1878-1883 large dragon essay leads record stamp sale

An 1878-1883 large dragon essay was the lead lot of Spink's record breaking sale of the Meiso Mizuhara stamp collection.

The lot made $512,429 in the January 17 auction in Hong Kong - the highest grossing stamp sale ever held in Asia.  

China dragon large
The 1878-1883 large dragon essay displays two designs for the issue

It displays a pair of se-tenant designs for China's first official stamp: the dragon with night-shining pearl and a six-storied pagoda.

For a long time it was thought the stamps were designed by an American artist. This is in part due to the fact that pagodas have an odd number of storeys - indicating a lack of knowledge of Chinese culture.

It has since been determined the artist was Chinese and the missing storey was likely a mistake.

To the left are six sets of characters for the various values of the issue.

Another essay for the issue, displaying an elephant, sold for $384,322.

Like the pagoda, the design was revised and tested but later abandoned in favour of the dragon.

Spink comments: "The results of this auction add further dignity to an already great philatelic collector and stand as a firm testament of success for a lifetime dedicated to Chinese philately.

"Despite the challenging environment in Chinese financial markets, the auction broke many world records in a one single vendor auction."

We have an amazing selection of rare stamps for sale, click here to take a look.

Please sign up to our free newsletter to receive exciting news about postage stamp auctions.

Featured products

Elvis Presley Authentic Strand of Hair
Elvis Presley Authentic Strand of Hair
Sale price£399
In stock
Fidel Castro signed certificateFidel Castro Signed Certificate
Fidel Castro signed certificate
Sale price£2,995
In stock
King Henry VIII Autographed DocumentKing Henry VIII Autographed Document
King Henry VIII Autographed Document
Sale price£55,000
In stock