InterAsia Auctions



Sale 78

Asian Stamps & Postal History


Large Dragons
 
 
 

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Lot 36 E China, 1878 Large Dragon 5ca. brownish ochre on thin wove paper, trial perforation (rough) 12½, a complete sheet of twenty-five with only a trivial portion of the lower right selvedge missing, rich deep mustard colour with a few tiny black specks in the ink which are characteristic of the lack of proper ink mixture in this colour, on brilliant white paper, the combination of its delicate constituency and the heaviness of the blanket for the "make-ready" resulting in a heavy impression as well as pronounced "bite" on reverse, creased/folded in both top and lower margins as well as across the lower row of stamps. Irrefutably the most important of all the essays for the Large Dragon stamps, and the only perforated essay extant.
Estimate HK$ 2,000,000 - 2,500,000


Provenance: Sir Robert Hart
Sir Percival David, Robson Lowe (Basel), 22.10.1970, lot 536
Giulio Mochi, David Feldman (Zurich), 24.10.1984, lot 40557
Anna-Lisa and Sven-Eric Beckeman, Sotheby's & Corinphila (Hong Kong), 7.10.1997, lot C68.
  Realized HK$4,140,000
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Lot 37 P China, 1878 Large Dragon 3ca. brown-red imperforate on thin wove ungummed paper, Setting I, block of four [16-17/21-22] with 7.5mm. sheet margin at left and 8mm. sheet margin at foot, bright colour and sharp impression on crisp white paper, good to huge margins, extremely fine and fresh.
Estimate HK$ 90,000 - 120,000


Provenance: Giulio Mochi, David Feldman (Geneva), 24.10.1984, lot 40565.

This block represents one of the more accomplished proof impressions in terms of refined printing.
  Realized HK$103,500
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Lot 38 E China, 1878 Large Dragon 5ca. rose imperforate proof on thin wove paper (26 x 31mm.), highly detailed impression and exquisite colour of the quintessential freshness within large balanced margins, microscopic picked out inclusion in right vertical tablet endemic to such delicate paper, extremely fine and of the utmost rarity and desirability in this colour.
Estimate HK$ 250,000 - 300,000


Provenance: Sir Percival David, Robson Lowe (London), 22.7.1970, lot 6
Giulio Mochi, David Feldman (Zurich), 24.10.1984, lot 40553
Anna-Lisa and Sven-Eric Beckeman, Sotheby's & Corinphila (Hong Kong), 15.5.1997, lot B56.

THE FINER OF THE TWO RECORDED 5 CANDARINS ESSAYS IN THE ROSE COLOUR.
  Realized HK$667,000
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Lot 39 P China, 1878 Large Dragon 5ca. yellow-ochre imperforate on thin wove paper, Setting I, block of four [4-5/9-10], deep bright colour, "hard" print with heavier frame line at top as well as right resulting from uneven pressure of the printing plate, the lack of consistency in the printing best typified by the impression of the top left corner of [10], very fine and an exceptionally rare multiple of this proof.
Estimate HK$ 350,000 - 400,000


Provenance: E.H. Finegan, Harmer Rooke (London), 14.10.1937, lot 75
Sir Percival David, Robson Lowe (London), 22.7.1970, lot 1
Giulio Mochi, David Feldman (Zurich), 24.10.1984, lot 40574
Anna-Lisa and Sven-Eric Beckeman, Sotheby's & Corinphila (Hong Kong), 15.5.1997, lot B58.

THE LARGEST SURVIVING MULTIPLE IS A BLOCK OF FOUR. THERE ARE ONLY THREE BLOCKS OF FOUR RECORDED.

A BLOCK OF FOUR FROM THE TOP LEFT CORNER OF THE SHEET IN THE OLSSON COLLECTION WAS OFFERED IN OUR 16 JUNE 2018 AUCTION (LOT 8) AND REALISED HK$667,000.

