A Chinese 1897 revenue surcharge small $1 pair is up for auction at Spink Hong Kong.
The lot will star in a sale of Chinese stamps from the collection of Japanese philatelist Meiso Mizuhara on January 17.
It's valued at $258,044-322,555.
The first post offices in China were run by the various colonial European powers.
In 1897 the British opened the system up to locals, although the stamps didn't arrive from the printers in time for the first day.
As a temporary solution, the existing stamps were released with surcharges printed on them.
The $1 surcharge was issued in a limited run using a small typeface, before the decision was made to use a large type instead. The small type issue is thus extremely rare.
Spink describes it as "a very good example of this legendary rarity."
An 1879 cover sent from the US to Shanghai, displaying three large dragon stamps and a US 1875 5c, is expected to make $193,555-258,044.
Spink calls it "a delightful and very important cover with many desirable attributes including being the earliest incoming cover bearing Large Dragon stamps and the only 5ca. rate cover with 1ca. and 3ca. franking."
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