An 1886 Chinese large dragon cover realised $563,776 at InterAsia auctions on July 18-20.
The lot headlined the Asian Stamps and Postal History sale in Hong Kong.
The issue was released for general sale in China in 1878, making it the nation's earliest postage stamp.
The present lot is attached to a cover sent from the city of Tientsin to Cassell in Germany.
The auction house described it as "a gem for the connoisseur and a highly important Large Dragons on cover registered usage of the utmost rarity and highest exhibition calibre…
"Only three registered large dragons covers are recorded used during the proper 1878-86 period, and only two of these have the complete franking."
A half sheet of 50 1897 red revenue small figures 2c on 3c surcharge stamps made $74,181.
The lot is a reconstruction, meaning that the original pane has been reassembled. This means that it is valued at substantially less than an original pane.
Please sign up to our free newsletter to receive exciting news about postage stamp auctions.