Proofs of the 5 candarins are only known from this Setting. No complete sheets have been recorded. The largest multiple known to date is a block of four. From our records of surviving multiples, there were at least three sheets of twenty-five printed (we know of three different pairs from positions [14-15]). One sheet was overinked (cf. marginal pair [6-7], ex James Senior, Robson Lowe, 6.10.1971, lot 1232), thereby necessitating the printing of other sheets.
  Realized HK$632,500
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Lot 40 China, 1878 Large Dragon thin paper 1ca. to 5ca., bright fresh colours, fine to very fine unused with large part to much original gum, the 1ca. has a few faintly foxed perfs. Chan 1-3.
Estimate HK$ 8,000 - 10,000
  Realized HK$17,250
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Lot 41 /() China, 1878 Large Dragon thin paper 1ca. to 5ca., excellent colours, well centred, fine and fresh unused without gum (the 1ca. has part gum), the 3ca. shows plate wear to Dragon's right claw and the 5ca. has a lightly foxed perf. at foot. Chan 1-3.
Estimate HK$ 7,000 - 9,000
  Realized HK$17,250
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Lot 42 o China, 1878 Large Dragon thin paper 1ca. yellow-green, 3ca. brown-red, and 5ca. orange-bistre, rough perfs., each cancelled by part "Customs/Tientsin" double-ring d.s. clearly showing "78" year dates, the last two with practically complete "Dec 2 78" and "(De)c 30 78" legible dates, mainly fine, the 5ca. has light staining on reverse which is only just visible at top on front. An appealing matched set of first year dates. Chan 1a, 2, 3.
Estimate HK$ 12,000 - 15,000


Provenance: The 3ca. initialed (Lyons) Livingston.
  Unsold
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Lot 43 China, 1878 Large Dragon thin paper 3ca. brown-red, Setting I, block of four [6-7/11-12] with sheet margin at left, [12] shows characteristic plate wear to Dragon's lower right claw, delicate pastel-like shade, right vertical pair shows one unpunched perforation between stamps (interrupted perf.), very fine and fresh mint, three stamps are unmounted (never hinged), one faintly foxed perf. and minor creasing in sheet margin only. A lovely block. Chan 2.
Estimate HK$ 20,000 - 25,000
  Realized HK$46,000
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Lot 44 o China, 1878 Large Dragon thin paper 5ca. yellow-orange, rough perfs., deep bright colour, well centred, centrally cancelled by "Customs/Newchwang" double-ring d.s. of "Dec 28 78", very fine example of this rare 1878 first year cancellation. Chan 3.
Estimate HK$ 20,000 - 25,000


Expertisation: B.P.A. certificate (2017).
  Unsold
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Lot 45 o China, 1878 Large Dragon thin paper 5ca. orange, an used selection (5) of shades and impressions, one cancelled by Chefoo seal and another with part Customs dater, mainly fine to very fine (5). Chan 3.
Estimate HK$ 6,000 - 8,000
  Realized HK$9,200
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Lot 46 China, 1882 Large Dragon wide margin 1ca. to 5ca., of fine to very fine appearance unused with much original gum, the 1ca. has light overall toning and a few shortish perfs., the 3ca. has largely glazed gun, and the 5ca. (signed "AD" in pencil) has much original gum except for a faintly toned perf. and a light corner crease at lower left corner. Chan 4-6.
Estimate HK$ 40,000 - 50,000
  Realized HK$46,000
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Lot 47 China, 1882 Large Dragon wide margin 1ca. green, Setting III, block of six [22-17/23-10/24-19] from the top right corner of the sheet with 3mm. sheet margin at top, lovely pale green shade, very fine and fresh unused with much original gum, central horizontal crease, a few light bends and lower left stamp has traces of rust on reverse. An impressive multiple. Chan 4.
Estimate HK$ 50,000 - 60,000


