Unless you have been living under a rock, you’ve read the stories in the philatelic press about another copy of #C3a from the famous McCoy block stolen in 1955 has surfaced. Position 76 was found by a young man from Northern Ireland, Keelin O’Neill, in a small box of assorted items his deceased grandfather left to him.
What strikes me about this case is that the young man who discovered this copy in the box of items from his grandfather had no idea it was there. His grandfather never spoke about its rarity or value. It is presumed that his grandfather had no idea of its value either.
According to Keelin, his grandfather went to “car boot sales.” Of course, in the US, we call this the trunk of the car. In the UK, they refer to the trunk as the “boot.” Keelin feels that it is likely that his grandfather unknowingly bought the stamp during one of his trips to a car boot sale. His grandfather was not a stamp collector.
Imagine someone paying thousands of dollars for this stamp and not being able to talk about it because they know the stamp was stolen, or at least has a checkered past. That buyer dies and the stamp, through one or more transactions, ends up in the trunk of a car in Northern Ireland. Imagine the number of people whose hands this stolen copy passed through on its journey from Norfolk, VA (where it was stolen in 1955) to get to Northern Ireland. Luckily, no one ever threw the envelope away, not realizing that a rare stamp was inside.
Will the fourth and last copy of #C3a from the McCoy block ever surface? I certainly hope so.
This copy could have easily ended up in a garbage dump because no one knew it was there. Let’s hope the last copy from the McCoy block surfaces soon and has not been lost to the hobby forever.