'I worried that I would be jailed': China stamp artist's error could bring $44,900



We recently reported on the spectacular sale of rare Asian stamps which will happen this September at Interasia, Hong Kong.

The sale follows the company's sale of a unique 1968 block of four of Mao's Inscription to Japanese Worker Friends which sold for HK$8,970,000 (US$1,151,630) earlier this year.

You can read more about Interasia's upcoming sale here, although the auction catalogue listing the stamps' pre-sale estimates has yet to be released.

Expectations for the sale are high, as the rarest and finest-quality Chinese Cultural Revolution stamps are among the most sought-after on the markets.

Indeed, if you want to get an idea of how much these coveted stamps can sell for, look no further than another sale which is due to take place in Hong Kongnext month...

Dynasty Auctions Company Ltd of Hong Kong - a division of Daniel F. Kelleher Auctions, LLC - will be offering four whole catalogues of collectible Asian stamps between August 5-7.

Billed as 'a beauty', this 'Entire Nation Is Red' is estimated at $44,917

Highlights among the nearly 1900 lots for sale include two used examples of the one-time World Record 1968 8f "Entire Nation Is Red" stamp.

This stamp was originally withdrawn on the day it was issued for... well... failing to show that the 'entire nation is red'.

Or actually Taiwan which, as you can see from the pictures, the stamp's designer had neglected to colour-in red to match the rest of China.

Designer Wang Wei Sheng was later quoted as saying: "For a long time I was really worried that I would be jailed. Officials told me that it was a really big mistake, but in the end nothing happened."

Two rare copies of the Chinese 8f "Entire Nation Is Red" stamps will auction at Dynasty.

The first is an "exceptionally splendid, high quality used example" bearing a cancel at its lower left-hand corner. Billed as "very fine", the stamp carries a HK$300,000-350,000 ($38,500-44,917) estimate.

And the sale's following lot is another copy of the stamp billed as "highly attractive [and] used" with a slightly-less obtrusive cancellation.

Another example with a minor internal wrinkle is estimated at $38,500

Its condition report references a "minor internal wrinkle," but it is otherwise in Very Fine condition. The specimen is estimated at a lower HK$250,000-300,000 ($32,084-38,500).

The stamps date from China's decade-long cultural revolution, a period of social and political upheaval beginning in the mid-1960s.

China and Taiwan split in 1949 after civil war. But, despite being ruled separately, Beijing still considered it part of China, awaiting reunification. Hence Wang's design error.

An unused copy of the stamp sold for a then-World Record price of HK$3.68m (US$475,000) to an anonymous Asian buyer in 2009.

While Dynasty's two stamps aren't of the same quality, they'll each be worth a closer look when they appear for sale next month.

Watch this space for more news on Dynasty's auction.


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