Bill Gross British Stamp Auction Turns $2.5 Million Into $9.1 Million

    LONDON and NEW YORK, June 12 /CNW/ - Legendary investor Bill Gross
auctioned his British stamp collection for charity in New York yesterday -
breaking World records for prices. In the process he turned $2.5 million, the
cost of his collection purchased mainly between 1998 and 2001, into $9.1
million, more than double pre-sale estimates. 'It's better than the stock
market' said a delighted Bill after the sale.
    (Photo: )
    Paul Fraser, Chairman of World famous London based stamp dealers Stanley
Gibbons commented, 'The message of today's phenomenal sale is the re-rating of
rare stamps as an alternative asset class, with very rare items being sold at
record prices. Bidding was truly global with a number of new high net worth
collectors and investors competing for the outstanding lots on offer. I am
sure that Doctors Without Borders, Bill Gross's chosen charity, will be
delighted with the return on his original investment.'
    Highlights of the sale, which has created unprecedented worldwide
interest, included $350,000 paid for the 1904 6d 'IR Official'. This is the
rarest stamp of Great Britain, being the only example in private hands, and
the price realised was a record for a single British stamp. Bill Gross paid
$137,000 for the stamp in a Stanley Gibbons' auction in 2000, an increase of
155% in 7 years.
    The Penny Black is probably the most famous stamp in the World, being the
first adhesive stamp issued by Great Britain in 1840. The auction contained a
number of examples including a spectacular reconstructed unused block of 24,
the largest multiple in private hands. This outstanding rarity had been
purchased for $292,500 in 2001 and realised $1 million, an increase of over
240% just over 6 years.
    Lot 53, the 'Lady Louis' cover addressed to Malta, was described as 'one
of the most important postal history rarities of Great Britain.' Its presale
estimate of $75,000 to $100,000 was soon was soon left behind as it was
knocked down for $650,000 - 10 times what Gross had paid for it.
    Amazing realisations peppered the auction, even amongst the lower
estimates. A 'Mulready' illustrated envelope which had been uprated with five
1840 2d Blue stamps to send to India, had a pre sale estimate of $40,000 to
$50,000 compared with its original purchase price of $30,000 in 2001. It
eventually sold for $450,000, a staggering 9 times estimate and 1500% above
its cost in 2001. One of the legendary vendor's better investments!
    63 year old Bill Gross manages the World's biggest bond fund. "It's
beyond my expectations," he said of the day's results. "It's four times
profit. It's better than the stock market."
    His donation is the largest ever received by Doctors Without
Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres.
    The auction emphasises the significant worth of rare stamps as an
alternative investment. The Stanley Gibbons GB30 Rare Stamp Index has shown an
average compound increase of 13.5% per annum over the past 5 years, a better
return than the majority of traditional based assets.
    Stanley Gibbons has an investment dept dedicated to advising new
investors and non collectors on how to invest in rare stamps to obtain the
best return.

    About Stanley Gibbons Ltd

    -  Stanley Gibbons Ltd was established in 1856 and is based in London, UK

    -  It holds a Royal Warrant as stamp dealer to Queen Elizabeth II

    -  The company is recognised as the leading brand name in stamp

    -  Stanley Gibbons catalogues are World famous and its reference numbers
       were used in the preparation of the auction catalogue.

    Further information on rare stamp and autographs investment can be found

    Editors Note

    Stanley Gibbons Ltd is the world's oldest and most respected name in
stamps. If you are reporting on the auction we would be pleased to help. The
subject of rare stamps is complex and full of specialist terminology. We have
specialists on hand in New York and London to provide expert comment on the

For further information:

For further information: Geoff Anandappa (Investment Portfolio Manager),, Tel Mobile: +44-(0)7985-035936, Tel UK:
+44-(0)20-7557-4442; Adrian Roose (Investment Director),, Tel UK: +44-(0)1481-708-277; Paul Fraser
(Chairman), Tel US: +44-(0)7781-124770; Richard Purkis (Director), Tel UK:

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