'Inverted Jenny' and $1.3m Chinese stamp to auction in Hong Kong

Over 2,200 lots of Chinese, Hong Kong and Asian stamps and postal history are going under the hammer at Interasia's next series of auctions, from July 31-August 1 in Hong Kong.

The sales include three specialised auctions: the Large Dragons of China, the Jane and Dan Sten Olsson China 1897-1941, and the "Mosaic" collection of 19th Century Hong Kong and Asian Mails.

Among the rare philatelic specimens are two of the most important items in China's Qing Dynasty philately.  

Firstly, the 1897 Red Revenue Small 2c (stamped over its original 3c value) Green Surcharge, colloquially known as the "The Red Lady in the Green Dress," estimated at HK$8,000,000-10,000,000 (nearly $1.3m).

The nine-of-a-kind 'Red Lady in the Green Dress'

Regarded as a trial printing, there are only nine properly recognised examples of this rarity of which only seven examples are available to collectors (another is in the China National Postage Stamp Museum).

Last February, another Red Revenue - over-stamped to modify its value to 1c - sold for a World Record HK$5.52m ($710,600) at Zurich Asia; thus becoming the most valuable-ever auctioned Chinese stamp.

Selling alongside the Red Revenue as Interasia is the only recorded cover of the legendary 1897 "Emerald Lady".

The first-printing 2c on 2ca green horizontal pair is the only recorded multiple example of the Emerald Lady, and the only recorded example on cover - rightly described by Interasia as "irrefutably the most important Dowager cover extant, of the highest exhibition calibre."

It will go under the hammer with an estimate of HK$2,500,000-3,000,000 ($384,748).

The only known 1897 'Emerald Lady' affixed to a cover

Also appearing for sale alongside these major historic rarities are all  "Four Treasures of the Republic of China," comprising three inverts and another major error of this period that are great rarities, and China's 1941 Dr Sun Yat-sen $2 inverted centre.

And finally, but by no means least, among our chosen highlights is one of most sought-after and regarded stamps in world: the United States Airmail, 1918, 24¢ carmine rose & blue, center inverted, aka "the Inverted Jenny."

The price at which Inverted Jennies have been sold has varied depending on quality, but the top price for a single was achieved in November 2007 when $977,500 was paid at auction for a single stamp.

Elsewhere, a block of four Inverted Jennies was famously sold by collector Bill Gross in 2005 for $2.7m, the record price for a US philatelic item.

The most famous stamp in American philately... the Inverted Jenny 

Described as "a rare fine to very fine sound example of this iconic stamp.. the most famous stamp in American philately and one of the best-known World rarities," Interasia's Inverted Jenny will appear with an estimated value of HK$ 3,500,000 - 4,000,000 ($512,997).

Projected total sales figures for the auction are in excess of HK$ 51,000,000 (US$6.58m) - and the sale promises to be one of the major philatelic events of 2010's second half.

All price translations are shown in US dollars. Watch this space for more news on the sale.


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