A gold coin and five stamps of the famous New York philatelist and numismatist Stuart Weitzman went under the hammer at a Sotheby's auction for more than $32 million, according to the auction house website.
Tuesday's special auction at Sotheby's featured three lots from Weitzman's personal collection: a 1933 Double Eagle gold coin, a set of four 1918 U.S. Postal Service "Upside Down Jenny" stamps with a unique misprint and a mid-19th century stamp issued in what is now Guyana. A coin with an original denomination of $20 went under the hammer for $18.87 million, a set of 'Upside Down Jenny', whose original denomination was 24 cents, sold for $4.86 million and the stamp was sold for $8.3 million.
All three items are unique: the 1933 Double Eagle owned by Weitzman is the only coin in the series that US authorities have allowed to be in a private collection, the others have been given to museums or are the property of the US Mint. An early 20th century stamp set with a unique misprint an inverted biplane impression is considered one of the most valuable in American philatelic circles, and a Guyanese stamp issued in 1856, when the country was still a British colony, is referred to by some experts as the "Mona Lisa" of philately.
The proceeds from items from Weitzman's collection, who made his fortune from making expensive shoes, will be distributed to several charitable foundations. As The New York Times notes, Weitzman, 79, had concentrated on finding and buying unique coins and stamps over the past 20 years, but decided in March this year to put them up for sale. "He enjoyed collecting them, he wanted to have fun selling them and he definitely got it", the paper quotes an auction house spokesperson as saying.