'Hong Kong's most important stamp' is set to auction in 2011

A true rarity will make its way to auction early next year, with the announcement that Spink will sell "Hong Kong's most important philatelic item" - the '96c Olive-Bistre Block of Four'.

Regarded as a unique treasure amongst collectors, the item has only seen auction twice in its lifetime and is certain to attract huge attention from across the world.

The block of four has graced some of the most important collections of Hong Kong including George Burghard of New York, Ryohei Ishikawa of Tokyo and Richard C.K.Chan of Hong Kong.

According to Spink, "This block has been the crown jewel in all of these collections, enabling each collector to be the king of Hong Kong philately."

The'96c Olive-Bistre Block of Four' is the crown jewel of
Hong Kong philately

Its rarity has often been compared with the 'Small Dollar' of China because of the similarity in the number of unused stamps and the existence of only one block of four in each issue.

This rarity is due to the short life of the stamp and a mistake in its printing. It was originally issued in 1863, printed in a brownish-grey, but when a second batch of 52 sheets was ordered in January 1865 they arrived printed in an incorrect olive colour.

A new supply printed in the correct colour was available in July of that year, and today only 40 unused examples of the stamp are thought to exist.

This will mean the auction, which takes place in Hong Kong on January 23 next year, will be the centre of excitement for collectors and should expect some movement from the heavy-hitters of the philately world.

The stamp collectors market has had an amazing year, starting 2010 with a bang in January with a record-breaking sale. And it now looks like 2011 could start in exactly the same way.


Join our readers in over 200 countries around the world - sign up for your free weekly Collectibles Newsletter today

Featured products

Elvis Presley Authentic Strand of Hair
Elvis Presley Authentic Strand of Hair
Sale price£399
In stock
Fidel Castro signed certificateFidel Castro Signed Certificate
Fidel Castro signed certificate
Sale price£2,995
In stock
King Henry VIII Autographed DocumentKing Henry VIII Autographed Document
King Henry VIII Autographed Document
Sale price£55,000
In stock