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$US9 million stamps to Charity
"Lady Louis" fetches $US747,500 On-line auctions are here The $4 Million Stamp Swap "Here - take this $9 million!" The entire hammer price of the GB collection went as an unrestricted
gift to Doctors Without Borders. "Better Than The Stock Market" Penny
Black Block gets $US1,150,000
"6d KEVII sold for $US402,500" Tip Of The Year Worth 3 Times Today's Level? Buy £1 Thin paper NOW! Genuine USED copies rare
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San Francisco billionaire Bill Gross auctioned off his early Great Britain Stamps.
The stamps were invoiced to buyers at $US10,506,400. The auction had been anticipated to raise "only" $US4 million.
Gross and his wife Sue attended the sale, and were delighted with the result - they then presented their entire proceeds from the sale to a charity after the auction!
The deluxe colour prices realised brochure boasts this was: "the largest grossing single stamp auction even conducted in the USA. It bested such benchmark sales as the famous Ishikawa USA in 1993, and the Robert Zoellner USA collection sold in 1998."
The auction was
conducted by Shreves Auction Galleries in Manhattan. This Suite was
where I flew late February along with Arthur Gray and several other
The Gray "Kangaroos" sold in that sale for $A7,158,974.00, and the results and highlights have been widely reported by me previously.
I wrote at that time the super professional Shreves operation would be hard to bypass for future top-end vendors, and this sale proves that prediction was true!
That $US3.1 million total represented 13 different bidders buying 107 of the 226 different lots. The firm’s web site says, "This hurdles past any other known record 10 - fold. Four lots each sold online for more than $100,000, each breaking records for the highest price paid via the Internet for a philatelic item."
The GB collection
owner Bill Gross has a personal fortune of $US1.2 billion according to
Forbes magazine. His most famous stamp possession is the USA 1868 1¢
"Z Grill", the only copy in private hands, and is part of his complete
collection of 19th century USA stamps.
When in Washington last June I was fortunate to view both of the two known "Z Grill" stamps when I flew over for the huge "Stamp Expo 2006". As well as gazing at the block of 4 "24¢ Inverted Jenny's" Bill Gross swapped for his "Z Grill."
I wrote a detailed story here in late 2005 outlining how Gross bid $US2.97 million at auction on October 19 for a block of USA stamps he did not need and did not want. (He owns 3 similar blocks 4!) At that time this was almost exactly $A4 million.
He has won top international awards each time he exhibits his collection. His bond firm manages investment assets of fixed-income securities worth over $US700 BILLION!
Gross is Founder and Chief Investment Officer of Pacific Investment Management Company (PIMCO) of Newport Beach, California.
Clearly 63 year old Bill Gross is a very wealthy man, and in the fine tradition of American philanthropy, he donated the entire results of the sale of his GB stamp collection to charity on the day it was sold.
This donation is the largest ever received by Doctors Without Borders, better known internationally as Médecins Sans Frontières.
Founded in 1971, this is an independent medical organization that delivers emergency and humanitarian aid in more than 70 countries.
Dr. Darin Portnoy, President of the United States division of Doctors Without Borders attended the auction.
"It gives us a chance to be reactive in many places, and to respond to emergencies'' he said. He said priorities were in areas like Jordan and the Kurdish area of northern Iraq, where war refugees with drastic injuries needed urgent and extensive surgery.
Also in Chad and Sudan, where many refugees from fighting in Darfur and related conflicts are suffering from serious malnutrition.
The photo nearby shows Bill and Sue Gross (on left) handing over a symbolic cheque for the hammer price of $US9,136,000 to a delighted Dr. Portnoy. (All buyers were charged a 15% Buyer Premium by Shreves on top of their purchases.) Charles Shreve is standing in the background.
Gross, who was at the Shreves Philatelic Galleries in midtown Manhattan for the afternoon sale, said that he purchased the stamps for about $US2.5 million - mostly since 2000.
