Documentary Is Latest In Series Created by Wyoming Valley History Project
(WILKES-BARRE, PA – Nov. 5, 2012) -- The first screening of the documentary “True Rarity: The Amazing Story of Irwin Weinberg,” is planned for Nov. 15 at 7 p.m. in the ballroom of the Henry Student Center. The screening is free and open to the public.
“True Rarity” chronicles the story of Irwin Weinberg, a Kingston resident and Wilkes-Barre businessman, famed for buying and later selling the British Guiana one-cent magenta stamp, acknowledged to be the rarest stamp in the world. Weinberg sold it at auction in 1980 for $850,000, according to a story in The New York Times.
The documentary is the latest in the series produced by the Wyoming Valley History Project, founded by Wilkes facultyMark Stine, associate professor and chair, communication studies, and John Hepp, associate professor of history.
The “True Rarity” documentary does not focus solely on the rare stamp, but instead tells the story of how Weinberg, an entrepreneur and self-made man, built a lucrative career dealing in stamps and other rare items. Stine says, “It's Irwin's hope, and mine, that seeing a documentary that shows how Irwin pursued his lofty dreams will inspire others to follow their dreams…The documentary traces Irwin's humble beginnings from when he traveled to New York City as a teenager to begin buying and selling stamps. It chronicles his decision to purchase the one-cent magenta, travel the world displaying it, and selling it at auction for a handsome profit. But it also focuses on Irwin's indomitable spirit and his dedication to ethics, both of which are truly extraordinary.”
The Weinberg documentary is the first to focus on a single individual, Stine says. Linda Winkler, dean of Wilkes’ College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, met Weinberg at a social event and, intrigued by his story, recommended him as a subject. “It seemed like it would be a great opportunity to focus on a local person who has had global influence,” Stine explains. “Irwin is a great storyteller and much of the documentary will unfold through his recollection of his experiences.”
Initial research on the Weinberg documentary was completed by Wilkes student Ryan Wood, a communication studies major. Stine is the producer, director and editor of the documentary. Carl Brigido, director of the Shelburne Television Center at Wilkes University, provided technical expertise and assisted with the shoot.
The documentary project began nearly a decade ago when Stine and Hepp joined their communications and history classes to create historical documentaries about local monuments in the Wyoming Valley. Several documentaries were created over the years, and in 2008, with support by a contribution from local resident Edward Meehan, the Wyoming Valley History Project at Wilkes University was formed. Through the project, history and communications students work together to create documentaries. These documentaries aired on Wilkes TV channel 97 on Service Electric Cable, and viewers began making requests for repeat showings. The team decided to sell the DVDs to the public to raise money to support the project. Past documentaries are for sale at the Wilkes-King’s Barnes & Noble Bookstore.