One of the great American stamp dealers, Cherrystone Auctions, has three stamp auctions running this month. The Ivanov collection of Russian stamps is going under the hammer right now, whilst The Charles Matuzas Collection of Lithuania still has a few days left.
Following on from those two, however, is a sale which appears to be in a different league.
This is their US and Worldwide sale which offers 1344 lots representing an impressive gathering of rare stamps and covers of United States, Asia, Europe, British Commonwealth and South America, with properties of various owners and estates.
Here are two lots from their Chinese section just to give a taste of the calibre of merchandise on offer:
First, there is a 1914-19 First Peking printing $2 black and blue with the centre inverted. It is a magnificent example from the lower right corner of the sheet with complete selvedge on two sides.
Boasting deep bright colours, it is also uncharacteristically well centred, nearly perfect within large margins, fresh and lightly hinged in lower selvage only. The stamp itself is never hinged, post office fresh and in very fine condition, signed by Peter Holcombe.
A magnificent and beautiful gem, ready to star in the finest collection, it is undoubtedly the best possible quality known of this popular error.
A comparable, but not nearly as well centred example from the upper right corner margin recently sold at auction in Hong Kong for HK $1,700,000 plus buyer's premium.
It is believed that only about 30 examples of this error are known today. While several exist with sheet margin, this is one of only two surviving sheet corner margin copies.
Secondly, there is a 1925 4c slate gray stamp surcharged 3 Cts in red on second Peking printing. The surcharge is inverted and the piece as a whole is quite striking with vibrant colours and strong impression of both basic stamp and surcharge contrasted by its bright white paper.
It is perfectly centred and very fine, signed Peter Holcombe. There is a small hinge remnant.
This is the rarest of the "Four Treasures of the Republic". Only ten examples of this error were originally discovered.
Auction records document only five unused and three used (one on piece) examples (the most recent auction realisation, in June 2010, for a defective copy was HK$ 1,800,000 plus buyer's premium).
Both lots are expected to achieve around $250,000 in the auction which takes place in New York on September 14-15.