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A Childhood Dream Fulfilled

June 11, 2021

Stuart Weitzman (the iconic shoe designer) started collecting stamps and coins in his childhood; as a young boy, he had a dream to one day own the rarest of the rare and saved a blank space in his books for them. He successfully fulfilled his dream when he acquired three extraordinary treasures, the 1933 Double Eagle gold coin, the British Guiana One-Cent Black on Magenta stamp, and the Inverted Jenny Plate Block. Each of them a star in their own right, but to see them all come up at auction in one sale was galactic.

United States Double Eagle twenty dollar gold coin minted in 1933Weitzman purchased the 1933 Double Eagle 20-dollar gold coin in 2002 for a record price of $7.59M. Over 445,000 coins were minted but never circulated, and all but two were ordered to be melted down. However, during the melting process 20 of the coins were stolen, and ‘somehow’ they made their way into collectors’ hands. Over the years, 19 were recovered. Weitzman’s example (which has a long story as to why it could legally be sold) is the only one remaining in a private collection. This time around, the coin was expected to make $10–15M and easily rolled past the estimate selling for $18.9M (w/p). The new owner of the coin requested to stay anonymous.

Magenta postage stamp from British Guiana in 1856

The British Guiana One-Cent stamp is the world’s most unique and valuable stamp and is the only copy to have survived since 1856. This lot also carried a $10-15M estimate but unfortunately fell slightly short of the goal. The London stamp Dealer, Stanley Gibbons, bought the stamp for $8.3M, $1.2M less than Weitzman paid for it in 2014.

a plate block of the misprinted inverted jenny stampAnd Weitzman’s last treasure is the infamous Inverted Jenny Plate Block which he purchased in 2014. The Inverted Jenny is considered the most valuable stamp printed in the United States. It was estimated to bring $5-7M and fell short of expectations but did make a respectable $4.9M (w/p), surpassing the price Weitzman paid by $2M. The new owner is David Rubenstein, co-founder of the Carlyle Group.

All the proceeds from these rare treasures will benefit charitable organizations, including the Weitzman Family Foundation (supporting medical research and higher learning) and a new museum in Madrid devoted to Spanish-Judeo history.