana 1¢ Magenta stamp for almost $9.5 million in 2014.

In January 1856, British Guiana issued a small number of 1¢ and 4¢ stamps for provisional use while the postmaster waited on a shipment of postage stamps from England. Multiple examples of the 4¢ stamp have survived, but the 1¢ stamp is the only one of its kind in the world.

Since June 2015 (with a few exceptions), this stamp, considered the world’s rarest and most valuable, has been on display at the Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum in Washington, D.C., thanks to the generosity of Weitzman.

The stamp has also toured a bit and was on display at the World Stamp Show-NY 2016 in New York City and in Monaco at the Monacophil 2017 exhibition.

On Oct. 19, Weitzman continued the tradition of previous owners of the British Guiana 1¢ Magenta by adding his initials “SW” to the reverse of the stamp. He also added a line drawing of a stiletto shoe.

The other markings on the back of this famous stamp were made by Count Philipp von Ferrary, Arthur Hind and his wife Ann “to obscure her husband’s mark,” Frederick T. Small, Finbar Kenny (manager of Macy’s stamp department who brokered the stamp’s sale to Small), Irwin Weinberg and associates, and John E. du Pont, according to information from the Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum.

I think it is safe to say the hobby greatly appreciates the support Weitzman has for it.

For more details about the Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum and the display of the British Guiana 1¢ Magenta in the museum’s William H. Gross Stamp Gallery, visit the NPM website.

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