1894 Dowager 9ca block to star with $128,000 estimate at Zurich Asia

Zurich Asia's April 13-14 sale of Stamps, Postal History and Coins of China in Hong Kong will be led by an 1894 Dowager 9 candarins block of four.

China 1894 Dowager 9 candarins block of four
The block is the only one known to feature an 1894 Dowager 9 candarins 'tete beche' - a pair of joined stamps where one is upside-down in relation to the other

The "imperforate between" and "imperforate corner margins" block, containing a rare tete-beche, will sell with a $102,564-128,205 estimate. It was previously housed in the collection of esteemed philatelist Huang Ming Fang, and is the only recorded tete beche block, as well as the only example featuring the "imperforate between" and "imperforate corner margin" variations.

The block has been "highly pursued by discerning collectors", according to the auction house, and is therefore expected to generate tremendous interest come sale day. It boasts strong colour and is in fresh mint condition with most of its original gum. Only a light diagonal crease at the lower left detracts from its otherwise sound state.

Hong Kong 1922 2c Green Specimen
The specimen is believed to be unique, but how or why it came to be remains unclear

Also starring in the sale is a collection of British postal agencies in China, which is considered one of the foremost collections of Hong Kong ever assembled. Previously owned by KL Perrin, it was then sold to Richard Chan, who passed it to the present owner through private treaty.

The stand out lot of the collection is a unique 1922 2c Green "SPECIMEN" stamp, estimated at $16,666-19,230. It originates from October 1927, when a new printing of 2c Green and 4c Carmine was ordered by the Hong Kong Post General Office. Specimens were usually ordered only for higher values, and it is still unclear why the order was made or how the specimen copies were retained and circulated.

The unique stamp is in pristine, never hinged condition.

While it may be considered one of the most important Hong Kong collections, it is missing one vital element - the 96c Olive-Bistre block of four. The crown jewel of Hong Kong philately, this unique block is currently for sale with Paul Fraser Collectibles.

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