Karpov collection Belgian Congo stamp sets World Record price at Swiss auction

David Feldman Auctions has completed its sale of the first section of ex-chess champion Anatoly Karpov's renowned Belgian stamp collection (on December 8). The auction was greatly anticipated and certainly didn't disappoint.

The vast collection, beautifully mounted on thousands of neatly prepared album pages, spans all sections of Belgium & Belgian Congo philately & postal history, from early pre-philatelic mail in 1742 to modern proofs, essays and varieties up through 1980.

The sale featured highly competitive room bidding from private collectors with strong interest from Internet bidders.

Belgian Congo green invert stamp
The record-breaking Belgian Congo green invert stamp

David Feldman commented to us: "World Rarity, Connoisseurship and Legend all meet together for the first time in my 44 years of auctioneering ... It is a great honour and privilege to bring The Anatoly Karpov Belgium collection to the market !"

Bidders clearly shared his enthusiasm, as results were far in excess of pre-sale estimates, and produced numerous world record prices for classic Belgium issues of Epaulettes and Medaillons, with various other great individual pieces.

Some of them were truly startling: an Epaulettes 20c with sheet margin interpanneau, estimated at €4,000 sold for €108,000, whilst a mixed franking Belgium and Prussia cover, estimated at €12,000, sold for €135,000.

Six strip epaulettes Belgian stamps
The remarkable six strip of Belgian 'Epaulettes' stamps
(Click to enlarge)

However, the most significant results were for the two lots which we focussed on ahead of the sale: The Belgian Congo, green 10F with its centre inverted is a truly beautiful stamp which many collectors could idly gaze at.

It easily doubled expectations, selling for €108,000 and setting a new world record for the Belgian Congo.

The top lot, however, was a spectacular strip of 6 of the "Epaulettes" 10c issue. Similarly estimated at €50,000 it sparked furious bidding, finally selling for an extraordinary €240,000.

Fine multiples from the early years of stamp use are highly coveted by collectors, such as this rare block of 12 from Great Britain's rainbow trials.

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