Provenance: H.R. Harmer (London), 19.6.1963, lot 498
Paul Hock, Christie's Robson Lowe (Zurich), 19.10.1983, lot 91
"Ming", Corinphila (Zurich), 21.3.1987, lot 4752.
  Realized HK$66,700
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Lot 48 o China, 1882 Large Dragon wide margin 1ca. to 5ca., cancelled by seals, mainly fine, the 1ca. and 5ca. have minor faults. Chan 4-6.
Estimate HK$ 5,000 - 6,000
  Realized HK$6,900
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Lot 49 o China, 1882 Large Dragon wide margin 3ca. brown-red and 5ca. yellow-ochre (2), cancelled by seals, fine to very fine appearance, two have small faults, one 5ca. is sound. Chan 5, 6.
Estimate HK$ 6,000 - 8,000
  Realized HK$9,775
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Lot 50 o China, 1882 Large Dragon wide margin 5ca. yellow-ochre, clear bright colour, particularly well centred, cancelled by two part strikes of Customs double-ring d.s. leaving almost all of Dragon free, minute thin spot at top, nevertheless very fine. Chan 6.
Estimate HK$ 3,500 - 4,000
  Unsold
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Lot 51 o China, 1882 Large Dragon wide margin 5ca. yellow-ochre, deep bright colour, cancelled by Customs double-ring d.s., small thin spot at top right, otherwise very fine. Chan 6.
Estimate HK$ 3,500 - 4,000
  Realized HK$4,025
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Lot 52 /() China, 1883-85 Large Dragon thick paper 1ca. to 5ca., clean-cut perfs., bright colours, well centred, fine unused, the 1ca. and 3ca. have part to much original gum, the 3ca. and 5ca. with a few lightly foxed perfs. Chan 7-9.
Estimate HK$ 10,000 - 12,000
  Realized HK$20,700
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Lot 53 () China, 1883-85 Large Dragon thick paper 1ca. to 5ca., rough perfs., mainly fine and fresh unused, the 5ca. has trace of soiling at left resulting in slight discolouration of frame. Chan 10-12.
Estimate HK$ 6,000 - 8,000
  Realized HK$12,650
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Lot 54 /o China, 1883-85 Large Dragon thick paper 3ca. vermilion on thick soft wove paper, the second and third reserve clichés [27] and [28], the former with rough perfs. resembling 1885 issue and black small seal cancellation, the latter has large hole private perforation 8 and repaired top right corner, a fine appearing set of these very rare clichés which are not known in any Setting and, therefore, are only believed to exist in proof form. These are offered on a hypothetical basis, emanating from the study of a vast multitude of Large Dragon 3 candarins stamps. From the Beckeman collection.
Estimate HK$ 8,000 - 10,000


