Gibbons ponders magenta’s future

On June 8, Britain’s Stanley Gibbons firm acquired the only known 1856 British Guiana “one-cent magenta” stamp for $8.3 million US (“Gibbons acquires one-cent magenta with plans to offer fractional shares,” CSN Vol. 46 #6).

Later that month, an email from Gibbons Chief Executive Officer Graham Shircore included a link to a survey with seven questions:

  • “The stamp has a long history of owners signing the back of it. Should we continue this tradition and sign the back of it?”
  • “What additional benefits of ownership would be most important to you?”
  • “Do you think that only those purchasing part of the stamp should be able to view it free of charge?”
  • “What most interests you about the chance to own part of the world’s most expensive stamp?”
  • “How important would it be to you that you’d be able to sell your stake in the stamp quickly?”
  • “Does the idea of building a collection of pieces of unique, valuable treasures interest you?”
  • “What is your view of the use of blockchain technology as part of the digital offering?”

Gibbons was still finalizing the stamp’s payment and shipment from the United States to England as of late June.

The firm also started commissioning its magenta-themed display – including a bespoke and “apparently bulletproof display case,” according to Shircore – at 399 Strand, Gibbons’ London headquarters.

“On arriving at Heathrow Airport, it will be met by an armoured truck and will go on display at Stanley Gibbons’ shop in London in a specially commissioned, zero-oxygen frame,” reads a July 15 report from the British Broadcasting Corp.

The stamp was previously displayed at the Smithsonian National Postal Museum in Washington, D.C., on loan from former owner Stuart Weitzman, a billionaire shoe magnate.

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