StampNews.com got to know that the National Postal Museum announced June 4 that renowned shoe designer and philanthropist Stuart Weitzman is the new owner of the 1856 British Guiana 1¢ Magenta. Weitzman paid almost $9.5 million for the famous stamp at an auction held in June 2014 in New York.
As a boy in Queens with a couple of stamp albums, Stuart Weitzman stared at the blank spaces for two of the world's most famous stamps ‒ spaces that he figured he would never fill. One was for an 1856 One-Cent Magenta from British Guiana, and there is only one One-Cent Magenta in all the world.
Mr. Weitzman, 73, pretty much gave up stamp collecting in his late teens and went on to achieve notoriety and wealth designing shoes ‒ strappy gladiator sandals, sultry thigh-high boots and dozens of others made from everything from cork to Lucite, even 24-karat gold.
But Mr. Weitzman never forgot about the One-Cent Magenta, and he fulfilled his boyhood dream last year when he bought the stamp anonymously at auction for $9.5 million.
His identity as the buyer was revealed on Thursday, the same day the stamp went on display at the National Postal Museum in Washington. Mr. Weitzman has lent the stamp to the museum for two and a half years.
So for nearly a year, the man behind the Nudist, a sandal with thin straps and pin heels, has owned a stamp that is barely big enough to cover a birthmark on a supermodel.
"It took me back to my childhood", Mr. Weitzman said in an interview. "It was sort of like going back to the house I grew up in".
He couldn't believe how small the house was, he said, "because I thought I grew up in this giant house ‒ when you're 6, you're 7, it's all you know, but of course it wasn't when I was 50 and I took my kids to see it".
"The stamp looked so tiny", he added.
Unlike the famous Inverted Jenny, the 1918 United States stamp that was mistakenly printed with an upside-down biplane known as a Jenny, the One-Cent Magenta is not just rare, it is unique. There are 100 Inverted Jennies. As Mr. Weitzman learned as a child, no other One-Cent Magentas are known to exist, and until it went on a tour arranged by Sotheby's before the sale last year, it had not been seen in public since the 1980s.
"It's a big deal, a big deal", said Allen R. Kane, the director of the postal museum. "Having something so rare and precious is fantastic because it will bring in more visitors and raise our brand image and all that. Equally important is credit to him for showing that object, which hasn't been seen in a long time".
Mr. Weitzman's stamp collecting was at its most intense when he was 11 or so. He broke his leg playing ball in the street and had to finish the school year at home. Sometimes he would send his mother to the post office to buy blocks of newly issued stamps.
"I started filling albums with things I could find ‒ once in a while, things you thought were worth a penny that were worth $50", he said. "I had an album, an American album but of world-famous international stamps, and there was a big hole on the top of the page for the British Guiana".