Owner Biography

Edmond Safra

According to Wikipedia, Edmond J. Safra (August 6, 1932 - December 3, 1999) was a well-known Lebanese Brazilian Jewish banker originally of Syrian descent. His father, Jacob Safra, had opened the J. E. Safra Bank in 1920. By the time he was sixteen, Edmond Safra was working at his father's bank and was engaged in the precious metals and foreign exchange aspects of the business.

In 1956, Edmond Safra settled in Geneva to set up a private bank, the Trade Development Bank, which grew from an original US$1 million to US$5 billion during the 1980s. He extended his financial empire to satisfy his wealthy clients from around the world. He also founded the Republic National Bank of New York in 1966, and, later, Republic National Bank of New York (Suisse) in Geneva. Republic bank operated 80 branches in the New York area, making it the number three branch network in the metropolitan region behind Citigroup and Chase Manhattan.

As he approached his 60s, the financier divided his time between his homes in Monaco, Geneva, and New York and the Villa Leopolda on the French Riviera. Weakened by Parkinson's disease, he required nursing care.

In December 1999, Safra and nurse Vivian Torrente were suffocated by fumes in a fire deliberately lit at the billionaire's Monaco home,m where he apparently felt so safe that he did not have his bodyguards stay the night.

Recognized worldwide for his philanthropy, Edmond J. Safra was named Commandeur de l'Ordre des Arts et Lettres and Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur by the French government; Commandeur de l’Ordre de Mérite by the Grand Duke of Luxembourg; and Commandeur de l’Ordre de Rio Branco by the government of Brazil.

After Mr. Safra's death, the stamp passed to his estate, who kept it until 2014.

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