A spectacular invert from China's 1915 Hall of Classics series is expected to surpass all others in an upcoming auction of world philately on September 12-13 in New York.
The stamp will sell with a starting bid of $150,000, which was set by the auction house due to the identical value given by the Yvert Catalogue. However, examples of the stamp have appeared at auction with estimates as high as $250,000, while in 2010 another example in poorer condition to the one in the auction sold for $115,000.
The $2 blue and black was printed in Peking and just 50 of the striking centre inverted stamps were sold at the Hankow Post Office, making it one of the greatest rarities in Chinese philately. The example at auction is a particularly well centred specimen, which boasts brilliant colour and just traces of hinging and gum toning. It will be sold with a 2009 Experts and Consultants certificate.
In March this year, another $2 centre invert that was one of just 50 produced sold 20.5% above estimate for $311,000, its value boosted by the strong Chinese market which, since March 2009, has seen its 100 leading stamps up 46% pa, according to the China 100 Stamp Index.
Also featuring will be a 1903 75c deep violet on orange Yunnan Fou stamp, which comes from the French offices in China. It is one of just three known with the "Indo-Chine" tablet inverted and is unused with full original gum. Marred only by a small corner repair, it will sell with a $14,000 starting bid, though its catalogue value is around $47,500.
Elsewhere in the China section will be a 1962 PRC souvenir sheet which was created to commemorate the passing of Mei Lanfang, one of the most celebrated Peking opera artists in history. Having never been hinged and still post office fresh, the sheet is in considerably better condition than most other examples and will auction with a $13,500 starting bid.
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.