Great Stamp Rarities of China and the People’s Republic to be Auctioned by Interasia Auctions
Interasia projecting its 3,600 lot-auction at The Excelsior Hotel, Hong Kong, January 11-14 will bring over HK$60 million (US$7.7 million)
Auction includes September 1839 Earliest-Known Letter from Hong Kong
(December 19, 2013, Hong Kong) Preeminent China, Hong Kong and Asian stamp auctioneer Interasia Auctions Ltd will be auctioning major rarities of the People’s Republic of China, important Classic China, as well as the earliest known letter from Hong Kong, at the Excelsior Hotel in Hong Kong on Saturday, January 11 – Tuesday, January 14, 2014.
The 3,600 lot, four-day stamp auction with a pre-sale estimate in excess of HK$60,000,000 (over US$7,700,000) will be the first major Chinese and Hong Kong stamp auction of 2014 and promises to be the largest stamp auction in Hong Kong this coming auction season (in total dollar terms), and likewise the largest auction of Chinese stamps anywhere in the world for the upcoming season. Each season Interasia’s semi-annual auction of Chinese, Hong Kong and Asian stamps is the largest Chinese stamp auction anywhere in the world, dwarfing the other stamp auctions in China and Hong Kong, and the coming January sale promises to be no exception.
The January 2014 auction features major rarities of the People’s Republic of China and is highlighted by an immaculate mint set of blocks of four with sheet margins of the 1952 unissued Russian Revolution set with the Soviet inscription error (Lot 2208; presale estimate HK$2,500,000-3,000,000). Two of the blocks additionally include the printer’s imprint in the sheet margin. These are not only the largest multiples known of this popular error that entailed the issue to commemorate the 35th anniversary of the 1917 October Russian Revolution being delayed for 11 months, with new stamps in different colors with the correct inscription ultimately being issued, but are likewise believed the only blocks of four of these important rarities extant. These exceedingly rare blocks have never before appeared on the auction market. Mint and used sets of the 1958 Student Union Congress errors (Lots 2226 and 2227; presale estimates HK$850,000-1,000,000 and HK$300,000-400,000 respectively) are among other rarities from the early years of the People’s Republic.
The auction likewise includes rarities from the Cultural Revolution period, anchored by the 1968 unissued large format “Whole Country is Red” (Lot 2426; presale estimate HK$3,500,000-4,000,000) depicting workers, peasants and soldiers before a map of China with one worker holding up Mao’s little red book that was to be part of a set to commemorate the Great Victory of the Cultural Revolution. Thought to have been rejected because of its large size and ordered destroyed, less than ten examples are known of this great rarity considered one of the Treasures of the Stamps of the Cultural Revolution. The auction also includes a second stamp of this proposed set to honor the triumph of the Cultural Revolution and another of its Treasures – the commonly-referred to Victory stamp showing Chairman Mao and Lin Biao before a victory celebration in the countryside – in a lovely mint example with sheet margin (Lot 2425; presale estimate HK$400,000-500,000), along with the most iconic stamp of the People’s Republic – the 1968 issued “Whole Country is Red” vertical-format stamp – in a pristine mint marginal example showing the printer’s imprint in the sheet margin (Lot 2427; presale HK$600,000-800,000). The latter was withdrawn almost immediately after issuance, officially because of inaccuracies in the map of China, but interestingly it shows Taiwan in white (with Mainland China in red) notwithstanding the stamp’s name.
The large Hong Kong offering of stamps and postal history is highlighted by the earliest known letter from Hong Kong (Lot 1001; presale estimate HK$250,000-300,000) – the well-documented September 9, 1839 entire letter from the famous missionary Reverend J.R. Morrison to his sister in England written aboard a ship in Hong Kong Harbour housing British refugees expelled from Canton at the outset of the First Opium War. The lengthy letter describes the evacuation of the British refugees from Macau, which had been unwilling to let them remain after their leaving Canton, and notes “the feeling of the Chinese [that the British were] protecting the opium trade.” Written before postal service to Hong Kong at a time when Hong Kong was little more than a series of villages and hamlets, the letter was privately carried to Singapore, from where it was sent through the mails to England via India.
Classic Chinese stamps are, as always in Interasia’s auctions, very well represented by major rarities and important postal history, with specialized sections of nearly every issue of the Qing Dynasty (1878-1911) and the Republic period (1911-49). China’s first stamp issue – the 1878-85 Large Dragons – features five of the rare covers, including a three-color franking with three different issues of the Large Dragons cancelled in red at Kiukiang (one of only three recorded) (Lot 39; presale estimate HK$800,000-1,000,000), an outstanding Large Dragons-U.S. combination cover (Lot 110; presale estimate HK$1,000,000-1,200,000), and the very rare “Postage already paid/Do not demand, do not pay” framed handstamp applied to Large Dragons on cover (one of only two such recorded usages) (Lot 95; presale estimate HK$1,000,000-1,200,000).
