top of page

World's Rarest and Most Expensive Stamp To Be Shown At Stampex 2023


'Stanley Gibbon's One Cent Magenta'

Gold PTS Member, Stanley Gibbons will be displaying their British Guiana One Cent Magenta at Stampex from 27th - 30th September. The British Guiana One Cent Magenta was last showcased in 2021 after it was sold at auction in New York for a massive $8,307,000.  

Known as the world's rarest and most expensive stamp, the piece was previously owned by the renowned shoe designer, Stuart Weitzman. It also stands out because previous owners, including John du Pont and Stuart Weitzman, have signed the back of the stamp. The One Cent Magenta is considered the most expensive item by weight in the world.

The stamp can be dated back to 1856 and is officially called the British Guiana ONE CENT black on magenta. The One Cent Magenta was discovered by a 12-year-old schoolboy, Vernon Vaughan, amongst some family papers in 1873. He sold the stamp for 6 shillings, always believing he would find another. The stamp then exchanged hands until it was auctioned in 1922. At the time, it was bought for a little over £7k and it then became known as the world's most expensive stamp. It was held privately until 1933, and sold to an anonymous collector in 1940. In New York on 24 March 1970 a syndicate bought the stamp for $280,000 and later sold it at Gold PTS Member, Robert A Siegel of New York for $935,000 to John du Pont. In 2014 it was sold to Stuart Weitzman. Today, the One Cent Magenta belongs to Stanley Gibbons, who returned the stamp to the London – the home of philately. In an exciting twist, they also opened up ownership of the British Guiana One Cent Magenta to everyone through fractional share ownership. 


It's not only the sales history which is interesting, but also how the stamp was created and developed. The first stamps of British Guiana were in use from 1 July 1850. They were printed at the offices of the Royal Gazette in Georgetown, the capital of the colony. The ‘design’ was created by bending a length of copper printer’s rule into a rough circle, setting ‘BRITISH GUIANA’ around the inside and placing the value in a straight line across the centre. To aid identification, each value was printed on a different coloured paper and, due to fears that the stamps would be relatively easy to copy, each had to be initialled by a postal official. The design needed to be more secure, so Waterlow and Sons of London were tasked with this, and on 1 January 1852 the first of the Waterlow stamps were issued. However, supply didn't always match demand and in 1856, officials had to print some stamps at the Royal Gazette. This stamp, which will be on display at Stampex, is one of those exceptional stamps.

bottom of page