InterAsia Auctions



Sale 72

The Jane and Dan Sten Olsson Collection of Large Dragons Sale 4


Essays and Proofs
 
 
 

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Lot 1 E China, The Elephant Design (Unaccepted) : Imperforate plate proof of 5 cash black on thin native laid paper, rough perforation 12½, horizontal pair [71-72] with sheet margin at left, excellent colour and sharp impression on this delicate paper which has remarkably retained its overall freshness, well centred with intact perforations, very fine state of conservation for this rare and elusive essay.
Estimate HK$ 200,000 - 250,000


Provenance: Sir Percival David, Robson Lowe (London), 4.10.1967, lot 3. This was a block of fifteen with sheet margin at left, which was subsequently split up over the years into blocks, strips, pairs and singles. The lot offered above emanates from this block, originally having been the lower left pair. The lower left marginal horizontal strip of four taken from the original block was in the Giulio Mochi collection (David Feldman, 24.10.1984, lot 40552) and then further split into two pairs in the "Ming" collection.
"Ming", Corinphila (Zurich), 25.3.1987, lot 4734.

References: Sir Percival David, "Sketches, Essays, and Proofs of China's First Issue," The London Philatelist, Vol. VIII, No. 676 (March, 1949), pp. 33-37.
Jeffrey S. Schneider, "Plating the Elephant Essay", Journal of China Philately, Vol. 1 (2006), pp. 262-266.
Dr. Ji Sun, "The Elephant Essay Resurfaces after 100 Years," The China Clipper, Vol. 74, No. 6 (June, 2008), pp. 231-233.
Zhao Yue and Dr. Jeffrey Schneider, "A Study of the Elephant Essay as the Proofs of the Large Dragon Issue," Jiyou, No. 27 (Beijing, 2018), pp. 188-195.

From our records of multiples, we have reconstructed a left sheet margin block of fifty (10 x 5) from blocks of twenty-five, fifteen, six and four. These represent the bottom half of the sheet of one hundred. The blocks of fifteen and six were subsequently split into lesser multiples and singles. We have no record of any examples which do not originate from these blocks.

Research indicates that these essays were printed in the sheet format of one hundred, of which only fifty perforated examples have survived.
  Realized HK$747,500
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Lot 2 E China, Essay of Accepted Design with "Extra Circle" : Large Dragon 3ca. brown-red imperforate on thin wove paper, horizontal pair [4-5] with 21mm. sheet margin at top and 8mm. sheet margin at right, large margins on the other two sides, slightly contrasting impressions with right stamp displaying a near perfect impression with heavy "bite" showing on reverse as is characteristic for such a corner example and the "decoupage" (make ready) utilised, faint toning on reverse barely discernable from front, light vertical crease crossing left stamp and diagonal bend in margin at top right corner well clear of stamp, very fine and a rare essay on thin paper.
Estimate HK$ 40,000 - 50,000


The largest recorded multiples are blocks of four, of which three have survived, in addition to three pairs.

Using multiples and two marginal singles, we have reconstructed twenty-three of the twenty-five positions on the sheet. It appears that there were only two sheets of this essay printed on thin paper.
  Realized HK$109,250
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Lot 3 E China, Essay of Accepted Design with "Extra Circle" : Large Dragon 5ca. yellow-ochre imperforate on thin wove paper, horizontal pair [2-3] with 8mm. sheet margin at top, large even margins on the other sides, sharp highly detailed impression showing pronounced "bite" on reverse, lovely fresh pastel-like yellow colour, trivial creasing, very fine and an exquisite example of this rare essay.
Estimate HK$ 60,000 - 80,000


Provenance: Godfrey Mellor, Robson Lowe (London), 15.5.1969, lot 2128
Paul Hock, Robson Lowe (Zurich), 19.10.1983, lot 12
"Ming", Corinphila (Zurich), 25.3.1987, lot 4738.

Two complete sheets of twenty-five are known.

From various multiples and three marginal singles, we have been able to reconstruct twenty-four positions of another sheet, and, with different inkings, as well as the two intact complete sheets, it appears as if there were four sheets produced in this colour.
  Realized HK$138,000
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Lot 4 P China, Proofs : Large Dragon with Extra Circle removed 1ca. dark green imperforate on thin wove ungummed paper, Setting II, an astounding block of four [1-12/7-21] with 7.5mm. sheet margin at left and 10mm. sheet margin at top, constant small dot of printing ink in sheet margin above cliché [12] and typical misalignment of the clichés in the second row, extraordinarily deep colour and characteristic overinked impression, on bright white paper, large to huge margins, extremely fine and choice. A veritable gem.
Estimate HK$ 250,000 - 300,000


Provenance: Richard Canman, Stanley Gibbons (London), 19.10.1972, lot 89
Philip Ireland, Christie's Robson Lowe (Zurich), 25.5.1989, lot 2098.

