Launch of Commemorative Stamp: 50th Anniversary of Bilateral Relations between Guyana and Brazil

MINISTRY OF PUBLIC TELECOMMUNICATIONS

Launch of Commemorative Stamp
50th Anniversary of Bilateral Relations between Guyana and Brazil

Friday, October 19, 2018

MINISTER’s REMARKS

SALUTATIONS:

  • Vice President and Colleague Minister, Hon. Carl Greenidge
  • Mr. Chairman, Ambassador Ronald Austin
  • Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of Brazil, Hon. Paulo Silos
  • Director General of Foreign Affairs, Ms. Audrey Waddell
  • Postmaster General, Ms. Karen Brown
  • Officers and officials
  • Friends and colleagues …

Today’s official launch of the commemorative stamp is one more symbol of the good, strong, neighbourly relations between the Federative Republic of Brazil and the Co-operative Republic of Guyana. This is a relationship that our two countries have enjoyed formally for half a century.

Today we officially launch a stamp that commemorates the 50th anniversary of our bilateral relations. A Commemorative Stamp is a postage stamp which is issued on a significant date to honour a place, event, person or subject. These stamps are usually printed in limited quantities and sold for short periods.

Well known author and social commentator Denis Altman, describes postage stamps as paper ambassadors. Harold Ickes, former. US Secretary of the Interior also said, “I conceive of a stamp being a fragment of History, a word in the annals of human experience, a picture of an ideal fresh from the heart. The design impressed upon it signifies what a nation may be at the moment”.

In the context of Guyana, we generally issue Commemorative Stamps on the occasions of long milestones such as 50th anniversaries, and on the succession of 10 years thereafter, of events and subjects of History, Culture, Heritage, Nationhood and national/international credence.

This commemorative stamp that is being commissioned today is the third one that we have produced in recent years to honour the good relations we have with our neighbor, Brazil. The first one was printed in 2003 to commemorate 35 years of solid Bilateral Relations between Guyana and Brazil. In 2009, we produced a limited-edition stamp to commemorate the official commissioning of the Takatu Bridge which links Guyana with Brazil, and was built with valuable assistance from that Government.

This year, to celebrate the 50th Anniversary, we have produced a limited edition stamp valued at GYD200 and GYD80. The First Day Covers are also available to stamp collectors.

You may (or may not) know that Brazil played a role in a story surrounding another stamp from British Guiana that is today valued at around US$9.8 Million. This old stamp is still being bought and sold by millionaire stamp collectors from around the world, and by the best international auctioneers.

Many years ago I heard the story about this stamp – our stamp – called the MAGENTA that was printed when Guyana was a colony of Great Britain. It was a one-cent issue that was printed right here at the national printery as part of a quick ‘emergency run’ because the supply of ‘real’ stamps from England was running low.

It is a tiny little stamp shaped like an Octagon with black, one-dimensional markings on Magenta-coloured stock. Today, that British Guiana One-Cent Magenta Stamp is the most valuable stamp in the whole World. The top Auction Houses in the USA and England, including Sotheby’s, have ranked the Magenta stamp, printed in 1856, as the rarest and most valuable postage stamp in the whole wide world. In 2014, Sotheby’s sold it for a cool US$9.8 Million!

Well, I was also curious about how this came about and this is what I learnt. This stamp was what we’d call a ‘hurry-up’ print job. Not many were printed, and it was forgotten when the shipment of ‘real’ stamps arrived here on the passenger ship from London that same year.

Fast forward to 1973 … a 12-year-old Scottish boy living in Brazil (it is believed), found it in an attic quite by accident. From his hands the stamp passed through some of the most important stamp collections ever assembled in the world. It disappeared into a private collection in 1986 and re-emerged in 2014 at Sotheby’s philatelic exhibitions in Hong Kong, London and New York. After those exhibitions, Sotheby’s Auction House sold it for $9.8 Million US Dollars.

That is quite a story but it is true. Right now the current owner of the Magenta is probably looking on to see what else Guyana has created that is worth his time and money. He may even be interested in what we’re unveiling today. We hope he’s paying attention.

With this stamp, we are placing our good relations with our neighbor, Brazil into the annals of history.

I Thank you.

Catherine Hughes