It is considered the ‘Mona Lisa’ of the stamp world – and yesterday the British Guiana One Cent Magenta sold for a record-breaking £5.6 million at a New York auction by Sotheby’s – making it the world’s most valuable object by weight and size.
For collectors, the value of the One Cent Magenta lies in both its uniqueness and its history. Printed by the Postmaster General of British Guiana after a shipment of stamps from the UK failed to arrive, the quality was so poor that each stamp was hand signed in order to prevent forgeries. Of the one cent stamps printed, only one survives, bearing the initials of postal clerk Edmund Dalziel Wight.
For author Sharon Maas there is a personal connection to the world’s most famous stamp—Edmund Wight was her great-great Grandfather. His role in its genesis inspired her to write a novel, which we’re delighted to announce that we have signed, as part of a two-book deal. Sharon explains:
“Growing up, the story of the innocent signing of a stamp that would go on to earn a fortune always fuelled my imagination. What if another one of those stamps survived within the family, I asked myself; what if it turned up in one of those drawers I used to burrow through as a child? Those ‘what ifs’ never left me and, after the publication of my first three novels, it became the inspiration for a story in which just such a stamp turns up – a family heirloom worth millions. The Small Fortune of Dorothea Q is the result”.
￼Set both in London and Sharon’s native Guyana, we will be publishing The Small Fortune of Dorothea Q this October. It’s a story packed full of family secrets, greed and heart-break – as well as a very valuable stamp.
Sharon’s great-great Grandfather might not have left her a stamp, but he did give her a story – and we can’t wait to share it with you.