Year of the Monkey block headlines Chinese stamp sale

A block of 50 1980 Chinese Year of the Monkey stamps has sold for $192,676.

It led a sale of stamps from the People's Republic of China and Liberated Areas at Interasia Auctions in Hong Kong on July 27.

Year Monkey stamps
The 1980 Year of the Monkey issue is hugely popular with collectors and non-collectors alike

The issue has become one of the most valuable modern Chinese stamps despite being relatively common. Around 5m were printed.

It's prized by collectors and non-collectors alike for its design, which displays signifiers of good luck - a monkey, a red background and the number eight.

Full blocks in good condition have been selling around the $192,000 mark since 2011 - a sum that will likely increase as the years roll on.  

Other star lots included a small 1968 Whole Country is Red stamp, which made $125,980.

It displays a red map of China above jubilant workers brandishing copies of Mao's Little Red Book.

Ironically the whole country was not red, as the designer forgot to include the island chains of Nanshi and Xisha. The contested territory of Taiwan was also coloured in white.

Once the mistake was discovered, the stamp was quickly withdrawn. Few have survived.

The record for the issue is an impressive $1.1m, set for a large specimen in a 2014 sale.

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