Review of 'The World's Most Expensive Stamp'

Ever since my grandmother got me interested in collecting I have collected stamps (see Stamp Collecting (Philately)) so I read with great interest the purchase of the world's most expensive (and rare) stamp, “The British Guiana ONE CENT black on magenta”, by Stanley Gibbons. Of more interest was that they would offer the public the ability to buy pieces of the stamp as a “part ownership” scheme as well as put the stamp on display. This is a very strong statement from the company of their desire to purchase the stamp for the philatelic community as a whole.

Exhibit Entrance

Of course, I had to go and see the stamp which is on display in Stanley Gibbon's shop on the Strand in London. When we arrived we were directed to the front of the first floor where the stamp was on display. A small black-curtained dark room room contains the stamp which is, as you might expect, sealed in a security container but visible from both sides.

Display Case

The exhibit room also has several shelves of older historical material held by Stanley Gibbons but, of course, the primary interest is the tiny piece of paper on display. We were the only people in the exhibit at the time of our visit but we were told it has been quite busy and this was the quietest it had been.

Front of the Stamp

It is very hard to make out any detail particularly in the dim light of the room (and bright light surrounding the stamp but not on it) and even when I attempted to use my phone's camera to zoom in. Photography is allowed but no flash.


The reverse of the stamp is easiest to make out with the notorious “stiletto” autograph from the last owner, a shoe magnet from the United States. Controversially, each previous owner has signed the back of the stamp but most have been fairly modesty pieces of graffiti but the stiletto has taken it to extremes. Interestingly, Stanley Gibbons did indicate they would be signing the back at some point.

Information Area

Outside the exhibit room there is a small display of three panels with a potted history as well as a huge reproduction of the back of the stamp on the wall which you can sign with the supplied markers, much like previous owners have done on the real thing. There is also a small display of other similar stamps offered by Stanley Gibbons.

On the ground floor there is a small selection of souvenirs, including a book of the history of the stamp (£15), a reproduction of the stamp (£10) and keyrings.

In summary, a small, very understated, though free, exhibit but well worth visiting for the incredible novelty of the stamp. The exhibit itself was a bit underwhelming with a distinct lack of any significant amount of background material but it is ok.

It is unclear how long it will be on display (currently Monday, Wednesday, Friday and some Saturdays) but it is hoped it will remain available to the public to see indefinitely.

Rating: “Really good but I have some issues”

Review Date: 2021-11-19

Stanley Gibbons

Location: London (England)

Address: 399 Strand, London, WC2R 0LX ENGLAND

Public Transport: TUBE Covent Garden TUBE Embankment TUBE Temple

Telephone: +44 (0)20 7557 4436


The pre-eminent authority on stamp collecting with their yearly stamp catalogue being the foremost authority in stamps. This shop offers valuation services as well as sales and exhibits of various items of interest to collectors. The basement is generally where you can purchase stamp collecting supplies such as albums. The first floor is generally for private consultations and the home of “Baldwins Coin Room”.