The One-Cent Magenta: Inside the Quest to Own the Most Valuable Stamp in the World
Collaborative Programs
Non-Fiction at the Bryant Park Reading Room
James Barron
Wed, July 5th, 2017 | 7:00 pm

Event Details

In collaboration with the New-York Historical Society, the Bryant Park Reading Room presents a series of free lectures on popular topics including the Supreme Court, the Cold War, presidential biography, and more.

The collection of rare items is oft regarded as a symbol of prestige and power. A simple 19th-century stamp, which cost a penny when it was issued, became the most expensive stamp ever printed when it sold at auction in 2014 for $9.5 million. Author James Barron traces the one-cent magenta’s humble origins to 19th-century British Guiana and explores the colorful characters—from Parisian aristocracy to American industrialists—who coveted it.

James Barron is a reporter for The New York Times and the author of The One-Cent Magenta: Inside the Quest to Own the Most Valuable Stamp in the World. He edited The New York Times Book of New York.


This program will be held at the Reading Room in Bryant Park. The Reading Room is located on the 42nd Street side of the park between 5th and 6th Avenues. Look for the burgundy and white umbrellas.

Rain Venue: In case of summer showers, there will be an on-site tent. In case of severe weather, please check for the indoor location or contact the New-York Historical’s Department of Public Programs at 212-485-9205.


Free Admission. No advance reservation is required. First come, first served.


This program is produced in partnership with the Bryant Park Corporation

Creative: Tronvig Group