'Propaganda collectibles' from China stamps to GDR art fascinates collectors

'Propaganda collectibles' from history's political regimes can be among the most fascinating and coveted auctioned items.

Like, for instance, the one-time World Record 1968 8f "Entire Nation Is Red" stamp. The stamp is so-called because it was withdrawn on its day of issue... for failing to show that the 'entire nation is red'.

Stamp designer Wang Wei Sheng forgot to colour Taiwan red to match the rest of China - much to the annoyance of government officials.

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

Two copies of the rare stamp, each of varying quality, sold for HK$747,500 and HK$690,000 respectively at an auction in Hong Kong in August of last year.

'Propaganda collectibles' are clearly very valued. Which makes it exciting news that a cache of 23,000 artworks from the former East Germany fill a warehouse 90 kilometres from Berlin.

As was typical of the German Democratic Republic (GDR) era, the pieces are characterised by propaganda which reveals Germany's oppressive past.

Karl Marx and Mikhail Gorbachev paintings, and Communist artworks promoting the Heroes of Socialist Labour, are among the cache's historic treasures.


Brigadier a 1981 painting by Bernhard Heisig postages stamp410.jpg
Brigadier, a 1981 painting by Bernhard Heisig, appeared on GDR postage stamps

The collection has been compiled by Kristina Geisler. Geisler shuns superficial kitsch in favour of rare artworks which offer both artistic quality and evidence of the GDR's oppressive past.

Academics and experts are now working to draw up an inventory for the collection.

One thing's for sure, collectors' devotion for 'propaganda collectibles' is stronger than ever. And such pieces are well worth looking-out for when they emerge on the auction block or for sale.

Collectibles which offer evidence of historic propaganda, disputes or conjecture can take many forms.

Like, for instance, this John F Kennedy autographed 'Cuban Missile Crisis Press Release',

Issued on October 22, 1962, the press release, which JFK read out on television, reads: "There is evidence that as of yesterday, October 25, considerable construction activity was being engaged in at the Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile sites..."

We have this fascinating and historic manuscript for sale. You can find out more about it here.

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