Ahead of a film about his life starring Steve Carell, the John E du Pont Collection of Falkland Islands stamps will be offered at a special March 7, 2013 auction in London.
Du Pont is renowned throughout the philatelic world as the man who bought perhaps the most famous stamp in existence, the British Guiana 1c magenta. A unique example discovered by a 12 year old Scottish schoolboy in 1873, du Pont purchased the stamp for $935,000 in 1980 - it has yet to surface from his collection.
The eccentric multimillionaire - heir to the du Pont family fortune - was also a convicted murderer, after killing his friend and Olympic wrestling champion, Dave Schultz, in 1996. He was ruled mentally ill during his trial in 1997 and spent the rest of his life in prison, where he died in 2010 aged 72.
His remarkable life is due to be portrayed in a 2013 film entitled Foxcatcher, named after his father, William du Pont Jr's famed horseracing stables.
Highlighting du Pont's extraordinary collection of Falkland Islands stamps is the famous 1d dull claret imperforate vertically horizontal pair, which is one of only two known examples. The pair has been taken from the right of the sheet and displays a wide sheet margin.
Once part of a block of four from the Hind and Dibble collections, this variety is considered the rarest and most important in Falkland Island's philately. The pair is expected to sell for £40,000-50,000 ($65,144-81,426), with just slightly clipped perforations marring its otherwise excellent condition.
Sharing the £40,000-50,000 estimate is a mint block of 30 1928 2½d on 2d provisional surcharge stamps. Housed within the 30-stamp block is the extremely rare surcharge double, which is one of only two known to exist.
The issue followed a shortage of ½d and 2½d stamps on the island of South Georgia, when authorities granted permission for 2d stamps to be locally surcharged with the 2½d value.
One of the most exciting lots featured in the sale will be an official government notice announcing the 1891 surcharged bisects, which has been signed by acting postmaster Frederick Sanguinetti.
Bearing two cancelled pairs of the resulting ½d on 1d stamps, the piece comes with impeccable provenance and was part illustrated in Malcolm Barton's 2002 book, The Falkland Islands: The 1891 Provisionals.
More of du Pont's collection will be featured at the auction house's March 6 sale, with his selection of postage dues and Papuan stamps from the British Empire set to appear. Starring among du Pont's offerings in this auction will be a superb block of four 1907 small Papua overprint 1 shilling stamps.
The overprint error affected only 24 stamps in a single sheet of 30, with all but five cancelled. Just three of the stamps in the block at auction have been cancelled by a Port Moresby circular date stamp, warranting an estimate of £30,000-40,000 ($48,854-$65,144).
Paul Fraser Collectibles also has a remarkable collection of rare stamps for sale, including the beautiful Black Empress, the renowned Tyrian Plum and the greatest treasure in Hong Kong philately, the unique 96c olive-bistre block of four.