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John du Pont’s remaining British Guiana stamps auctioned for $8.87 million

More John du Pont British Guiana postage stamps garner more than $8 million at auction
More John du Pont British Guiana postage stamps garner more than $8 million at auction
Photo of stamp courtesy of GlenStephens.com; photo of du Pont courtesy of InterMat

History nearly repeated itself, as June’s record-breaking, headline-making auction of a one-cent, 19th century postage stamp owned by the murderer of Olympic wrestler Dave Schultz was almost equaled in a follow-up auction of the late John du Pont’s remaining British Guiana postage stamp collection which garnered $8.87 million in an auction in Geneva, Switzerland June 27.

The previous auction for a single stamp from du Pont’s collection sold for a world record $9.48 million at a New York City auction June 17.

Although this second auction of postage stamps from the du Pont estate did not grab the mainstream media coverage of the earlier June 17 auction, it generated considerable buzz within the stamp collecting community. “Linn’s Stamp News” featured the follow-up auction on the front page of its July 21, 2014 issue, with a banner headline which described “off the charts results” for the auction.

“Every item from the award-winning collection sold, and each lot was bid well beyond its presale estimate,” the article continued. The $8.87 million realization (including 20% buyer’s premium) was five times the total pre-auction estimates.

“In 40 years as auctioneer, I have never had the experience where every single lot was bid to an astonishing multiple of the original estimate, leaving no lot unsold,” said David Feldman, who conducted the sale. Bidding was intense; it took 3 ½ hours to auction the 131 lots in the du Pont collection. Some items sold for more than 50 times their original estimate.

This auction of remaining British Guiana postage stamps were from the estate of du Pont, who died in prison in 2010 after being sentenced for the January 1996 murder of Schultz at du Pont’s Foxcatcher Farms wrestling training facility outside Philadelphia. The intersection of the lives of du Pont and wrestling brothers Dave and Mark Schultz is the subject of the much-anticipated film “Foxcatcher” from director Bennett Miller, starring Steve Carell as du Pont, Mark Ruffalo as Dave Schultz, and Channing Tatum as Dave’s younger brother Mark, along with a number of current and former amateur wrestlers. “Foxcatcher”, which earned Miller best director honors at its debut at the Cannes Film Festival in May, is slated for U.S. release to theaters November 14.