News Archive

Financier Bill Gross Selling More of His Celebrated Stamp Collection for Millennium Villages

2008-09-10

A letter postmarked July 10, 1849 with an “immensely rare” Indigo Blue shade, two-pence denomination stamp of Mauritius

A letter postmarked July 10, 1849 with an “immensely rare” Indigo Blue shade, two-pence denomination stamp of Mauritius (click image to enlarge)

NEW YORK – Wall Street money manager, Bill Gross, will offer another portion of his extensive, international stamp collection in a public auction conservatively estimated to bring over $1.25 million. All proceeds from the sale of his British Empire stamps will be donated by Sue and Bill Gross to the Millennium Villages project at the Earth Institute at Columbia University, according to Charles Shreve, President of Spink Shreves Galleries of New York City and Dallas (www.SpinkShreves.com), the auction house that will conduct the sale in New York City on October 3, 2008.

“We are deeply honored and inspired by Sue and Bill Gross’ contribution to the Millennium Villages project,” said Professor Jeffrey Sachs, Director of the Earth Institute. “With new, powerful technologies available to help African villages to grow more food, fight disease and bring information by Internet and mobile phones into the community, the opportunities are enormous to break the poverty trap in Africa. The Gross’ continued generous support will have an incredible impact on survival and economic development in some of the poorest parts of the world. The stamp auction is a brilliant and creative example of how individuals can help to lead the global fight against poverty, hunger and disease.”

Pre-auction displays of the historic stamps are planned in London and New York.

It’s the third time Gross has offered portions of his acclaimed philatelic collection to raise millions of dollars for charity, and the second time the Millennium Villages project has been selected as the recipient of the proceeds.

“This portion of the collection has 138 items; rare and even one-of-a-kind stamps and covers (envelopes with canceled stamps) from across the globe of the 19th and early 20th century British Empire. There are classic rarities from such places as Australia, the British West Indies, the Cape of Good Hope, Cyprus, Gibraltar, India, Malta, and Mauritius ranging in value from a few hundred dollars to a hundred-thousand dollars each,” explained Shreve.

“This is a remarkable collection and a remarkable commitment to charity.” Gross, of Laguna Beach, California, is Founder and Co-Chief Investment Officer of PIMCO of Newport Beach, California, one of the world’s largest money managers with over $830 billion under management.

The pre-sale estimate for the William H. Gross British Empire Collection is $1.25 million to $1.5 million, with proceeds to be donated by the Gross’ to the Millennium Villages project.

“We again selected the Millennium Villages project because they are developing unique health, education, agriculture and infrastructure programs to help some of the poorest people throughout the African continent escape from extreme poverty. The success of these projects is made possible with private sector assistance,” said Sue and Bill Gross in a joint statement.

Highlights of the upcoming auction include:

  • A letter postmarked July 10, 1849 with an “immensely rare” Indigo Blue shade, two-pence denomination stamp of Mauritius, the finer of only two such known covers. The pre-sale estimate is $75,000 to $100,000.
  • A trial printing “square pair” of 1863 Cape of Good Hope triangular-shaped, carmine red, mint condition, one-penny denomination stamps has a pre-sale estimate of $80,000 or more.
  • One of only two known mint examples of an 1886 Dominica six pence stamp mistakenly counter-printed with a “One Penny” surcharge is expected to sell for $40,000 or more.

The stamps will be displayed for potential bidders at the Autumn Stampex Show in London, England, September 17 - 20, and at the New York City offices of the Spink Shreve Galleries, September 30, and October 1 and 2, 2008. There is also a special web site to view the collection online, www.WilliamHGrossCollection.com.

For additional information, contact Spink Shreves Galleries, 145 W. 57th St., 18th floor, New York, NY 10019. Phone: (212) 262-8400. Online: www.SpinkShreves.com.