Whole Country is Red block may see $774,000 in Hong Kong

A pristine sheet margin block of four Whole Country is Red stamps will sell as part of a major Chinese philatelic auction, which spans December 15-18 in Hong Kong.

The remarkable block will appear on December 17 in the People's Republic of China and Liberated Areas section of the sale. Estimated at $709,500-774,000, it will lead the day's offerings.

Whole Country of Red Block of Four auction
The stamps were issued to celebrate the "success" of China's cultural revolution

The Whole Country of Red stamps are among the most sought-after in Chinese philately, after the editor of the China Atlas Press discovered inaccuracies in the map during the first half day of the 1968 issue. The archipelagos of Xisha and Nanshi had been omitted from the design and Taiwan was coloured white, rather than red.

The stamps were withdrawn almost immediately after the mistakes had been noticed; however, some post offices had sold examples before the official date of issue. The stamps would never go on sale again.

The current world record for a single Chinese stamp was set in May by a Whole Country is Red example, which sold for $1.1m in Beijing. The example at auction is a superb block, which features the sheet margin at the foot, displaying its imprint. It boasts vivid colours, bright white paper and full original gun.

1980 Year of the Monkey stamps full sheet
Eight is an auspicious number for Chinese collectors

Also starring in the auction will be a full sheet of 80 Year of the Monkey stamps from 1980, which is expected to sell for $116,000-159,000. The attractive stamp is regarded as a treasure of Chinese philately due to its 8c value, with the number eight considered lucky in the country.

The current world record for a full sheet of the monkey stamps is $192,521, which was set with the same auction house in September 2011. However, the present lot is marred by being folded once horizontally.

Also featuring in the auction is a fine Large Dragon cover, which is expected to sell for $155,000. Read more about Chinese stamp investment with Paul Fraser's view on the current market.

We are currently offering a unique block of four 96c Olive-Bistre stamps - the most important item in Hong Kong philately.

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