Raymond and Roger Weill

Roger Weill
Raymond H. Weill

Raymond Weill and his brother, Roger, built one of the world’s most valuable stamp holdings in a tiny French Quarter shop in New Orleans, La., over a 60-year period that ended with the death of Raymond on April 23, 2003.

Mr. Weill and his brother, Roger, sold their collection of hundreds of thousands of stamps for more than $10 million to a London bank in 1989. At the time, the inventory was ‘’the largest and most valuable stock of stamps to come on the market,’’ said Scott Trepel of the Rober A. Siegel auction fi rm in New York City.

Among the brothers’ most noted possessions were three four-stamp blocks of the ‘’Inverted Jenny,’’ the 24-cent airmail stamp on which a biplane was accidentally printed upside down. One of the blocks was sold at a 1989 auction for $1 million, a record at the time. (Note that in November 2007, a single of the Inverted Jenny sold at a Siegel auction for $972,000—the largest price ever paid for a single of the rarity.)

The brothers also owned two 156-year-old “Post Office” 1-cent stamps from Mauritius, a nation in the Indian Ocean.

Raymond Weill was born in St. Louis but spent most of his life in New Orleans. The son and grandson of stamp collectors, he began selling stamps from his bedroom as a boy to help feed his family, according to a longtime friend, Clyde Jennings.

One of the more delightful aspects of their business was the reception that awaited even the youngest novice stamp collector in their Royal Street shop. Even while selling a world class rarity to a wealthy philatelist at one end of their store, they might also be found simultaneously helping a third grader pick out an album at the other end.

The brothers did some incredible things. For instance, in countless occasions they ran a full color advertisement on the outside back cover of The New Yorker magazine—just to tout their business and promote the hobby of philately.

Behind the scenes, they accomplished much for philately. Their giving to various philatelic organizations and causes was legendary among the dealer community.

The Weill brothers, bachelors who lived together in the French Quarter, went into business in 1932 in a small shop on Royal Street. Roger Weill died in 1991.