InterAsia Auctions

Our November 1-4, 2014 auction realises US$ 8.7 million

Our recently concluded November 1-4 auction was another resounding success with a realisation of HK$67,737,875 (US$8,733,646), bringing our total auction sales for 2014 to HK$149,567,275 (US$19,284,215), which far surpasses those of any other auction house and continues to confirm Interasia's place at the forefront of Chinese philately. With over two hundred room bidders from all over Asia, as well as from Europe and the U.S.A., more than sixty telephone bidders, hundreds of written absentee bid sheets, and strong participation through our live-auction internet bidding, there was keen interest at all levels in what continues to be a vibrant market. Another continuing trend was the almost universal collecting interest in Chinese stamps, reflected by buyers literally from around the world, drawn from our unique, unrivalled client list.

Rare and elusive mail from the early Chinese Customs Post saw intense competition with two examples of the "Custom House/Shanghai/Paid" oval datestamp, the first postal marking of the Imperial Chinese Maritime Customs Service, bringing HK$345,000 (US$44,500) and HK$517,500 (US$66,700) respectively, the former struck in red and sent to Paris in 1873 through the British Post Office bearing Hong Kong adhesives, and the latter in the unique blue colour in 1875 and mailed to Massachusetts through the United States Postal Agency in Shanghai (Dr. Bruce J. Lewin collection). A splendid example of the "Customs/Tamsuy" double-ring d.s. in blue on a Hong Kong 1892 postal stationery card to Europe realised a hefty HK$690,000 (US$89,000). Of the ten examples of this Customs dater known to date, this is the unique usage on a Hong Kong postal stationery card. The only recorded example of the "Newchwang Customs/Mail Matte" type I elliptical handstamp on cover fetched HK$1,150,000 (US$148,000) against a presale estimate of HK$400,000.

Among the outstanding realisations in the Classic China were the 1878 (c.) Elephant essay, one of the final designs for the First Customs issue before the Large Dragons were finally adopted, at HK$253,000 (US$32,500), a superb mint example of the 1882 wide margin 5ca. at HK$287,500 (US$37,000), and 1894 Dowager Empress 3ca. vertical imperforate between pair contained in a marginal strip of five finishing at HK$241,500 (US$31,000). An exceptional 1881 Large Dragons-Hong Kong combination cover from Newchwang to England franked at the 11 candarins rate from the famous Bandinel correspondence fetched HK$920,000 (US$118,500). The thirteen Small Dragons envelopes were all fiercely fought over, with the 1890 Small Dragons-Hong Kong redirected envelope making HK$575,000 (US$74,000), 1892 Small Dragons-Hong Kong incoming postal stationery card to North China realising HK$437,000 (US$56,000), and the 1898 Korea Customs Post Jenchuan usage finishing at HK$368,000 (US$47,500).

Postal Stationery again proved popular with an 1898 I.C.P. 1c. card to London bearing Red Revenue large figures 2c. on 3c. in combination with Hong Kong 2c. and taxed for underpayment of postage realising HK$184,000 (US$23,750), and an 1898 I.C.P. 1c. card from Chefoo to Bolivia bearing I.C.P. 4c. in combination with U.S. 1c. pair cancelled at the U.S. Postal Agency in Shanghai (Dr. Bruce J. Lewin collection) fetching HK$195,500 (US$25,000). An unique offering of the first and second issue of the Airmails in complete sheets brought HK$85,100 (US$11,000).

A marathon almost non-stop 15 hour session on the second day featuring the People's Republic of China and Liberated Areas concluded just before 1:00 am and saw astounding prices for the Liberated Areas. Indeed, it was the most comprehensive offering of this subject seen in years, being replete with rarities. The star item of the auction and most important stamp of the Chinese Red Post, the 1931 Jiangxi Directorate General of Red Post 1c. rose-red on newsprint (Yang RP9), the only recorded example issued by the Chinese Soviet Republic, saw a record realisation of HK$ 3,220,000 (US$415,000). The very rare 1932 Red Army Attacking and Marching series (Yang SP8-SP10) of the Chinese Soviet Post brought staggering prices: the 8c. brown HK$172,500 (US$22,000), the 8c. blue HK$322,000 (US$41,500) and the 30c. blue-black HK$598,000 (US$77,000). Among the extensive groups of postal history, a South West China Local Post 1950 Si-Chong surcharge on Dr. Sun Yat-sen Silver Yuan $800 on $20 blue (Yang LSW57) strip of three on cover to the U.S.A. from the Covell correspondence realised HK$207,000 (US$26,700).