ONE OF ONLY THREE BLOCKS RECORDED IN THIS COLOUR FROM SETTING II.

This is a distinctly rich dark shade. Our reconstruction of eighteen of the twenty-five positions shows very poor alignment of the clichés in the second row. From the examples found to date, there must have only one sheet of twenty-five printed in this colour. Only three blocks are known to date - a block of nine and two blocks of four. These three blocks all appear to join.
  Realized HK$402,500
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Lot 5 P China, Proofs : Large Dragon with Extra Circle removed 1ca. green imperforate on thin wove ungummed paper, Setting I, a complete sheet of twenty-five, clear bright colour and fine impression on white paper, heavy registration along top and part of left frame lines from the découpage ("make ready"), fine to very fine, inconsequential horizontal bend crosses fourth row of stamps, slight ageing mostly in margin at top and light creasing in outer extremities of top and bottom sheet margins, a magnificent intact well preserved sheet.
Estimate HK$ 500,000 - 600,000


We record the following seven imperforate complete sheets from Setting I :

— E.H. Finegan, Harmer, Rooke (London), 14.10.1937, lot 69; Adolphous Diercking, H.R. Harmer (London), 5.11.1956, lot 6
— Sir Percival David, Robson Lowe (London), 22.7.1970, lot 537
— Robson Lowe (London), 9.2.1971, lot 419; George Alevizos (Santa Monica), 8-9.2.1979, lot 1008; Anna-Lisa and Sven-Eric Beckeman, Lam Man Yin, Interasia (Hong Kong), 26.2.2011, lot 10
— Giulio Mochi, David Feldman (Zurich), 26.10.1984, lot 40559; Anna-Lisa and Sven-Eric Beckeman, Sotheby's and Corinphila (Hong Kong), 7.11.1996, lot A3; Zurich Asia (Hong Kong), 18.3.2016, lot 9
— Dr. Warren G. Attwood, Harmer, Rooke (New York), 7.10.1952, lot 3; Richard Canman, Stanley Gibbons (London), 19.10.1972, lot 177; Philip Ireland, Christie's Robson Lowe (Zurich), 25.5.1989, lot 2035. This is the Olsson sheet offered above.
— Major James Starr, Sotheby's (London), 11.9.1991, lot 4
— Mizuhara Meiso, Spink (Hong Kong), 17.1.2016, lot 1566.
  Realized HK$690,000
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Lot 6 P China, Proofs : Large Dragon with Extra Circle removed 3ca. pale red imperforate on thin wove ungummed paper, Setting III, a complete sheet of twenty-five, clichés [22] show plate variety broken top left corner and [12] typical plate wear to Dragon's right claw, fresh clear colour and highly accomplished uniform impression on white paper, minor discolouration at extremities of outer corners (negligible thinning at top left corner edge) and light creasing mostly in top and bottom margins, fine to very fine and an immensely rare sheet.
Estimate HK$ 700,000 - 900,000


Provenance: Dr. Robert C.H. Lee, J.R. Hughes (San Francisco), 19.11.1963, lot 15
Giulio Mochi, David Feldman (Zurich), 24.10.1984, lot 40569
Anna-Lisa and Sven-Eric Beckeman, Sotheby's and Corinphila (Hong Kong), 7.10.1997, lot C28.

ONLY TWO COMPLETE SHEETS ARE RECORDED FROM SETTING III. THE OTHER SHEET IS FROM THE MAJOR JAMES STARR COLLECTION (SOTHEBY'S, 11.9.1991, LOT 50).

This is the last time cliché 7 was used, since it became defective and had to be discarded.
  Realized HK$2,530,000
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Lot 7 P China, Proofs : Large Dragon with Extra Circle removed 3ca. brown-red imperforate on thin wove ungummed paper, Setting I, horizontal pair [18-19], clear bright colour, sharp refined impression, good to large margins, very fine.
Estimate HK$ 25,000 - 30,000
  Realized HK$23,000
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