Stamp Owned By Murderer John Du Pont Could Go For $20M

The British Guiana could fetch up to $20 million at a Sotheby's auction Tuesday. The 1856 stamp has a rich history, and its last owner was a murderer.
Posted at 11:09 AM, Jun 17, 2014

Predictions are a rare stamp could fetch up to $20 million at auction. Al Jazeera calls it the holy grail of the stamp-collecting world. 

"The British Guiana One-Cent Magenta. ... At the start of the first World War, it ended up in Switzerland. ... After the war, it was seized by France. ... Sixty years later, U.S. heir John du Pont paid nearly $1 million."

"It tells a fantastic story — the story of being found by a 12-year-old schoolboy in 1873 ... and then going through the most famous collections of stamps in the world." (Via Sotheby's)

And in 1997, millionaire John du Pont was sentenced to 30 years in prison for the murder of Olympic wrestler Dave Schultz. Biography reports du Pont died behind bars in 2010.

His story is chronicled in a new movie starring Steve Carell and Channing Tatum, set to hit theaters this fall. But back to the stamp. (Via Sony Pictures Classics / "Foxcatcher")

"It is, for its size and weight, the most valuable item in the world." (Via ABC)

The Washington Times reports the most expensive stamp ever before this sold for $5 million — seemingly small against the $20 million the 158-year-old Magenta is expected to go for.

"Two possible bidders, the auctioneer said, are Bill Gross and Donald Sundman. ... Mr. Gross ... and Mr. Sundman ... are well-known philatelists who received worldwide attention when they traded two of America's most valuable stamps."

Daily Mail says the stamp only cost a penny when first issued. Du Pont's will says 80 percent of the proceeds from the sale should go to the family of a friend and the remaining go to Eurasian Pacific Wildlife Foundation, which he founded.

Reports also say it's the only stamp missing from the British royal family's private collection.