China 1897 60th Birthday of the Dowager Empress, "Mollendorf' SG16/24var printing on thicker unwatermarked paper, set of 9 to 24ca rose-red, SG16/24var.
A fine mint set with large part original gum. The 12ca with small tone spot, otherwise very fine.
In November 1894, a special set of 9 stamps was issued to commemorate the 60th birthday of the Dowager Empress. These were the very first commemorative stamps issued in China, two years before the Chinese postal service came into being.
The Dowager Empress commemorative stamps were lithographed and printed in Japan on white wove paper, watermarked with “Ying Yang”.
The stamps were in heavy demand and were reprinted in Shanghai. The designs of the stamps printed in Shanghai are less clear, the work rougher, the colours lighter and the gum white and watery.
Few survive in fine condition.
A special set of the 60th birthday of the Dowager Empress stamps called the “Mollendorf” set was issued in 1897. These were given as gifts to high level government and foreign officials.
These stamps were printed on thicker paper in Shanghai and of the same colours as the originals. The stamps were not watermarked.
There are only 900 sets known to exist.
The “Mollendorf” special printing set of 9 stamps to 24ca is notoriously difficult to find with any gum remaining.
Stanley Gibbons catalogue value: £12,000.
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