InterAsia Auctions

Our December 10-12, 2018 Auction Realises US$9.3 Million

Our second series of auctions this year realised HK$72,813,630 (US$9,317,713; all realisations include the 15% buyer's premium), well exceeding the pre-sale estimate of HK$49,247,850. This brings the total sales for 2018 to HK$151,882,577 (US$19,435,599). Despite the current turmoil in financial markets throughout the world and the underlying economic uncertainties, the auction once again was a vivid affirmation of the strong and vibrant market for Chinese and Hong Kong stamps and postal history, as well as Interasia's unique and unrivalled position as the preeminent auctioneer worldwide for China and Hong Kong, handling the finest, rarest and most desirable items as well as presenting the largest, broadest and most comprehensive auctions of the areas.

The fourth and final dedicated auction of the Jane and Dan Sten Olsson collection of Large Dragons once again kicked off the three day series of sales, with the 56 lots realising HK$13,154,390 against a pre-sale estimate of HK$6,897,000. The total realisation for this outstanding collection, which was offered in five auctions commencing in June 2016, was HK$75,556,840. The essays and proofs featured a marginal pair of the Elephant 5 cash perforated on thin paper, which fetched HK$747,500. An imperforate proof sheet of the 3ca. Setting III, of which only two complete sheets are recorded, brought a staggering HK$2,530,000. Among the issued stamps, a 1ca. vertical imperforate between pair unused with original gum was sold for HK$690,000, while the postal history was also keenly competed for. The 1880 incoming Hancock cover from Lurgan, Ireland to Peking with a 3ca. applied on arrival at Shanghai for onward transmission to northern China realised HK$1,380,000, and the magnificent 1884 combination cover from Ichang to Troy, New York sent through the United States Postal Agency in Shanghai saw fierce competition. By far the finer of the two recorded Large Dragon/U.S.A. combination covers from the Customs Post in Ichang, this postal history gem finished at an impressive HK$3,450,000.

Day One continued with the General Sale, which began with a fine section of postal history from the transitional period between the Customs Post and the inauguration of the Imperial Post. The keen interest in this important postal history period was reflected in the strong realisations. The earliest recorded use of the Tientsin "Postage Paid" handstamp on an 1896 (24 Dec.) corner card envelope from the U.S. Consulate in Tientsin to Peking brought HK$253,000, while the earliest recorded example of the "Chinese Imperial Post Office Postage Paid" handstamp for Peking (30 December 1896) on cover realised HK$368,000. Another example of the Peking handstamp on a registered envelope sent through the French Post Office to the exotic destination of Egypt was sold at an even higher price of HK$437,000. There are twelve covers and a front recorded bearing the 1897 New Currency surcharges used in January 1897 before the official date of issue. An example of the small figures surcharge 4c. on 4ca. used on 18 January on cover from France realised HK$ 346,000. A group of five Large Dragon complete sheets brought an aggregate total of HK$3,657,000, with the 3ca. sheet realising HK$690,000 and the 5ca. sheet rising to HK$1,610,000. A complete interpanneau sheet of forty of the 1ca. with the right pane being the variety imperforate left gutter margin brought HK$368,000. The Red Revenues saw a fine example of the 3c. without surcharge sell for HK$460,000, while two room bidders fought fiercely for the magnificent flawless example of the legendary Small One Dollar, which finished at HK$5,520,000. The 1897 Chungking Local Post stationery card formular usage to London bearing a Red Revenue 1c. on 3c. pair in combination with France "Chine" 5c. and taxed brought HK$552,000. Seven Dr. Sun Yat-sen London printing die proofs, which were lotted individually, brought an aggregate total of HK$250,700. The marginal unmounted mint example of the American Bank Note Company Dr. Sun Yat-sen $2 with centre inverted fetched HK$1,495,000. Finally, the twelve volume collection of Manchuria local overprints realised HK$632,500 against a presale estimate of HK$450,000.

Day two of the auction included 667 lots of the stamps and postal history of the People's Republic of China and Liberated Areas, which realised HK$25,172,522, with a multitude of highlights too numerous to mention. The rarities were keenly sought after, and the undoubted highlight was the mint example of the large format "Whole Country is Red" 8f. Two determined room bidders battled it out, resulting in a record realisation of HK$8,970,000. Among the other rarities was the 1958 Students Congress 8f. and 22f. unused errors showing the wrong inscriptions, which realised HK$805,000. The other Cultural Revolution rarities included a repaired example of the vertical format "Whole Country is Red", which brought HK$345,000. The mint example of the prepared for use but not issued "Great Victory of the Cultural Revolution" 8f. garnered HK$862,500. One of the most sought after lots was an unfresh corner example of the 1968 Mao Goes to Anyuan 8f. with the printing dramatically shifted downwards. After spirited bidding, this remarkable variety finished at HK$184,000. There were three 1980 Year of the Monkey unmounted mint complete sheets on offer, with the first bringing HK$1,380,000, and the other two selling for HK$1,265,000 each. Finally, the elusive 1953 unissued Blue Navy $800 realised HK$1,610,000, in spite of a few creases.

The third and final day of this exciting series of auctions was devoted to Hong Kong and Treaty Ports and Macau. A fine used example of the 1891 "Jubilee" 2c. with the wide spaced double overprint, which originally resided in the Lt. Col. L.T. Rose-Hutchinson collection, realised HK$172,500. The modern varieties again proved popular. The 1974 Arts Festival miniature sheet with variety gold omitted fetched an impressive HK$149,500, that with variety orange omitted similarly realised HK$149,500, and a third sheet with variety orange colour shifted to the right made HK$126,500. The 1988 Peak Tramway miniature sheet with the black colour omitted used on a first day cover fetched HK$207,000. Noteworthy among the Treaty Ports was the HK$195,500 realisation for the 1860 entire letter to Dublin, showing the rare "Shanghae/Post Office/Paid" double-ring handstamp. A stunning example of the Shanghai "sunburst" cancelling a Queen Victoria 2c. on 1865 printed circular from Yokohama to Shanghai (ex Ryohei Ishikawa and Richard C.K. Chan) brought HK$598,000. Of the six covers recorded with this distinctive cancellation, this is the only printed matter usage.

The auction was brought to a fitting conclusion with the 140 or so lots of Macau producing an astonishing realisation of HK$2,930,060. The 1885 registered envelope to San Francisco bearing 1884 Crown issue and 1885 surcharges used together brought HK$138,000. The magnificent complete sheet of the 1913 local "Republica" overprint on Don Carlos 8 avos grey-brown realised HK$230,000, while, what is considered the rarest stamp of Macau, the local "Republica" overprint on Don Carlos 10a. dull blue in a vertical marginal strip of three unused was strongly competed for at HK$402,500. The prices for the modern stamps were equally strong. The 1955 unissued Fourth Centenary of Establishment of Portuguese in Macau set of four realised a hefty HK$195,500. The nine lots of the 1964 unissued Fourth Centenary of the Jesuits in Macau 10a. in various colours brought HK$142,600, and the double print with inscriptions also printed on reverse realised HK$46,000.

All realisations include the 15% buyer's premium.


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