UK diaspora wants Guyanese to reconnect with world’s rarest stamp

The Guyanese diaspora in the United Kingdom (UK) was reconnected with the rarest stamp in the world – The Guiana One Cent Magenta.
The event saw an eclectic mix of the UK diaspora and friends of Guyana gathered at the Stanley Gibbons Centre in London for the exhibition. It was a private reception hosted by Sally Gibson, a Guyanese born UK-based lawyer, to display The Guiana One Cent Magenta.

President Irfaan Ali with the rarest stamp in the world at a private viewing last week

The stamp was purchased by British stamp dealer, Stanley Gibbons, for G$1.7 billion a few months ago and is the rarest Stamp in the world hence it is dubbed the “Mona Lisa of Stamp World”.
Attending the exhibition were notable persons from public life, business, artists, authors, sports and community leaders.
A former High Commissioner to Guyana and a representative of the former High Commissioner to the UK were also in attendance.
The indomitable John Agard, world renowned Guyanese poet, also invoked the spirit of Guyana and the love for the homeland in a reading he gave of a poem dedicated to his mother.

The Guiana One Cent Magenta on display in London

President Dr Irfaan Ali last week was hosted for a private viewing of the stamp. The Guyanese Head of State is currently in Glasgow, Scotland, for the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26).
Special arrangements were made for the One Cent Magenta to be removed from its display cabinet and President Ali was able to handle it at close quarters. He was also able to share the history of the stamp’s printing press which remains intact and on display at a Museum in Georgetown.
Speaking of her inspiration to organise these events, Gibson expressed her desire to reconnect Guyana and the diaspora with the stamp, given that it is so deeply engrained in the collective Guyanese psyche.
She was pleased that so many connections, old and new, had been made because of the stamp.
The great-great-great-granddaughter and great-great-great-grandson of Edmond D Wight, the Postmaster’s Clerk whose famous initials “EDW” appears on the One Cent Magenta, were also invited.
Though they had never before met, they were uniquely brought together by the evening’s viewing.
Gibson was also delighted that the President’s visit made a modern Guyanese connection with the stamp’s new home. In passing, it was also noted that Ali and Gibson were connected through a common family ancestry.
The Guiana One Cent Magenta stamp, which is said to be the most valuable manmade item in the world, is the only survivor of a small batch printed in the then British Guiana back in the mid-1850s. It went into circulation in 1856, when a shipment of stamps was delayed from London and the colony’s Postmaster asked printers to make three types of temporary stamp until the shipment arrived.
Following Gibbons’ purchase of the stamp at an auction in June 2021, it returned to Britain for the first time in some 143 years after having over a dozen owners. (G8)