The second and third reserve clichés are relatively crude productions probably made toward the end of the Large Dragon issue. The proofs were struck side-by-side on the same sheetlet produced on a thick coarse manila paper. Only three such composite die proofs have been recorded. The two stamps (proofs) offered here might emanate from different sheetlets due to their contrasting shades and length of perforations at right and left sides respectively, since the proof impressions were struck close together. The two clichés are unmistakable : [27] is a "small" stamp with noticeable frame breaks at top and the top right, and [28] has a dot in margin outside the top left frame line, dot in lower right corner of the top left tablet, and a break in horizontal line over the "3" at lower right.
  Unsold
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Lot 55 o China, 1878-85 Large Dragon 1ca. to 5ca., bright colours, well centred, cancelled by seals or Customs dater, comprising thin paper 1ca., and 1885 thick paper, rough perfs., 3ca. and 5ca. (light diagonal bend), fine to very fine. Chan 1, 11, 12.
Estimate HK$ 4,000 - 5,000
  Realized HK$6,900
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Lot 56 o China, 1878-85 Large Dragon 1ca. to 5ca., good colours, well centred, cancelled by seals (two in blue), comprising thin paper 3ca., and 1883-85 thick paper, clean-cut perfs., 1ca., and rough perfs. 5ca. the first two have minor tones or small faults, fine to very fine. Chan 2, 7, 12.
Estimate HK$ 4,000 - 5,000
  Realized HK$8,050
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Lot 57 o China, Large Dragons : An used selection, comprising 1878 1ca. to 5ca., and 1883-85 1ca. and 3ca., cancelled by seals, good to fine appearance, faults. Chan 1-3b, 7, 11.
Estimate HK$ 5,000 - 6,000
  Realized HK$8,050
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Lot 58 China, 1883 (11 Apr.) envelope to P.A. Pichot, the Director of the Revue Britannique in Paris (28.5) bearing on reverse Large Dragons 1878 thin paper 1ca. and 1882 wide margins 5ca., centrally cancelled by Peking seal in blue, matching "I.G. of Customs/Peking" double-ring origin d.s. of "Apl 11 83", "Customs/Tientsin" double-ring transit d.s. of "Apl 12 83", "Customs/Shanghai" double-ring transit d.s. of "Apl 18 83" alongside, and on front France Peace and Commerce 25c. bistre on straw pair, cancelled by "Shang-hai/Chine" c.d.s. (18.4) and showing "Modane à Paris" French entry c.d.s. (28.5) in red adjacent, with "Paris 1/(Distribon)" arrival c.d.s. on reverse, the French stamps have small faults and the envelope is opened out for display, with an insignificant corner of flap missing, very fine mixed issue franking. Chan 1, 6.
Estimate HK$ 150,000 - 200,000


References: James B. Whang, A Comprehensive Illustration on Covers of Chinese Large Dragons (Taipei: Whang's Philatelic Foundation, 1997), pp. 349-350.

The 6 candarins double rate with Large Dragon stamps and French adhesives both applied in Peking at time of posting in order to prepay the domestic and foreign postage with their respective stamps.

The recipient's docketing refers to the arrival of Chinese troops at Tonkin, placement on a war footing, fortification of Petchili, and the opinion of the diplomats.

Auction Record
Heinrich Köhler (Wiesbaden), 8.2.1995, lot 6150.
  Realized HK$172,500
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Lot 59 China, 1885 (21 Jan.) envelope to New York (15.3) "Via San Francisco" bearing on reverse 1885 Large Dragons thick paper 3ca. brown-red, rough perfs., cancelled by Tientsin type 3 seal, matching "Customs/Tientsin" double-ring origin d.s. and "Customs/Shanghai" double-ring transit d.s. (2.2) on reverse, and on front Japan Koban 5s. blue, cancelled by "crossroads" type, showing "I.J.P.A./Shanghai" (12.2) and "Yokohama" (19.2) c.d.s. adjacent, with "New York/Paid All" arrival d.s. on reverse, carried on the winter overland service from Tientsin to Shanghai, the envelope opened out for display and a few small cover faults including small patched area at lower right, fine to very fine and appealing usage. Chan 11.
Estimate HK$ 200,000 - 250,000


Provenance: Richard Canman, Stanley Gibbons (London), 19.10.1972, lot 317
Giulio Mochi, David Feldman (Geneva), 24.10.1984, lot 40628
Anna-Lisa and Sven-Eric Beckeman, Sotheby's and Corinphila (Hong Kong), 15.5.1997, lot B92.

References: A Select Collection of Large Dragon Stamps and Postmarks (Taipei: Directorate General of Posts, 1981), p. 66. Illustrated.
James B. Whang, A Comprehensive Illustration on Covers of Chinese Large Dragons (Taipei: Whang's Philatelic Foundation, 1997), p. 457. Illustrated.

THE TIENTSIN TYPE 3 SEAL ON COVER IS RARE, SINCE IT WAS ONLY IN USE FOR ABOUT A YEAR.

The 3 candarins single rate with China and Japan adhesives both applied in Tientsin at the time of posting by the sender in order to prepay the domestic and foreign postage.

