InterAsia Auctions

Our April 1 – 4, 2017 auction realises US$8.4 million

Interasia's 3,200-lot April 1-4 auction, presenting a full range of China and Hong Kong philately, as well as the major rarities for which Interasia is known, realised a market-leading HK$65,032,787 (US$8,369,000; all realisations include the 15% buyer's premium), well outpacing the HK$44 million pre-sale estimate and far eclipsing all the other auction firms' offerings of China and Hong Kong stamps this year. The auction showed outstanding demand for rare and unusual items, as well as steady to outright strong markets for material across all price levels. For four days, the atmosphere was electric, the interest deep and passionate, the competition fierce, the prices noteworthy. Keen interest in elusive postal history, rare varieties, and scarce blocks and panes often resulted in multiples of the presale estimates. Adding to the interest, the 19th Century markings and postal history of the outports such as Canton and Shanghai, predating the Customs Post, are becoming increasingly important Chinese subjects, whereas formerly these had been included under the umbrella of Hong Kong and Treaty Ports.

The 41-lot selection from the Jane and Dan Sten Olsson collection of Large Dragons, the first of four auctions over which this magnificent and important collection will be sold and presenting a dynamic cross section of these first issues of China, ranging from proofs and essays to the issued stamps to important postal history, kicked off the sale to great interest, alone realising HK$15,068,450 against a presale estimate of HK$8,555,000.

The Early and Customs Mail opened the general sale's China section to great interest for this important early postal history. The 1835 envelope from Canton to Bordeaux bearing one of the eleven recorded "China" straight-line handstamps was keenly competed over, finally selling to a telephone bidder for HK$287,500 (in contrast to another example sold in the Mizuhara sale only 15 months before by another auction firm for HK$168,000).

The undoubted highlight of the 1894 60th Birthday of the Dowager Empress — one of the two recorded extant sets of the Mollendorf printing in complete sheets of twenty-five (illustrated in Prize Selections from the Rocpex Taipei '81) — realised HK$1,725,000. Complete panes of twenty-five of the first printing 12ca. and 24ca. brought HK$632,500 and HK$345,000 respectively, while a wonderful array of covers likewise showed dramatic realisations.

Highlights of the 1897 New Currency surcharges included a strong postal history section, with the 1896 (Dec.) incoming envelope from France to Peking from the Doire correspondence bearing a small figures 2c. on 2ca. applied in Shanghai during the January 1897 transitional period before official issuance of the surcharged stamps soaring to HK$460,000 (presale estimate HK$150,000) and the remarkable 1897 registered red-band envelope from Shanghai to Peking bearing the large figures 2.5mm. surcharge on Dowager 1st printing 2c. on 2ca. pair and single bringing HK$1,725,000.

Choice panes of various values of the 1897 Red Revenue surcharges continued the themes of significant multiples garnering substantial interest and strong prices prevalent throughout the Ching Dynasty offering, with the reconstructed pane of 25 of the large figures 4c. bringing HK$402,500 (presale estimate HK$220,000).

The specialised collections of Japanese Post Offices in China, Russia Civil War issues and the Allied Intervention in North Russia and Siberia formed by Dr. Hiroshi Yoshikawa brought considerable interest to the Foreign Post Offices offering.

There were also fine sections of Chinese Provinces, Taiwan, and Local Posts which saw strong competition.

The extensive postal stationery included an extraordinary I.C.P. card to Shenzhen showing a "Nam-Tau" non-standard bilingual c.d.s. and a "No. 4 Namtau/Shenzhen" framed handstamp which was fiercely competed for, ultimately selling for HK$175,500 (presale estimate HK$40,000). The specialised collection of the 1907 C.I.P. third issue was very well received, with many scarcer usages selling for multiples of the estimate and the used double card variety folded at right bringing HK$184,000 (presale estimate HK$80,000).

The results of the almost 500-lot People's Republic offering reflected a stronger and healthier market, with many surprisingly strong results given the relative weakness of this area in recent years, as well as demonstrating the continuing trend of substantial price differentials for the earlier issues based upon quality.

Hong Kong and Treaty Ports constituted the fourth day of the auction. The almost 700 lot session realised a total of HK$7,137,475 (presale estimate HK$4,032,800). Combining the "K. Ashleigh" collection of Queen Victoria multiples and surcharges, and the first part of Nick Halewood's award-winning collection of King George VI Definitives, as well as his Queen Elizabeth 1954-62 Wilding Definitives, the day represented the finest offering of Hong Kong stamps at auction probably since the sale of Richard Chan's collection in 2003-04. The Queen Victoria varieties and multiples proved very popular, while the results for Nick Halewood's K.G.VI were truly astounding. The K.G.VI die proofs for the issue realised between HK$69,000 and HK$80,500 each, smashing previous records, and keen competition for scarce and rare requisition blocks likewise resulted in extraordinary realisations. The highlight of the postal history — the 1858 "Shanghae Post Office Paid" Crown handstamp to Bolton from the Ashworth correspondence brought a record HK$483,000.

Finally, the Other Asian Countries included the final part of Dr. Maeda's Gold Medal North Korea collection. The Korea offering, including some Empire postal history in addition to North Korea, realised over HK$800,000.

Our next auction will take place in December 2017. If it is time to sell your collection, or you have a collection or individual items you are no longer interested in, don't hesitate to contact us and take advantage of our preeminent market position, worldwide customer list, extensive advertising and promotion, renowned expertise and unrivalled reputation. We are, of course, always available to answer your philatelic questions and help you with your philatelic needs.

Thank you again for your participation in the auction. Our best wishes for the coming spring and summer.

All realisations include the 15% buyer's premium.

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