product description page

One-cent Magenta : Inside the Quest to Own the Most Valuable Stamp in the World - by James Barron

$16.28
MSRPReg: $23.95 Save $7.67 (32% off)
shipping to 10001 only 10 left
get it by Thu, Apr 26 with standard shipping.
free order pickup not available
not sold at Atlanta Edgewood

about this item

An inside look at the obsessive, secretive, and often bizarre world of high-profile stamp collecting, told through the journey of the world’s most sought-after stamp.
 
When it was issued in 1856, it cost a penny. In 2014, this tiny square of faded red paper sold at Sotheby’s for nearly $9.5 million, the largest amount ever paid for a postage stamp at auction. Through the stories of the eccentric characters who have bought, owned, and sold the one-cent magenta in the years in between, James Barron delivers a fascinating tale of global history and immense wealth, and of the human desire to collect.
 
One-cent magentas were provisional stamps, printed quickly in what was then British Guiana when a shipment of official stamps from London did not arrive. They were intended for periodicals, and most were thrown out with the newspapers. But one stamp survived. The singular one-cent magenta has had only nine owners since a twelve-year-old boy discovered it in 1873 as he sorted through papers in his uncle’s house. He soon sold it for what would be $17 today. (That’s been called the worst stamp deal in history.) Among later owners was a fabulously wealthy Frenchman who hid the stamp from almost everyone (even King George V of England couldn’t get a peek); a businessman who traveled with the stamp in a briefcase he handcuffed to his wrist; and John E. du Pont, an heir to the chemical fortune, who died while serving a thirty-year sentence for the murder of Olympic wrestler Dave Schultz.
 
Recommended for fans of Nicholas A. Basbanes, Susan Orlean, and Simon Winchester, The One-Cent Magenta explores the intersection of obsessive pursuits and great affluence and asks why we want most what is most rare.
 

more to consider

  • American Philosophy : A Love Story -  Reprint by John Kaag (Paperback)

    $10.87

  • October Sky : A Memoir (Paperback) (Homer H. Hickam)

    $7.19

  • Elon Musk : Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future (Reprint) (Paperback) (Ashlee Vance)

    $11.55

  • Can't Stand Up for Falling Down (Paperback) (Allan Jones)

    $13.39

  • Elon Musk : Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future (Hardcover) (Ashlee Vance)

    $16.69

recommended

  • Aveeno® Ultra-Calming® Daily Moisturizer For Sensitive Skin With Broad Spectrum SPF 15 - 4 fl oz

    $13.79

  • Vasilus Bonded Leather 29.5" Barstool Set 2ct - Christopher Knight Home

    $269.59 - $336.79

  • PAW Patrol Adventure Bay Railway Track Set

    $22.49

  • Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate Melting Wafers - 10oz

    $4.19

  • A-Z of Wool Embroidery (Paperback)

    $13.56


from the manufacturer


guest reviews

Prices, promotions, styles and availability may vary by store & online. See our price match guarantee. See how a store is chosen for you.