Five Years to the Top of the World and a Deep Fall
In February 1954 a “Nobody” named Dr. Paul Singer appeared out of nowhere in a small suburb of Dublin, Dun Laoghaire. He turned the small furniture and estate auction company Shanahan into the world's largest stamp auction house. Singer magically attracted tens of thousands of customers from all over the world. He offered investment opportunities, as everyone was able to increase their money invested in stamps considerably within a very short time. Millions of British pounds flowed into the company, which in turn successfully invested them.
Singer seemed to hedge investors and buyers against almost every risk. One could only win – one believed – and continued to invest. With the first “Millionaire” auction in November 1958, he was close to his goal. The gazettes of the world reported about his auction and a legendary party, at which 200 bottles of the best champagne delighted 200 or more guests, as well as the caviar ordered in Russia or the “ladies of the night” flown in from Paris.
At the beginning of May 1959, Singer & Shanahan became a summit striker: Singer succeeded in acquiring the world's largest stamp collection of the tobacco tycoon Maurice Burrus. The success didn't seem to stop anymore. Until the night of 8/9 May, a mysterious collapse of this success story abruptly ended: The stamps for sale of the announced “Mystery Collection”, a unique huge collection of Lombardy Veneto, were stolen, the auction for the 5-year anniversary of the company cancelled. This was followed by the longest and most expensive investigations and trials in the history of Ireland. With a highly unusual course ...
This exciting and in its form probably unique history is documented in the new 187-page hardcover book in due detail, whereby the author – a well-known philatelic historian – also brings in hitherto completely unknown information, e.g. on the origin of the Singer family. Equally unusual is a complete bibliography of all catalogues of the auction house at that time, because today only the last ones are known, but not the first ones. Among them is even the never sent auction catalogue for the planned 2nd Burrus auction of 13 June 1959, an auction that never took place and whose catalogues were almost completely destroyed.
Even the last living contemporary witness, a former employee of the Shanahan company, Sydney Glass, was asked by the author for an interview and his surprising views can also be found in this book, as can so many other statements that have never been fully clarified to this day, which are dealt with in detail in this work and often also corrected. It is – not only because of its number of impressive illustrations – an entertaining book, almost a crime thriller, which shows what can happen when auctioneers leave the “Path of Virtue”.