InterAsia Auctions

September 23-26, 2011 Auction Realizes HK$98 Million
Establishing New World Record for Chinese Stamps

Our September 23-26 auction in Hong Kong was our most successful ever, with the almost 3,600-lot sale of Chinese and Hong Kong stamps and postal history realizing over HK$98 million (US$12.6 million) and establishing a new world record for an auction of Chinese stamps and postal history. The auction confirmed that notwithstanding the financial and economic uncertainties in the Western economies, Chinese stamps have not been affected, with almost across-the-board spectacular results with many world record prices, highlighting Chinese stamps as the most popular in the world today. Among the staggering world records, the 1897 Red Revenue Small Figures 4c. double surcharge brought HK$2,185,000 (US$280,000), a 1915 Sinkiang $1 transposed characters overprint error in a magnificent strip of three with two normal stamps was sold at HK$2,990,000 (US$383,000), a world record not only for this stamp but for any of the Four Treasures of the Republic, and the 1941 Dr. Sun Yat-sen inverted center brought HK$1,725,000 (US$221,000) whereas a similar example only a year ago had realized HK$1,035,000 (US$133,000).

The auction also showcased the stamps of the People's Republic, with the 1,300 lot, largest-ever sale of People's Republic stamps, encompassing a day and a half of the auction, establishing new price levels and alone bringing HK$39,282,620 (US$5,040,000), with, for example, a mint example of the 1962 Mei Lanfang souvenir sheet realizing a staggering HK$368,000 (US$47,200) and a complete sheet of the 1980 Year of the Monkey reaching a world record HK$1,495,000 (US$191,000).

The following is a more detailed report of our record September 23-26 auction.


The extensive Qing Dynasty offerings were avidly competed over, with many world record prices, reflecting the strong market and vibrant interest in good Chinese stamps and covers. The spectacular realizations for the 140-lot Large Dragon section included a mint set of three of the 1878 Thin Papers realizing a record HK$32,200 (US$4,130), the complete sheet of the 1878 3ca. bringing a staggering HK$483,000 (US$62,000), and the 1881 Large Dragon/Japan Koban 5s. combination envelope to Connecticut selling for HK$1,035,000 (US$132,500). The major offering of 1897 Dowager Surcharge varieties smashed existing world records across the board, with, for example, the Small Figures 1c. on 1ca. inverted surcharge unused examples bringing HK$345,000 (US$44,000) and HK$460,000 (US$59,000), the Small Figures 4c. on 4ca. imperf between used horizontal pair realizing HK$368,000 (US$47,000), and the Large Figures 2.5mm setting on the First Printing 1/2c. on 3ca. used surcharge inverted bringing HK$299,000 (US$38,000). The ever-popular 1897 Red Revenues continued the spectacular realizations, with the superlative unique used sheet margin pair of the Large Figures $5 bringing HK$2,875,000 (US$369,000), the 1898 Remittance Certificate with two Large Figures $5 examples affixed realizing HK$2,415,000 (US$310,000) (against a presale estimate of HK$1,200,000-HK$1,500,000), and a mint example of the Large Figures $1 bringing HK$115,000 (US$14,750), establishing a new world record at auction for this popular stamp.

The phenomenal interest and record prices carried over to the Republic period, with the used $1 Statistical Dept "Republic of China" overprint inverted realizing HK$230,000 (US$29,500), a 1913 London printing set mint bringing an astounding HK$115,000 (US$14,750), and a 1914-19 First Peking printing set unused also bringing HK$115,000 (US$14,750; notwithstanding that the $20 had dried gum), in addition to the extraordinary realizations for the Sinkiang transposed characters error and the Sun Yat-sen invert.

Post-1897 Chinese postal history and postal stationery were likewise avidly sought after, with the marvelous 1898 Coiling Dragon/Indochina registered combination cover from Lungchow to Yen Bay, Tonkin realizing HK$632,500 (US$81,000) and the 1898 I.C.P. official cover from the Customs Post Office in Jenchuan, Korea realizing HK$345,000 (US$44,000). The almost 200 lot Taiwan section reaffirmed the strength of the market for this revived subject.

People's Republic

The world's largest sale of People's Republic likewise produced spectacular results, with substantial interest and keen competition for everything from the popular sets and singles to first day covers and postal history to rarities. The 1951 Tien An Men 5th printing set unused in imprint pairs brought HK$437,000 (US$56,000) and in blocks of four HK$322,000(US$41,000), the 1956 Views of Peking Tien An Men 8f. with background of sun rays used HK$920,000 (US$118,000), and a used set of the two 1958 Student Union Congress inscription errors HK$1,092,500 (US$140,000). Among the later issues, a mint 1962 Mei Lanfang souvenir sheet realized HK$368,000 (US$47,200), shattering the world auction record - compared to only HK$63,250 a fine example of this popular sheet realized a little over two years ago, the iconic 1968 "Whole Country is Red" used brought HK$747,500 (US$95,800), and a complete sheet of 80 of the 1980 Year of the Monkey soared to a new world record at auction of HK$1,495,000 (US$191,000).

Hong Kong and Treaty Ports

Hong Kong and Treaty Ports also saw significant interest, with in the Hong Kong stamps a used example of the 1898 10c. on 30c. with additional Chinese character with "10 Cents" double bringing HK$92,000 (US$11,800), the set of proofs of the 1954 Queen Elizabeth II Definitives realizing HK$172,500 (US$22,100), and the 1912 photo bromide of the 10c. stamp for the registered envelope HK$46,000 (US$5,900). The "Nostalgia" special collection of Hong Kong and China printed matter usages saw keen interest, realizing 190% of its presale estimate, with the 1864 printed circular from Foochow to Russia bringing HK$264,500 (US$33,900; presale estimate HK$120,000-HK$150,000), the 1861 printed circular from Kanagawa to Batavia showing the earliest-recorded serifed "Shanghai/Paid" finally realizing HK$230,000 (US$29,500; versus a presale estimate of HK$80,000-100,000), and the 1868 printed wrapper (with contents) from the U.S. Agency in Shanghai to Connecticut with the U.S. 2c. Black Jack bringing HK$195,500 (US$25,000; against a presale estimate of HK$90,000-120,000). Treaty Ports likewise had a significant following, with considerable interest in the cancellations and remarkable realizations for the covers, including an 1846 entire from the Philippines to Spain showing the Hong Kong "Too Late" mark sold for HK$333,500 (US$42,750) - against a pre-sale estimate of HK$85,000-HK$110,000.

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