1883 Large Dragon cover sells for five times listing at Hong Kong stamp auction

As we reported, there was a major sale of Chinese rare stamps on Sunday in Hong Kong, and the results have already been released. The sale was a success with HK$15.6m used to buy the 800 lots on offer.

The two top lots were expected to do well, but still surprised some bettering the competition. They were as follows:

The top lot was a 10 cent on 12 candarin deep orange stamp from an 1897 issue.

Still boasting a large part of its original gum, the stamp has hinge and small paper adherences on reverse, but is nevertheless very fresh and fine in the distinctive colour of the first printing.

1897 wide-setting orange Dowager surcharge stamp
Top lot: the 1897 orange Dowager surcharge stamp

It is an important and highly desirable example of this rare and popular Dowager stamp which must be considered amongst the finest, and was therefore estimated at HK$500,000-600,000.

However, given the overall rarity - only 14 unused examples are know, along with 51 used - and its infrequent appearance at auction (the examples from The Wilson Te collection (2006) and the Quintin Tan collection (2007) being the exceptions) it beat even this listing to bring HK$850,000.

Running it a close second was a more surprising result: a large dragon cover which brought five times expectations.

1883 Large Dragon cover
1883 Large Dragon cover with red seal

The 1883 (26 December) opened-out envelope from the United States Legation in Peking to the U.S. Consul General in Shanghai bears a thick paper 3 candarin deep vermilion stamp tied by a blue Peking seal and "united states consul general/shanghai, china" double-ring circular datestamp (10.1) in blue.

The reverse bears a Peking, Tientsin (27.12) and Shanghai Customs circular datestamp and Shanghai Local Post in blue, along with a fine example of the U.S. Legation red wax seal.

A magnificent cover bearing the Consul General datestamp, previously part of the Allen Gokson collection, it smashed its HK$120,000-150,000 listing to bring HK$800,000.


96c Hong Kong olive-bistre stamp block
The unique 96c Hong Kong olive-bistre stamp block
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