1915 China $2 invert soars to $160,000 in US stamp auction

A spectacular $2 invert from China's 1915 Hall of Classics series has topped a September 13 philatelic auction in New York.

1915 China $2 centre invert Hall of Classics
The stamp has appeared at auction with estimates as high at $250,000

The $2 centre invert originates from the first Peking printings of the 1915 issue, and is one of just 50 produced and sold through the Hankow post office. Considered one of the great rarities in Chinese philately, the example at auction was particularly well centred, with strong colours and a large part of its original gum.

On fresh paper and boasting great eye appeal, the stamp sold for an impressive $160,000 - a 6.6% increase on its $150,000 valuation. The stamp has appeared at past auctions with estimates exceeding $250,000.

In 2010, another example in poor condition sold for $115,000.

A 1941 $2 centre invert, again one of just 50 produced, sold for $311,000 in March this year. As of February 2012, the China 100 Stamp Index, which tracks the performance of China's 100 leading stamps at auctions across the world, has seen a 46% pa increase since its inception in March 2009.

Bringing the second highest bids of the China section was a 1962 souvenir sheet, which was produced in remembrance of Mei Lanfang - a highly respected Peking opera artist. In exceptionally good condition when compared to other examples, the attractive sheet sold for $14,500.

Also featuring in the sale was an extremely rare complete set of the China's Sinkiang Air Post series, which were issued from 1932 to 1933. The well-centred yet lightly hinged set comprised the 5c claret, 10c dark blue, 15c deep blue and 30c brown violet, and sold for $4,000.

Paul Fraser Collectibles has a unique block of four Hong Kong 96c olive-bistre colour errors, of which only 48 individual stamps have ever been recorded, including this block. See our full selection of investment-grade stamps.

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