An 1856 British colonial stamp once owned by eccentric millionaire and convicted murderer John du Pont — and which has broken records in four auctions — is up for sale in New York once more.
The British Guiana One-Cent Magenta, dubbed the world’s most popular and expensive stamp, is expected to sell for up to $15 million on June 8, The Guardian announced, more than a billion times its original value.
“It is the Mona Lisa of philately,” philatelic expert David Beech told the news outlet. “It is the one stamp that every philatelist and every collector would have heard about and seen an illustration of.”
According to The Guardian, the one-of-a-kind stamp has gone on display at Sotheby’s London headquarters ahead of its auction in New York, and will be open to the public this week.
According to the outlet, it was discovered in 1873 by Vernon Vaughan, a 12-year-old Scottish philatelist living in British Guiana, who discovered it in his uncle’s papers and sold it for six shillings.
The stamp was finally acquired by Count Philipp La Rénotière von Ferrary of Paris, who died of a heart attack in 1917 and left his collection to his German fatherland “with pride and joy.”
The collection was confiscated from Berlin in 1920 and sold at an auction won by industrialist Arthur Hind, who made his fortune producing upholstery fabrics in the United States, according to the article.
It was sold for a reported $935,000 in 1980 to an unknown buyer, later identified as du Pont, the eccentric millionaire who murdered wrestler Dave Schultz and died in prison in 2010. The film “Foxcatcher,” starring Steve Carell, is based on Du Pont’s surreal life.
Stuart Weitzman, the celebrity shoe designer, is the new owner, having paid $9.48 million for it in 2014.
The stamp has been dubbed “the greatest collectible” by David Goldthorpe, a senior director at Sotheby’s.
He told The Guardian “it speaks about the mania of collecting, the thrill of the chase. And there is only one.”