He decided to sell them to aid the charity, and to gauge the market for stamps, in which he's one of the most prominent USA collectors.
Coming from the founder of one of the world's largest Bond Funds managing over $US700 BILLION in assets, that is praise indeed for the stamp market!
As Gross purchased the GB stamps for about $2.5 million they sold for well over 4 times what he paid in recent years.
Some of the material sold for about 10 times what Gross had paid less than a decade before. One such example was the "Lady Louis" cover shown nearby bought at a Spink auction in 1998 as part of the Louis Grunin Mulready envelope collection.
Charles Shreve, the auctioneer, said many of the prices set records for the individual stamp issues. Shreve said the figure for the "Lady Louis"
Mulready Envelope was "beyond belief'' - confirming it fetched around 10 times what Gross paid for it.
The Mulready cover to Malta was invoiced for $US747,500 on an estimate of just $75,000-$100,000. Two of the stamps were repaired and the cover was a little toned, but it has enormous "eye appeal" in my view.
The top selling lot
money wise was an 1840 Penny "Block" of 24, that had long ago been
separated into a block of 18 and a strip of 6.
In an unusual arrangement, Shreves first auctioned each lot, realising $US425,000 hammer price for the larger block and $US45,000 for the strip.
The re-united block of 24 was then offered to see if the bids for that would exceed the total just offered for the two unjoined multiples!
This joint offer reached $US1 million from an un-named bidder in the
room, thus voiding the first sales. With the 15% buyer commission
added, this block of 24 shown nearby cost that buyer $US1,150,000.
It was not a large offering - only 226 lots, but the Deluxe hardbound 2 volume catalogue set is a "must have" for anyone that collects GB - or just wants a piece of stamp history! I have a couple of sets still left, or Shreves I am sure can still sell you a set.
The sale covered not only Queen Victoria, but nicer KEVII and even KGV issues.
The unique in private hands Edward VII 1904 6d violet overprinted "I.R. OFFICIAL" - Stanley Gibbons 023, sold for $US402,500. I imagine that must be a clear world record price for any 20th Century stamp - from anywhere?
Larger than life figures like Bill Gross are good for the hobby. When I
was flying over for the Washington 2006 show, via San Francisco there
was a full page on Gross and his collection in the "San Francisco
Chronicle" broadsheet newspaper that day.
That is LOT of publicity for stamps, in a massive state. Gross won the Grand Prix National Award in Washington 2006 for his USA.
"Bill Gross is the consummate stamp collector and an ambassador for the hobby," said Cheryl R. Ganz, Ph.D., Curator of Philately at the Smithsonian National Postal Museum in Washington D.C.
"By selecting exquisite examples of outstanding rarities, he has formed collections of legendary status. His exhibits have attracted huge crowds whenever they are displayed," Dr. Ganz concluded.
In closing I like Bill Gross's own summation of stamp collecting - as seen by him.
"It is a process of bringing order from disorder" Gross said of his collecting. "It is a common human interest. It is just like wanting to clean your house. It is in our genes."
Gross has recently stated this sale does not mean he is getting out of stamps - quite the opposite. He will continue: "collecting, buying, selling, swapping and exhibiting stamps as this is truly a life-long hobby for him", according to close friend and auctioneer Charles Shreve.
Good to hear ..... I'll bet my house this is not the LAST time Bill Gross makes headlines in the stamp press!
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$US9 million stamps to Charity
"Lady Louis" fetches $US747,500
On-line auctions are here
The $4 Million Stamp Swap
"Here - take this $9 million!"
The entire hammer price of the GB collection went as an unrestricted
gift to Doctors Without Borders.
"Better Than The Stock Market"
Penny Black Block gets $US1,150,000
"6d KEVII sold for $US402,500"
Tip Of The Year
Worth 3 Times Today's Level?
Buy £1 Thin paper NOW!
Genuine USED copies rare
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