1968 'Whole Country is Red' stamp up 12% on estimate

A Chinese 1968 large format "Whole Country is Red" error stamp has sold for $652,542 at InterAsia's People's Republic of China and Liberated Areas auction.

The sale took place in Hong Kong on January 12, with the stamp achieving an increase of 12.4% on a $580,347 estimate.

Whole Country is Red stamp
The Whole Country is Red stamp is one of the most desirable items of Chinese philately

The stamp was prepared but not issued, as it was felt it was too large. Around 10 large format examples are thought to have survived to the present day.

A smaller version was then issued on November 24 1968, and features a similar depiction of China coloured in red with a series of Chinese citizens holding copies of Quotations from Chairman Mao.

It was noticed soon after the small version's release that Taiwan is the only part of the map not coloured in red - an error that features in both stamps.

This was an embarrassing oversight as China claims sovereignty over the island (an issue that remains controversial to this day), and the smaller issue was also quickly withdrawn.

The stamp is unmounted, exhibits bold colours on brilliant white paper and retains its original gum. It is marred only by a light crease to the right.

The world record for a single Chinese stamp is held by a large version of the Whole Country is Red issue, which made $1.1m in Beijing in 2012.

A 1953 unissued Navy $800 red, orange, yellow and sky blue stamp made $207,635 - up 34.1% on a $154,759 estimate.

Displaying superb colour and large margins, it is regarded as one of the finest examples of this issue available.

We have a range of rare stamps available to purchase.

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