Big Givers: Philanthropic Philatelist Plans Big Auction
Our latest Big Giver is Wall Street bond manager, Bill Gross, or as I like to fondly call him, the Philanthropic Philatelist, will offer the Scandinavia portion of his extensive, international stamp collection in a public auction which is conservatively estimated to bring over $1 million. Proceeds from the collection's sale will be donated by Sue and Bill Gross to the Millennium Villages Project at the Earth Institute at Columbia University. The Spink Shreves Galleries of New York City and Dallas will conduct the sale in New York City on May 16, 2008.
The collection has 110 rare and even several one-of-a-kind 19th and early 20th century Scandinavian stamps including an unusual printing 152 years ago of Finland's first postage stamps that shows adjoining images that are upside down to each other, a peculiar placement known as tête-bêche. Charles Shreve of Spink Shreves Galleries says that the piece, a mint condition block of four stamps containing two pair of 10 kopek denomination stamps, the first stamps of Finland from 1856, is one of only three known and estimated to sell for $100,000 to $150,000; however, Shreve expects the winning bid will be even higher.
This isn't the Gross's first shot at stamp philanthropy, the Great Britain portion of his stamp collection was sold through Spink Shreves Galleries in June 2007, and he and his wife, Sue, donated the entire $9.1 million auction proceeds to charity.
The Millennium Villages Project is working to create health, education, agriculture and infrastructure programs to help some of the poorest people throughout the African continent through simple concrete means such as bed nets to fight malaria, seeds and fertilizer to increase food production, the building of schools and clinics, and safe water. The stamps will be displayed for potential bidders at the Spink Galleries in London, England, May 5 – 7, and at the New York City offices of the auction house, May 9 – 12 and May 15.
Gallery: The Philanthropic Philatelist