A magnificent example of China's 1897 Red Revenue Small $1 has headlined Interasia Auctions' June 29-July 1 stamp sale in Hong Kong.
In total, the sale realised an outstanding $9.2m, making a 43.7% increase on the expected total of $6.4m. The 1897 Red Revenue Small $1, one of China's rarest stamps, sold for $889,765.
The Red Revenue series was adopted in China as a provisional measure, as the planned set of stamps that showed China's new currency was delayed at the printers. As such, previously unissued stamps were overprinted with various denominations.
The stamps are considered the first national issue of China, as they were issued by the Qing government itself in preparation for the national postal system that it was planning. Until this time, the nation's stamps were issued by the foreigner-dominated Maritime Customs Department.
The Chinese characters on the Small $1 were considered too small to read, and a second, larger $1 Red Revenue was issued. There are now only 32 examples of the Small $1 known to exist.
A group of five newly-discovered envelopes that were sent from Taiwan to Germany brought the most dramatic sale of the auction, achieving a 1,220% increase on the $113,500 high estimate to sell for $1.4m.
The envelopes date from 1884-1885 and were the correspondence of the chief minister of the German principality of Oldenburg.
They all originate from the Customs Post in southern Taiwan and passed through Amoy (Xiamen) on the mainland, representing important pieces in the development of Taiwan's postal system and cross-Taiwan Straits postal arrangements.
"The popularity and eight-figure result for the Taiwan envelopes, with bidders from three continents vying for them, were truly staggering. We were so excited by these that we gave them special presentation, with detailed explanations of their historical and philatelic contexts as well as researched the sender's career," commented Interasia's director Dr Jeffrey Schneider.
Paul Fraser Collectibles offers only the finest stamps for sale, with a superb selection of British and Commonwealth rarities.