£6.2m stamp dubbed ‘the Mona Lisa of stamps’ coming back to London

A 19th century stamp from Guyana worth GBP6.2 million is set to return to the UK after 143 years. The stamp, known as the British Guiana 1c Magenta was purchased by rare stamp dealer Stanley Gibbons making it one of the most expensive stamps in the world. According to the dealer, the stamp which is the only survivor of a small batch printed on the former British colony, British Guiana, is gram for gram the most valuable man made item in the world and has been described as the “Mona Lisa of the stamp world.”

It first went into circulation in 1856 when a postmaster in Guyana requested stamps to be printed amidst a delayed shipment from London. :How Southall’s women made molotov cocktails out of milk bottles to drive out the skinheads

The stamp was bought at an auction earlier this year

Once they arrived, however, they were ordered to be taken out of circulation. Only one of the stamps survived till today.

When the stamp arrives in Heathrow airport later this year it will be transported by an armoured truck to be displayed in the Stanley Gibbons’ shop in Strand where it will be held in zero oxygen frame. Graham Shircore, chief executive of Stanley Gibbons said: “It’s truly one of a kind, and we’re delighted to be welcoming it back on to British soil where we hope it will remain.”

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£6.2m stamp dubbed 'the Mona Lisa of stamps' coming back to London

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He added: “This isn’t just for wealthy collectors. We are developing a pricing model that will allow anyone to join the club.” The dealer hopes to make the stamp available to collectors through a shared-ownership scheme.

The stamp could be owned for as little as GBP20.

The stamp has been on display at the Smithsonian National Stamp Museum in Washington DC, on loan from its former owner, the US shoe designer Stuart Weitzman.