Rare Chinese stamp may set record at Asia auction

Mon Aug 31, 2009 12:19am EDT
 
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HONG KONG (Reuters Life!) - A rare Chinese 19th century stamp valued at around $258,000 is the star lot of a philatelic auction in Hong Kong next month which will feature offerings from several Asian countries.

More than 1,500 lots of rare and fine Chinese and other Asian stamps with an estimated value of over $HK12 million ($1.55 million) will go under the hammer at Zurich Asia's "Stamps and Postal History" autumn auction September 18-19.

"There is a continued strong interest and demand in the Hong Kong and Asian market for rare stamps," said Louis Mangin, director of Zurich Asia, in a statement.

"The sale promises to provide a unique opportunity for Asian collectors to acquire some of the rarest stamps with excellent provenance ever to appear at auction."

The star lot of the sale is the 1897 Three Cents Red Revenue stamp, the value of which was changed to one dollar using small Chinese characters.

The stamp is one of 32 recorded copies of the original 50 stamps overprinted with the new value, and expected to set a world record for a single Chinese stamp in the auction, Zurich Asia said.

There is also a collection of rare stamps printed, but never issued, by a president of China who decided to crown himself emperor in 1916, only to have the monarchy annulled during the same year due to strong opposition.

The sale also features a wide range of stamps and covers of Hong Kong, Macao, Korea, Japan, Singapore, Thailand and Tibet.

(Writing by Miral Fahmy; Editing by Jerry Norton)