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Mystery Owner of Treskilling Yellow Rarity Revealed

Entrepreneur and Fixture on the Philatelic Scene


Little did I imagine, when I wrote about two stamp topics separately, that they would come together to solve one of the great philatelic mysteries of recent months. As to the first player in this mystery, I speak of Sweden’s Treskilling Banco yellow error of color stamp rarity, which when sold in an auction previous to the last of May 20, 2010 (with its undisclosed buyer and price) realized $2.3M. We now know that the latest buyer at the David Feldman auction paid slightly less than that record breaking price. But who was this mystery buyer?

Familiar Face in the Philatelic World

Well, it turns out that the auctioneer of that rare item, Mr. Feldman, has stepped up to give us a denouement to the mysterious goings-on in the stamp world, as carried by Stamp News Australasia and reported by Stamp Magazine. And who is the buyer, but Armand Rousso, a colorful philatelic player who is known in the world of stamps for a number of high profile activities. One was his involvement with stamps having to do with Afghans in 1985, the sale of which was meant to raise funds for Afghan rebels fighting the Soviets.

Another fund raising plan included creating a balloon cover featuring stamps with representations of President Reagan's signature. The purpose of the covers, according to the cachet that adorns them, had to do with fundraising for The Republican Senatorial Inner Circle.

Innovation in Stamp Sales

There were other activities of earlier days, when the controversial Rousso stirred up the philatelic waters with his Coach Investments, which brought him in for criticism from some traditionalist stamp circles for what was seen as conduct inappropriate to the hobby of stamp collecting, including telemarketing.

But Rousso also pioneered online stamp sales by creating the International Stamp Exchange in 1985. A method of trading stamps via computer, it was an online system based on the over the counter sales of the Stock Exchange. Years before eBay, Rousso said that the stamp business it engendered was in the millions of dollars.

Sharing the Pleasures of Collecting

Russo has remained active over the years, but has moved more toward collector activities, as we saw in the video I linked to back in Dec 2010. While some prefer that museums own stamp rarities so all may view them, I think Rousso, who has demonstrated the showman mentality in the past, is a good choice for owner (stamp collectors know that stamps often choose you, not the other way around) of the rarity. I believe it will be coming to a stamp show or exhibit near you soon.

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