14-06-23-2147NE05A sothebys stamp.jpg
The $7.9m (£4.85m) stamp sold by Sotheby’s.

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With buyer's premium and other taxes, the final bill for the buyer rose to $9.48m (£5.82m), although even this was less than the $10m-20m estimate.

Nonetheless, the hammer price on June 17 was 3.4 times the previous record, set in 1996 at David Feldman, Zurich, when the Swedish Treskilling Yellow sold for SFr2.88/then $2.3m.

Possibly the most valuable item ever sold at auction by weight, the one-cent magenta, shown here actual size, measures 1¼in (3.2cm) in width and was rediscovered by a 12-year-old Scottish boy living in South America in 1873, and from there passed through some of the most important stamp collections ever assembled.

Prior to being marketed for Sotheby's sale, it had been out of public view since the 1986.