A new world record for Sinkiang philately has been set by an 1879 cover from the Chinese province, which was sold as part of a four-day auction in Geneva from December 12-15.
The envelope, which was sent from Sinkiang to Taganrog, Russia, sold for €600,000 ($791,260) - an outstanding 7,400% increase on its €8,000 valuation. This remarkable sale saw a new record price achieved for any Sinkiang postal history.
We had the chance to interview auctioneer David Feldman prior to the sale, who shared a few tips on stamp investment.
The cover formed part of the Dr Raymond Casey Collection of Russian Post Offices in the Chinese Empire.
Displaying a pair of 1879 7k stamps tied by a "KUDJIAN POSTAL BRANCH/PROVINCE OF THE SEVEN RIVERS" cancel, it also features a manuscript annotation in Russian: "Taken out of a (mail) box 24 May".
The cover shows the earliest known cancellation from the city of Kuldja and is the earliest item of mail from the Russian post in Sinkiang. It is also the only known example from the Russian occupation of Kuldja and therefore, is considered one of the greatest rarities from the Russian offices in the Chinese Empire.
The world record for Mongolian philately was also matched during the sale, by a 1920 cover from Ulyasutai, which brought €408,000 and an 871.4% increase on its €35,000 high estimate. The price ties with the previous record, which is held by a 1916 cover from Ulyasutai to Peking and was sold by the same auction house in April this year.
Paul Fraser Collectibles has a superb range of investment-grade rare stamps for sale, including the Hong Kong 96c Olive-Bistre block of four - a unique block which is considered the greatest treasure of Hong Kong philately.