Notes from the Past

British Guiana 1¢ Loan

The philatelic press has recently reported the results of a request for expertising a British Guiana 1¢ owned by Peter Winter similar to the historic copy owned by John E. du Pont.  It was rejected as having been manufactured from a 4¢ of similar design.  It had been rejected previously in 1989.  Among the stories that make up the legend of this stamp is the following one concerning an occurrence during the time the stamp was in the hands of the widow of Arthur Hind who had bought the stamp at a Ferrary dispersal auction.  The story is included This is Philately Volume 1 A-F by Kenneth A. Wood (Van Dahl Publications 1982).
Ernest A. Kehr (Romance of Stamp Collecting, Crowell, New York, 1947) tells the fascinating story of his attempt to obtain the [British Guiana 1¢] stamp on loan from Mrs. Scala, the remarried widow of Hind, for display at the 1940 stamp exhibition being held in the British Pavilion of the New York World's Fair.  The event was being held to replace the planned Penny Black Centennial show scheduled for London but pre-empted by World War II.

Mrs. Scala agreed to loan the stamp and, with much publicity, handed it over to Kehr.  However, a $50,000 insurance policy on the stamp while it was on loan was part of the deal, and when Mrs. Scala was asked to seal the stamp in its container and affix her signature as a guarantee that the stamp was the one loaned and not one of the many facsimiles that Hind had caused to be made, she refused, withdrew the stamp and disappeared!

Later, she offered the stamp again, but at a four-figure rental, which Kehr reports was declined.  So the stamp was never displayed on the birthday of its older brother, the Penny Black.

Posted June 27, 2000

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