What Is the Rarest Stamp in the World?


The British Guiana one-cent magenta stamp is the rarest stamp in the world, according to ABC News. It is the only surviving stamp of the 1856 one-cent stamp issuance. The stamp was produced in Georgetown, British Guiana. The stamp has an auction value of anywhere from $10 million to $20 million.

The Guardian notes that the stamp was lost until a 12-year-old Scottish boy named Vernon Vaughan found the stamp in British Guiana in 1873. The boy sold the stamp to Count Philippe la Renotière von Ferrary who was one of the richest men in Europe at the time and an avid stamp collector.

Since then, the stamp has been passed from collector to collector. One of the more recent owners was John E. Du Pont, an heir to the Du Pont fortune. According to The Guardian, DuPont paid $1 million for the stamp in 1980.

The red stamp has a picture of a sailing ship and a Latin motto saying "Damus Petimus Que Vicissim," which means "We give and expect in return." The stamp was printed on magenta paper and has an octagonal shape. There is an initial on the stamp by E.D. Wright, a clerk at the time. The initial was a way of safeguarding against forgeries. ABC News states that all previous owners added their initials to the back of the stamp. The original purpose of the stamp was for use on local newspapers. E.T.E. Dalton was a postmaster who authorized issuance of the stamp. Printers William Dallas and Joseph Baum of the Official Gazette newspaper designed the stamp.