Question: What links today, the film Foxcatcher, and a record-setting Sotheby’s auction sale of 2014?
Answer: Stamps! Today is the 175th anniversary of the introduction of the ‘Penny Post’ to Britain, whereby a letter could be sent to anywhere in the country for a penny. Following this designs were discussed for Britain’s first stamp issue, and in the same year on May 1st the ‘Penny Black’ stamp was first sold, bearing the image of Queen Victoria as a 15 year old. A rare British Guiana stamp was sold at a New York Sotheby’s auction in June 2014 for a record $9.5m (£5.6m). This stamp was previously owned by John du Pont, who was convicted for the murder of the Olympic champion wrestler Dave Schultz in 1997 and is portrayed by Steve Carell in the upcoming film ‘Foxcatcher’.
More trivia: A timbromaniac is a stamp collector. A philatelist is a stamp collector and studier. And Britain is the only country whose postage stamps do not include the name of the country in the design.