The extensive 1897 Red Revenues, considered by many to be China’s first true national postage stamp issue as the previous stamps had been issued by the foreigner-dominated Customs Department and now the most popular issue of Classic China, include one of the finest known examples of the Small 4c. double surcharge (Lot 546; presale estimate HK$1,200,000-1,500,000), of which only 25 stamps were produced, a used part sheet of 80 of the Small 2c. (Lot 545; presale estimate HK$1,200,00-1,500,000), and a spectacular used corner pane of 25 of the Large 4c. (Lot 604; presale estimate HK$800,000-1,000,000).
In the later issues, the unique set of 32 essays and die proofs of the 1898-1910 issues from the Waterlow & Sons London printer’s archives (Lot 643; presale estimate HK$5,000,000-6,000,000) highlights the very popular Coiling Dragons stamps, while the 1913-33 Junk issues feature a matchless set of marginal imprint blocks of four of the 1914-19 first Peking printing (Lot 739; presale estimate HK$1,000,000-1,200,000), which at one time had resided in the legendary China collection of Major James Starr.
Taiwan is ably represented by a large and important section and includes three exceedingly rare 1883-84 covers from the early Customs Post in Southern Taiwan to the Princely State of Oldenburg in Germany (Lots 3764-3766; presale estimate HK$1,700,000-2,350,000), as well as the Y.C.C. collection of the Flying Geese issues of 1950-52 (Lots 3818-3830), with magnificent blocks of four of all the issues.
The auction concludes with general Asian stamps and postal history, including outstanding Portuguese Asia pre-philately, including the finest known example of the “Macao Correio Maritimo” handstamp (Lot 4537; presale estimate HK$150,000-200,000); Korea, highlighted by the only recorded North Korea/South Korea combination cover (Lot 4591; presale estimate HK$120,000-150,000); and Philippines Revolutionary mail.
The exponential growth in Chinese stamp collecting has paralleled the economic growth of Mainland China and its emergence as an economic superpower, with stamp collecting holding a place both as a sophisticated and fashionable hobby, as well as a store of value and alternative investment.
“Philately has a special place in Chinese culture, with rare stamps regarded as important cultural icons and treasures, just like art, and thus fiercely competed over,“ said Dr Jeffrey Schneider, Director of Interasia Auctions and an international expert in Chinese and Asian philately.
“We have watched the emergence of major serious collectors in Mainland China in recent years, as well as growing enthusiasm from ethnic Chinese abroad and non-Chinese alike, making Chinese stamps some of the most popular stamps in the world and fostering steady increases in the values for classic Chinese stamps in recent years. While the Chinese art market has seen significant corrections, classic Chinese stamps have shown a strong resilience, with these trends barely affecting their values. The popularly-collected People’s Republic stamps – which had seen meteoric price rises and saw a substantial correction in late 2011 – still count increases in value of 200% or more over the last decade, notwithstanding the market correction.”
“We are very pleased to be part of these exciting markets and to share our expertise and passion, bringing extensive offerings of the best and rarest Chinese and Asian stamps to avid collectors around the World,” commented Dr Schneider.
Details of the Preview and Auction are listed below:
January 9, 2014 (Thursday)
9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
January 10, 2014 (Friday)
9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
| Auction Days:
January 11, 2014 (Saturday) – 9.30 a.m.
(Lots 1 – 946);
January 12, 2014 (Sunday) – 9:30 a.m.
(Lots 1001 – 2760)
January 13, 2014 (Monday) – 9:30 a.m.
(Lots 3001 – 3933) ; and
January 14, 2014 (Tuesday) – 9:30 a.m.
Level 3, The Excelsior Hotel, Hong Kong
281 Gloucester Road,
Level 2, The Excelsior Hotel, Hong Kong,
281 Gloucester Road,
For further details of the auction and to view the auction catalogues, please visit www.interasia-auctions.com.
For further information on the catalogues, please visit www.interasia-auctions.com/cgi-bin/auctions.php.
About Interasia Auctions
Hong Kong-based Interasia Auctions is the preeminent auctioneer worldwide for China, Hong Kong and Asian stamps and postal history. Its founders, Jeffrey Schneider and Cecilia Vong, have over 40 years combined experience, expertise and marketing acumen in the field of Chinese and Asian philately.
With a proven track record of obtaining the best material and highest prices for China, Hong Kong, Korea, Thailand and other Asian stamps, and long-standing personal relationships with the major collectors throughout the World, Interasia Auctions holds twice-a-year auctions in Hong Kong — the Center of Asian philately. These auctions bring together buyers and sellers from Asia, North America and Europe, making Interasia Auctions the leading auction firm for China, Hong Kong and Asian stamps and postal history.
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|1914-19 first Peking printing set ½c. to $20
imprint blocks of four
(Lot 739; presale estimate HK$1,000,000-1,200,000)
|Mint set of the 1958 Student Union Congress errors
(Lots 2226; presale estimate HK$850,000-1,000,000)