British Guiana 1856 4c black/magenta, SG24, type 6 typeset provisional, with 'E.T.E.D.' initials of E.T.E. Dalton, cut square with good even margins and excellent colour and impression, lightly cancelled by large part DEMERARA circular date stamp, dated 'AU 1 1856'.
Minor thin spots but a very attractive example of this popular classic rarity, particularly desirable with these initials, which have been recorded only on stamps used 1-5 July and 1 August.
The 1c magenta is, of course, known as the world's most famous stamp, with only one example known to exist, which last realised $9.5m at auction in 2014.
The 1c magenta was part of a series of three definitive stamps issued in 1856. The other two stamps were the 4c magenta and 4c blue. The issue only came about because the delivery of stamps by ship from Great Britain brought only 5,000 stamps instead of the expected 50,000. As a result, the local postmaster E.T.E. Dalton authorised printers Joseph Baum and William Dallas, to print an emergency issue of three stamps.
Despite Dalton providing some specifications about the design, the printer chose to add a ship image to their own design. Dalton was displeased with the end result and as a safeguard against forgery ordered that all correspondence bearing the stamps must be signed by a post office clerk. This particular 4c magenta example was signed by the postmaster himself, E.T.E. Dalton and is considered a great rarity of the world as such.
Ex Spink 12 Apr 2007, lot 530.
Accompanied with a British Philatelic Association certificate of authenticity (2008).
The Stanley Gibbons catalogue value is £25,000+.
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