When powerhouse stamp dealing firm Stanley Gibbons
made an $8.3 million bid on the One Cent Black on Magenta stamp in 2021, they did so with a radical idea in mind. The most valuable stamp in the world, at various times sought by kings and owned by wealthy financiers, would be offered to the people through an emerging trend in the digital age: fractional ownership. Right now on Showpiece.com, anyone can purchase an ownership share in this famed stamp and become a part of its history. We sat down with Victoria Lajer, the managing director of philately for Stanley Gibbons, to get the scoop.
When did Stanley Gibbons decide to democratize ownership in the stamp?
It came in a funny sequent of events. We had looked at digital ownership separately a few months previous and then after that we suggested splitting ownership between a few different people. Then very quickly it turned to marrying the two ideas. In the end, it was only two or three weeks before the sale, it happened quite organically. And then we spent the rest of the time thinking about why we shouldn’t do it, and we couldn’t come up with anything. There were too many other good things about it.
Can you describe the first time you ever heard of the One Cent Black
No, not really. My father dealt in stamps so I probably heard about it at some point when I was young but I don’t recall an exact time. I joined Stanley Gibbons in 2014 right when the du Pont sale occurred. It’s a big stamp and we’re a stamp company, there was lots of chatter, I remember that day well. When it came up for sale again in 2021, I remember the night before the sale when we
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