Promotion of a Rare Stamp
There can be no greater Philatelic Endeavor than Irwin Weinberg’s lifelong fascination with owning and promoting that the owned the Rarest Stamp in the World! Weinberg always made a scene at stamp shows and airports with his briefcase handcuffed to his wrist and getting into armored cars in front of crowds, it was a great publicity stunt and it worked as people became so intrigued by the British Guiana One Cent stamp that its notoriety grew even more. It was discovered by a schoolboy sorting through his uncle’s papers in the South American British Colony in Guiana. He soon traded it to a collector in London and it was promoted from there until it recently sold at Sotheby’s Auction in New York for $ 10 million dollars.
An old friend left me a note when he was 70 years old which said “ My father took me to New York City 63 years ago to see the World’s rarest stamp and after standing in line they gave me a print of the stamp as a souvenir” he had saved this memento for most of his life then gave it to me. It was of course the famed British Guiana One Cent. Many other great rarities exist today that have not been so promoted, it is a study into itself how these rarities are self-promoted to astronomical prices. All 150 year old classic stamps are very rare, as their survival ratio is limited.
Oddly enough there have been a few courtcases most recently was Sheikh Saud Al Thani of Qatar who was a great stamp and art collector, who died suddenly at the age of 48 in London shortly after he had bought most of John DuPont’s of Palm Beach, collection of early British Guiana, the auction house sued his estate to collect the $7 million dollars he owed them from buying stamps in their auction. Luckily the Sheikh also had collected rare watches and his best watch sold in Switzerland for $24 million which more than covered his philatelic debts. There is no import duty on philatelic items into the United States. The Laws and Taxes are relatively minor in collecting on an international basis.