Philatelists call on VSC6000 to examine ‘unique’ One-Cent Magenta stamp

One Cent Magenta is examined


One of the world’s rarest postage stamps has been examined using a VSC6000 at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Post Museum before going to auction at Sothebys Manhattan where it is expected to sell for up to $20 million USD.


First discovered in 1873 by a 12-year-old schoolboy as he sorted through a pile of his uncles letters, the One-Cent Magenta is the only survivng example of a short run of postage stamps originally issued in British Guiana more than 150 years ago.

Using a Foster + Freeman VSC6000, expert philatelist Tom Lera subjected the One-Cent Magenta to a series of examinations using UV-IR multispectral illumination, microspectrometery, and high magnification to better visualise the stamps appearance and unique markings.

Viewed through an IR filter, the original print and subsequent postage mark were clearly visible displaying the stamp’s country of issue and value in small black lettering, the latin text ‘Damus Petimus Que Vicissim’ (We give and expect in return), and centrally positioned, a clearly delineated image of a schooner.

VSC forensic document examination workstations are often utilised by philatelists seeking to reveal hidden information about their highly prized collections.

In 2013 the Royal Philatelic Society of London purchased a VSC6000/HS to carry out detailed examinations of its own collections and to provide a guaranteed authentication service to other collectors.


UPDATE June 18 2014

The Manhattan branch of Sotheby's was standing room only as the One-Cent Magenta came up for auction. Dubbed the Mona Lisa of the stamp world, the one of a kind stamp once again became the worlds most expensive postage stamp when it was purchased by a anonymous telephone bidder for $9.5 million (£5.6 million).

At just 2.5cm x 2.5cm and weighing next to nothing, the One-Cent Magenta also has the honour of being the worlds most valuable object by weight and size.