The sole surviving British Guiana One-Cent Magenta stamp is estimated to sell at Sotheby's on June 8 for between $10 million and $15 million – more than a billion times its original face value.
It was last sold to shoe designer and collector Stuart Weitzman, who bought the 1856 stamp for $9.48m in 2014.
The stamp was produced as part of a stopgap measure in the 1850s because of a supply problem in the regular deliveries of imported stamps from England.
The postmaster of the former British colony turned to the printer of the local newspaper and ordered three different stamps for the following year, including the one-cent printed on magenta paper.
The last surviving example of its kind was found by a 12-year-old boy in 1873 among a collection of family papers. He later sold it on for a few shillings to another collector.
The magenta was later bought in Paris by Count Philippe la Renotiere von Ferrary, described by Sotheby’s as the greatest stamp collector in history.
France seized his collection post-First World War as part of reparations after it was donated to a German museum. The stamp was sold at auction in 1922 for a record price of $35,000. It then went through the hands of collectors, including the heir to the DuPont chemical company fortune.
Mr Weitzman set the latest record and continued the tradition of adding a personal mark to the stamp by inscribing his initials, along with a line drawing of a stiletto shoe. The proceeds from the sale will go to charity.