Mr. John E. du Pont’s award-winning collection of classic British Guiana stamps will come up for sale via auctioneer David Feldman, on June 27, 2014, in Geneva.
The auction house has been selected to offer du Pont’s Grand Prix Collection of British Guiana, which includes over 200 individual items, among them great single rarities with mint, used and original covers.
The entire contents of the auction catalogue is not yet known, but shown in a Feldman brochure issued on February 18 are many rarities, including a used copy of the 1851 2-Cent Black on pale pink paper.
The announcement came a week after it was revealed that the unique British Guiana 1856 One-Cent Magenta postage stamp also owned by du Pont will come under the hammer on 17th June at Sotheby’s New York. It is expected to become the most expensive stamp in the world, with an anticipated sale price of between 10 and 20 million dollars.
There is only one known example of the One-Cent Magenta, which was printed in Georgetown, the capital of the South American colony of British Guiana – now Guyana – in 1856 by order of ET Dalton, the then local postmaster-general.
In 1980, the stamp set a record at auction when it was bought by John Eleuthère du Pont, heir to the du Pont chemical company fortune, for $935,000.
But this story has a strange twist. On January 26, 1996, du Pont inexplicably shot dead Dave Schultz, an Olympic wrestler who had been living on his estate.
The multimillionaire was diagnosed a paranoid schizophrenic and jailed for the killing. He died in a Pennsylvania prison in 2010, at the age of 72, and it has taken until now for his stamps to come up for sale at auction.
Du Pont collected stamps from a young age, and accumulated several beautiful collections, including Canada with precursors such as New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, as well as Samoa, Falkland Islands, and a number of Eastern European areas.
Collection of British Guiana
However, his greatest philatelic achievement was the accumulation of rarities from the old British colony British Guiana.
John E. du Pont won no less than five Grand Prix Awards including national, international and Grand Prix d’Honneur awards at various international philatelic exhibitions, and achieved a top-three place on the all-time list of several Grand Prix winners in 2000.
His most coveted and valuable victory was the Grand Prix for British Guiana at the Ameripex International Exhibition in Chicago, 1986, where he showed his collection –including the then most famous and most valuable stamp in the world, the One-Cent 1856 Magenta – under his pseudonym Rae Maeder.
Such notoriety has merely added to the value of the One-Cent Magenta, according to Christopher Harman, chair of the expert committee of the Royal Philatelic Society in London which, at Sotheby’s request, has just examined and authenticated it – for the second time. The committee last saw the stamp and declared it genuine in 1935.
The Feldman auction includes many pieces from old collections of famous philatelists such as Ferrary, Hind, Burrus and Caspary. It has been almost 30 years since this collection was last publicly seen and it is 50 years since a major auction of exclusive classic British Guiana philatelic material was held.
You can find a portion of Du Pont’s collection here.