World Stamps

Stamp treasures coming to market June 8 in NYC

May 17, 2021, 8 AM
The only known surviving example of the British Guiana 1856 1¢ Magenta and the unique plate number block of the famous United States 1918 Inverted Jenny will be auctioned June 8 by Sotheby’s in New York City. The 1¢ Magenta is offered with an estimate of $10 million to $15 million.

By Matthew Healey, New York Correspondent

Great rarities in the world of philately tend to come on the market but once or twice in a generation. Once the hammer falls in an auction of a world-class gem, decades might pass before it becomes available again.

So it is especially remarkable that two of the greatest icons of philately, the 1856 British Guiana 1¢ Magenta (Scott 13) and the plate block of four of the United States 1918 24¢ carmine rose and blue Jenny Invert airmail error (C3a), are coming on the market within seven years of the last time they changed hands.

Interestingly, the British Guiana 1¢ Magenta has been closely studied in recent years, and new information is available about it.

Both of these world-famous rarities were acquired in 2014 by their current owner, the shoe designer and entrepreneur Stuart Weitzman.

He obtained the 1¢ Magenta in a high-profile auction at Sotheby’s for $9.48 million, including the 20 percent buyer’s premium, and bought the Jenny Invert plate block from Donald Sundman of Mystic Stamp Company after reaching out to him privately, for a price believed to have been between $4.5 million and $5 million.

The stamps, along with a third trophy — the 1933 Double Eagle ($20 gold coin) that is unique in private hands — will go on the block at Sotheby’s in New York on June 8. An announcement of the upcoming sale appeared on the front page of Linn’s issue of March 29.

The philatelic and numismatic hobbies owe a debt of gratitude to Weitzman for the degree to which he has shared his trophies, making them available for long-term public viewing to an unprecedented degree.

To read the rest of the story and see detailed images of the owners’ marks on the back of the 1¢ Magenta, subscribe to Linn’s Stamp News.

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