1895 Tientsin to New York cover will headline Zurich Asia sale

An 1895 Tientsin to New York cover is to lead Zurich Asia's August 31-September 1 sale in Hong Kong with a $128,000-154,000 estimate.

The lot was redirected from Hamilton to Brooklyn and displays what is believed to be the first example of Dowager franking sent through the US post office in China.

Tientsin Hamilton
The cover was from Tientsin, China to Hamilton, New York via Brooklyn

It features an array of frankings and three Chinese candarins stamps tied together with a "U.S.POSTAL AGENCY/SHANGHAI/5.1.95" cancellation.

US post offices in China covers are popular with collectors on both sides of the Pacific. One example from 1886 sold for $28,535 at Harmers Auction in Switzerland last year.

Two complete sheets of the 1980 Year of the Golden Monkey issue could make $128,000-141,000.

The issue was released to commemorate the start of the Chinese new year in 1980 and examples are highly sought after, which has kept demand (and values) high in spite of the large number in circulation.  

One single sheet sold for $120,000 at Philip Weiss in New York in 2012.

A pair of horizontally imperforate 1894 Dowager first printing 24 candarins rose carmine stamps with Tientsin seal chops is also likely to prove a major draw to collectors.

There are only 14 examples of the stamp known to exist, three of which are used. The lot offered in the sale is expected to make $96,000-109,000.  

We have an incredible selection of rare stamps available.

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