The selection of Mr. Gross is as much a reflection of his philanthropic activities on behalf of stamp collecting as it is for his world-class collection.
"There has never been anyone in philately as philanthropic as Bill, and he wanted to create something special, which he has," said Charles Shreve of Robert A. Siegel International, Mr. Gross's long-time philatelic advisor and dealer. "Without his gift there would have never been a new Smithsonian National Postal Museum, the finest in the world. Bill has contributed greatly to the general public's view of collecting in a positive way."
In addition to donations totaling $10.8 million to build the William H. Gross Stamp Gallery in the National Postal Museum, Mr. Gross and his wife Sue have donated almost $25 million from proceeds of the sales of Mr. Gross's collection since 2007. Beneficiaries include the PIMCO Foundation, Doctors Without Borders, the Millennium Villages Project, the Hawaii Foodbank, The New York Times Neediest Cases Fund, and other charities.
"Stamp collecting has always been a means to an end for me," said Mr. Gross, the portfolio manager responsible for managing Janus Capital Group's Global Unconstrained Bond strategy. "There is the pleasure of the hobby itself, which has brought countless hours of satisfaction in researching the history behind these miniature works of art. And then there is the knowledge that the returns from my hobby have served a higher purpose in benefiting the less fortunate."
Mr. Gross's charitable proceeds from the sale of stamps is just one component of his larger philanthropic activities. In addition to donations that include a $40 million gift to establish a nursing school at the University of California, Irvine, and $20 million to Mercy Ships, The William and Sue Gross Family Foundation annually distributes more than $18 million per year to medical and poverty charities, among many more recipients. Mr. Gross also co-founded the PIMCO Foundation when he served as chief investment officer of Pacific Investment Management Company LLC, and provided 100 percent of the foundation's funding for the first two years following its 2001 founding.
"William H. "Bill" Gross (born 1944) has, over the past quarter-century, diligently assembled one of the finest collections of 19th-century U.S. stamps and postal history ever formed," according to a statement by the Smithsonian's National Postal Museum. "Almost unique among high-profile collectors, Gross publicly shares his passion for philately. Through his numerous collecting accomplishments, trade of the Inverted Jenny plate block for the One-Cent Z-Grill, and the generosity he and his wife, Sue, have shown in donating millions from the sale of portions of his non-U.S. stamp collections to charitable causes, he has generated more positive media exposure for the hobby over the past decade than any other single collector."
Mr. Gross received the Collectors Club of New York's Alfred F. Lichtenstein Award in 2011, and the 2016 Distinguished Philatelist Award from the United States Philatelic Classics Society, which called him "one of the greatest stamp collectors of all times."
About the Smithsonian's National Postal Museum
The National Postal Museum is devoted to presenting the colorful and engaging history of the nation's mail service and showcasing one of the largest and most comprehensive collections of stamps and philatelic material in the world. It is located at 2 Massachusetts Ave. N.E., Washington, D.C., across from Union Station. The museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (closed Dec. 25). For more information about the Smithsonian, call (202) 633-1000 or visit the museum website at www.postalmuseum.si.edu.
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SOURCE Robert A. Siegel International