Large Dragon stamp blocks set to swoop into Spink's Hong Kong auction

As we've described, Spink's Hong Kong office is all set to hold a major sale of Chinese coins and currency next week with the latter section led by the contrasting highlights of Ta Ching colour trials and a Yuan dynasty 'banknote'.

But they're not stopping there. Spink is immediately continuing into a high quality auction of Chinese and Hong Kong stamps in over 800 lots.

There are two particular highlights from the Imperial period:  

Firstly, there is a Customs House Shanghai 1875 (13 January) printed envelope from Belfast to Peking via "French packet letter" bearing G.B. 1873-80 3d rose and 6d grey stamps tied by a Belfast duplex cancel.

Customs Mail Matter Shanghai marine sorter cover
The rare Shanghai marine sorter cover

The reverse bears a Cliftonville despatch circular datestamp - a fine strike of the very rare "Hong Kong to/Shanghai" marine sorter type 6 dated 1875 (January 28/4 Febrary) plus a faint but clear strike of the oval bilingual "customs house/shanghai" in blue.

The cover is exceptionally fresh and fine, showing an extraordinary combination of postmarks.

Only a handful of covers bearing the Shanghai Customs House oval exist. This mark was applied on incoming mail from either United Kingdom or U.S.A and it is a mystery as to why on this occasion it was stuck in blue. It is the only such example as all other strikes are in red.

1878 Large Dragon stamps
The 1878 Large Dragon stamp blocks have great eye-appeal

The cover is expected to sell for HK$150,000-200,000 (US$25,750) but is not expected to be the top lot in the sale.

That honour is likely to go to a highly attractive set of Large Dragons on thin paper dating from 1878. In consists of three blocks of four, one for each denomination: yellow-green 1 candarin stamps in unmounted mint condition; pale brown-red 3 candarins, likewise unmounted and mint,  and finally yellow 5 candarins, lightly mounted on the top pair only.

The fine and desirable set is listed at HK$250,000-300,000 (up to US$38,600). Spink's auction takes place on January 15.

96c Hong Kong olive-bistre stamp block
The unique 96c Hong Kong olive-bistre stamp block
(Click to enlarge)

However, sometimes the greatest stamps and philatelic items are not found at auction. In particular, collectors looking for the greatest treasure of Hong Kong philately need look no further than our stock.

That is the unique 96c olive-bistre block of four - one of our greatest acquisitions and available for sale now. We're sufficiently confident about its future value that we're offering it with our unique 120% guarantee.

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