The preferential rate to the U.S.A. through the Japanese Post Office was 5 sen. The sender affixed a 3 candarins stamp to pay the domestic postage to Shanghai and his own Japan 5 sen stamp for transmission through the Japanese Post Office. Standard procedure was to affix 6 candarins of Chinese stamps at the post office through which the letter was being sent and in exchange for this the equivalent amount of foreign stamps would be applied by the Customs Post Office. Thus, there would be no domestic postage to pay.
  Realized HK$310,500
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Lot 60 China, 1885 (20 Apr.) envelope to London (2.6) via Shanghai Customs (23.4) bearing on reverse 1883 Large Dragons thick paper, clean-cut perfs., 1ca. green, Setting V, horizontal strip of three [11-19-20] and single and 5ca. lemon-yellow, cancelled by Chefoo seal in black, matching "Customs/Chefoo" double-ring d.s. alongside, the 5ca. additionally tied by "Customs/Shanghai" double-ring transit d.s. (23.4), in combination with France 25c. bistre on straw (creased), cancelled by "Shang-hai/Chine" c.d.s. (24.4), one 1ca. [20] is crossed by filing fold and has a defective corner. A fine and exceptional franking paying the 9 candarins overseas rate. Chan 7, 9.
Estimate HK$ 450,000 - 550,000


Provenance: H.B.R. Clarke, Robson Lowe (London), 22.4.1953, lot 48
Dr. Warren G. Kauder, Robson Lowe (London), 2.5.1972, lot 62
James Huangco
Chen Sun-Sing
James B. Whang, Christie's Swire (Hong Kong), 2.11.1994, lot 1830
Wen Sun Kong, Interasia (Hong Kong), 29.6.2003, lot B8.

References: James B. Whang, A Comprehensive Illustration on Covers of the Large Dragons (Taipei, 1997), pp. 473-474. Illustrated.
Customs Dater (1875-1913). Taipei : Philatelic Writers' Club, 2008, pp. 29-30. Illustrated.

THERE ARE ONLY THREE LARGE DRAGON COVERS RECORDED FROM CHEFOO TO AN OVERSEAS DESTINATION, AND THIS IS BY FAR THE FINEST OF THESE.
  Realized HK$690,000
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Lot 61 China, 1887 (9 Jan.) printed envelope to Copenhagen, Denmark (2.2) bearing on reverse 1885 Large Dragons thick paper, rough perfs., 1ca. green and 5ca. chrome-yellow, and 1885 Small Dragon rough perf. 12½ 3ca. mauve, tied by two superb strikes of "Customs/Chinkiang" double-ring d.s., showing "Customs/Shanghai" double-ring transit d.s. (10.1) and arrival c.d.s. adjacent, and on front France Peace and Commerce 25c. cancelled by "Shang-hai/Chine" c.d.s. (11.1), opened out for display, extremely fine tri-colour mixed issue franking paying the 9 candarins rate to Europe through the French Post Office. An absolutely wonderful cover of the highest magnitude and exhibition calibre. Chan 10, 12, 17.
Estimate HK$ 1,000,000 - 1,200,000


Provenance: Anna-Lisa and Sven-Eric Beckeman, Interasia (Hong Kong), 26.2.2011, lot 239.

References: James B. Whang, A Comprehensive Illustration on Covers of the Large Dragons (Taipei, 1997), pp. 531-532.

LESS THAN TEN LARGE DRAGON-SMALL DRAGON MIXED ISSUE COVERS ARE KNOWN.

IRREFUTABLY ACKNOWLEDGED TO BE IN THE TOP ECHELON OF LARGE DRAGON COVERS AND AMONG THE GREATEST OF THE WORLD'S MIXED ISSUE FRANKINGS, SINCE IT BEARS THE FIRST AND SECOND ISSUES OF CHINA.

Auction Record
Christie's Robson Lowe (Zurich), 23.11.1989, lot 2027.
  Realized HK$1,380,000
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