First Chinese airmail cover offered for sale from the Fiorenzo Longhi collection

This coming Thursday, March 15th, will see a wonderful hoard of Airmails and Aerial Memorabilia go under the hammer in the form of the Fiorenzo Longhi Collection.

Airmail carries a particular allure for many collectors, especially the early examples when manned flight still had a particular mystique.

We've seen how valuable both unused stamps, especially if they have overprints or errors such as the Black Honduras and Inverted Jenny, and flown covers can be.

The upcoming auction has great examples of each:

An example of the former is a 1927, 60c. black Newfoundland stamp, an outstanding quality "De Pinedo". This highly coveted stamp is rarely found this well centred and is very fresh, having been beautifully preserved with its full original gum intact.

De Pinedo Newfoundland stamp
'De Pinedo' Newfoundland stamp

One of just 300 stamps printed in three sheets of 100. Four are known to have been damaged or destroyed and 255 were used with 33 mint unused copies recorded, of which this is arguably the finest in existence. It is listed at €25,000.

More exciting for those interested in philatelic history however is a 1920 envelope, dated May 2 sent from Foochow - Shanghai.

Addressed to the British Consul in Shanghai this cover, marked "On His Britannic Majesty's Service", is franked by a Chinese 3c stamp.

First Chinese airmail
The First Chinese airmail - carried by Italian pilots

During the Rome - Tokyo Flight of 1920 no carriage of mail dispatches was planned but occasionally correspondence was transported by favour of the Italian pilots Arturo Ferrarin and Guido Masiero.

The only cover known from this time, it represents the first airmail carried in China, making it one of the gems of Chinese philately.

Collectors seeking gems from the region should take a look at the 'greatest treasure of Hong Kong philately' - the Hong Kong 96c Olive-Bistre Unique Block of Four, which we currently have available for sale.

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