The People's Republic of China saw the 1958 Students Union Congress 8f. and 22f. unused errors with incorrect inscriptions change hands at HK$1,150,000 (US$148,000). An unused part original gum example of the ever-popular "Whole Country is Red" 8f. realised HK$ 690,000 (US$89,000). The complete sheets were sought after, with the 1968 Directives of Chairman Mao (W10) selling for HK$483,000 (US$62,000) and the finer of two Year of the Monkey sheets (T46) at HK$1,380,000 (US$178,000).

The second part of the Elling O. Eide collection of the Local Posts of China brought HK$4,822,000 (US$621,000), resulting in a total realisation for the two sales of Professor Eide's specialised collection of just over HK$9,000,000 (US$1,160,000). This time, there was a distinct emphasis on the original artwork, essays and proofs for the stamps. The pair of Chungking 1896 surcharge essays for the second issue postal stationery card from the Sir Percival David soared to HK$310,500 (US$40,000). The Chungking 1894 redrawn lithographed composite essay of the 2 candarins by R.A. de Villard, and also from the David collection, brought a phenomenal HK$402,500 (US$52,000), and the four exquisite artist drawings and handpainted essays for Ichang from the De La Rue archives were acquired by the same buyer for HK$363,400 (US$46,850) following fierce competition. A magnificent Wuhu Local Post/Hong Kong registered combination cover (ex James Riddell) in the General Sale fetched HK$ 230,000 (US$30,000). The ninety lots of Tibet realised HK$945,000 (US$122,000).

Dr. Bruce J. Lewin's specialised collection of the U.S. Influence in China with mails to and from China and the U.S.A., which included many items that had not been on the market in years, was extensively competed over, realising HK$3,166,000 against a presale estimate of HK$1,400,000. Keen competition among bidders from Asia, the U.S.A., and Europe, confirmed the American collector's decision to sell the collection through Interasia in Hong Kong rather than in the U.S. Among the stellar realisations, we had already singled out the 1875 "Customs House/Shanghai/Paid" oval datestamp in blue at a staggering HK$517,500 (US$66,750) and the uprated 1897 I.C.P. stationery card to Bolivia through the U.S. Postal Agency in Shanghai at HK$195,500, which Dr. Lewin had purchased in our first Interasia auction. The rare Shanghai U.S. Agency registration labels were similarly enthusiastically competed over, highlighted by the rarest one on a tricolour Trans-Mississippi franking which brought HK$126,500. The two covers originating in the U.S. Postal Agency in Tientsin with the extremely rare Agency's oval dater each realised HK$97,750, while the Local Post/U.S. Agency combinations were likewise strongly contested for and brought exceptional realisations, often selling for 3-4 times the estimates.

The Hong Kong and Treaty Ports stamps and postal history, which spanned all five reigns with highly specialised material throughout, concluded the four day auction, as well as reaffirming the continued welcome strong interest in the area. The star item - the iconic 96c. olive-bistre mint (ex William Frazer, albeit reperforated) - exchanged hands after the auction for HK$333,500, highlighting the very strong Queen Victoria section. There was particularly keen interest in the rare cancellations and watermark varieties, with the CC watermark 18c. mint reversed watermark (ex Richard Chan) bringing HK$138,000. The K.E.VII group of thirteen colour trials offered in three lots were likewise fiercely competed over bringing HK$119,600, nearly doubling the presale estimate, while the extensive Queen Elizabeth II section similarly saw fervent bidding, realising HK$862,500 against a presale estimate of HK$471,500. This was epitomised by the unique 1968 Sea Craft 10c. missing colours error requisition number pair (HK$63,250) and the Annigoni glazed paper $10 requisition block of six (HK$172,500). The postal history was similarly appreciated, anchored by the outstanding maritime mail collection. The Treaty Ports postal history and cancellations concluded the sale, with the outstanding Shanghai portion alone producing many noteworthy prices. The 1856 Shanghae Crown handstamp (the most recent addition to the records of the seventeen covers bearing this handstamp recorded by the Hong Kong Philatelic Society) brought HK$172,500, the 1864 tricolour franking with the unwatermarked 96c. was heavily competed over at HK$97,750, and the 1875 insufficiently paid envelope to Munich with the exceedingly rare usage of the "G.B./40c." accountancy mark made an astonishing HK$241,500, after fierce bidding between a room and an internet bidder.

All realisations include the 15% buyer's premium.

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