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View Stamp Hoax

Type: Hoax.
Summary: Wealthy stamp collector included an unusual stipulation in his will.

The following case was reported in The Fort Wayne News, Monday, June 25, 1900. Details have not been verified. The identity of this collector is unknown:

The Washington correspondent of the Chicago Record tells of a hoax of which the stamp collectors of Europe were the victims some time ago. A man who had one of the largest and most valuable collections of stamps in the world died with a paragraph in his will bequeathing it to the first person who should be found to own a genuine example of a certain rare stamp, and in case no one possessing such a stamp should appear within a term of ten years the entire collection was to go to the British Museum.

The announcement, which was widely published, created a great sensation among stamp fiends, but it turned out that the deceased was the owner of the only genuine specimen of the stamp he described in the world. Just what his motive was in making such a stipulation in his will has been a question of controversy ever since, but the collection is now in the British museum, and the people in charge of it think that he simply desired to stimulate interest in the stamp business.