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Collecting Stamps: Stamp Rarities
SOMEWHERE BETWEEN THE YEARS 1840 and 1900 ordinary citizens of various countries all over the world went to post offices and purchased a stamp. For some reason it was not used, and so we have it today in mint condition.
By eliminating all errors of color or cliche, overprints, surcharges and provisionals of every description, there are just under a hundred major varieties, including papers and shades, throughout the world that list at $1,000 and over.
A single copy of each of these ninety-three stamps could have been purchased at the time of issue for approximately $200 (three of these stamps had a face value of 36 pounds or roughly $180) and the list value of the same stamps at current prices exceeds $300,000.
The rarest of them all, the 1-cent black on magenta, of British Guiana, was unknown until 1873. A youth by the name of Vaughan, living in the town of Demerara, found this greatest of all rarities, but, not liking its appearance, sold it to Neil McKinnon for 6 shillings. McKinnon, in turn, sold it to a friend in Scotland, who sold it to Thomas Ridpath of Liverpool for about 120 pounds.
Ridpath sold it, it is said, to Ferrari for 150 pounds, and when his outstanding collection was sold in Paris by order of the French Government, the price realized was 300,000 francs plus 17 percent for government tax, or a total of $32.500.
It has since been owned by Arthur Hind of Utica, N.Y., and was subsequently purchased from his widow and sold to a Mr. X by R. H. Macy's in New York.