Earliest Russian Peking post cover up 143% on estimate

The earliest known cover from the official Russian post in Peking has topped the first day's proceedings in a remarkable four-day specialised auction in Geneva, which runs December 12-15.

Consigned from the collection of Dr Raymond Casey, the cover sold for $222,259, showing a 142.8% increase in value compared to its $91,526 high estimate. The remainder of the auction will feature stamps from across Switzerland and Belgium, with the latter category provided courtesy of the Anatoly Karpov Collection.

Russian post in China
The cover sold for $222,259 against a $91,526 estimate

The Russian post offices in the Chinese empire were introduced when Russia took advantage of a mistranslation in the Treaty of Peking, which followed China's defeat in the second opium war (1860). According to the auctioneer, the nation used "calculated deception" to set up the illegal system, which was named the Merchant's Post.

In 1874, the Merchant's Post was incorporated into the Imperial Russian Postal Administration to become a legitimate service. Its main offices were at Kalgan, Peking and Tientsin.

The cover at auction is dated October 24, 1877. Bearing an 1866 1k stamp and a further three 1875 10k stamps, it was sent by notification to St Petersburg and is cancelled by a boxed Peking handstamp, with the St Petersburg receipt and wax nobility seal also present.

The cover was once part of the Faberge Collection, which was started by Agathon Faberge and continued by his son, Oleg.

Earlier this week, Paul Fraser Collectibles conducted an interview with the auction house's David Feldman, who shared his expert knowledge on the sale and stamp investment.

Paul Fraser Collectibles continues to bring you all the latest news, features and investment advice from across the philatelic community. For more, sign up to our free weekly newsletter.

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