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Chinese 4c red revenue stamp to make $36,000?

The Chinese 4c red revenue stamp is from the rare small surcharge issue

A rare Chinese 1897 4c small surcharge red revenue stamp is expected to make $29,664-36,113 at Spink Hong Kong on October 15.

The Chinese government ordered the revenue stamps from the UK in preparation for a rebranding of the customs post office, which had been set up by the British in the aftermath of the Opium Wars.

red revenue 4c
The 4c small surcharge is the second rarest of the Chinee red revenue issue

The 3c stamps arrived on time but the other denominations were delayed.

The Qing government decided to overprint the 3c stamps with the full set of the other values until the rest of the stamps arrived.

The $1 small surcharge is the rarest in the red revenue series, with only 32 known survivors.

The printing on this issue was considered unreadable and so only two panes were produced before the surcharge was made larger.

A unique block of four one dollar small surcharge stamps sold for a reported $18.8m in a private sale in 2009.

The 4c is the next rarest.

Like the $1, the first printing of the surcharge was considered too small and was redone. Only 100 examples of the first printing are known to exist, including the present specimen.

The issue is considered by some to be China's earliest official stamp, as it was the first to be released by the Qing government.

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Images: Spink

Last updated: 30 September 2016