• Melissa D. Goolsarran Ramnauth, Esq.

The Rarest Stamp in the World is from Guyana

Updated: Jul 1

By: Melissa D. Goolsarran Ramnauth | Trademark Attorney

The rarest stamp in the world is from Guyana. It is worth an estimated $8.3 million and more valuable than 24-karat gold. It has been accordingly dubbed the “Mona Lisa of the stamp world.”

In 1856, a British ship delivered 5,000 stamps to British Guiana, which was expecting a shipment of 50,000 stamps.

Postmaster Dalton authorized the newspaper, the Royal Gazette, to print a small amount of stamps to make up for the shortcoming. He ordered that each stamp be signed by a clerk to prevent forgery.

The octagonal stamp features three sailing ships and the motto “Damus Petimus Que Vicissim'' which translates to “we give and expect in return.” It was also printed on magenta paper.

The last of the stamps printed by the Royal Gazette was presumed to be used to deliver a newspaper near the time of printing. The stamps were never seen again.

That is, until 1873, when a Scottish school-boy found the stamp on a newspaper in his uncle’s collection. He sold it to a local collector for six shillings.

The stamp has had 12 owners, including the French government. It is currently owned by Stanley Gibbons (a rare stamp dealer).

The stamp is stored in a zero-oxygen frame.

Guyana’s current president, Dr. Irfaan Ali, was able to view the stamp on November 3, 2021 while in the U.K. for the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26).


Melissa D. Goolsarran Ramnauth, Esq. is a trial-winning trademark and business attorney. She primarily helps new and small businesses with trademarks and contracts. She writes articles on the importance of trademarks, trademark law updates, and also West Indian history (with an emphasis on India, Trinidad, Guyana, and the United States).

MDGR Law, P.A.

PO Box 101794 Fort Lauderdale, FL 33310-1794

(754) 800-4481


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