Treasure of China's Cultural Revolution sells for World Record

Interasia's auction of Chinese rare stamps at the weekend was a resounding success, with the record for a single Chinese stamp broken by some distance by a Small One Dollar Red Revenue, from 1897 (during Qing dynasty rule).

However, this was not the biggest price at the sale. That honour went to a corner block of four stamps with the theme Victory of the Cultural Revolution. One of five 'Treasures of the Cultural Revolution', these stamps depict Chairman Mao and military leader Lin Biao.

One of Five Treasures Victory of the Cultural Revolution Chinese rare stamp
Victory of the Cultural Revolution stamp block

The block sold for HK$6.67m compared to the 1897 stamp's HK$5.52 (US$ 858,700 compared to US$710,700).

A half stamp, showing Lin Biao alone at Tiananmen Square (the original also featured Mao) fetched HK$2.19m (US$282,000). It tells a story, as Lin Biao was denounced as a traitor following his death.

Two versions of the Whole Country is Red stamp, showing joyful workers before a red map of China brought large sums. A never issued large version of the stamp achieved HK$3.45m and a rare mint pair of the barely issued stamp brought HK$1.73m (US$222,000).

The stamp, withdrawn before the day on which shopkeepers were officially supposed to begin selling it, was officially rescinded because certain archipelagos were missing from the map, but it has been suggested that the lack of red colouring on Taiwan was more of a problem.

Though Chairman Mao outlawed stamp collecting as a despicable bourgeois pursuit, stamp collecting in China is now going from strength to strength, and Communist stamps are as strongly desired as any, both as nostalgia and investment.

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