HONG KONG.- Spink
announced its auction of Fine Stamps and Covers of China and Hong Kong to be held on Sunday, 13 January 2013.
This prestige auction includes the collection of Chinese stamps formed by Colonel Valentine Burkhardt, a well-known citizen of Hong Kong from the 1950s who was also a competent cartoonist and artist. His favourite stamps were the Large Dragon issues of Shanghai. Originally issued in 1865, these are the first postage stamps issued in China. With much dedication, this skilful artist created a highly desirable collection of this issue. His album is of museum quality and offers a rare opportunity for discerning collectors to acquire such an outstanding collection. The strong and varied lots of China in the album are from the Large Dragon issue which includes proofs and sheets of the 3 candarins and 5 candarins values (Estimate: HK$400,000- HK$500,000, Lot 2007).
In 1897 there was a change of currency to dollars and cents. This required a new set of stamps but technical problems with their production meant that all available stamps needed to be surcharged with the new currency. Occasionally errors occurred and one example is the Small Figures 10 cents on 9 candarins with surcharge double. Only 17 examples of this error have been recorded and this example is estimated at HK$600,000 to HK$700,000 (Lot 2056).
Another rarity of these surcharges is the stamp called the Golden Dragon. This 10 cents surcharge on 12 candarins (large figures, wide space on first printing) is one of only 14 unused examples recorded (Estimate: HK$600,000 - HK$650,000, Lot 2059).
One group of these new surcharges was on an unissued 3 cents revenue stamp. These stamps are particularly popular not only because of the red colour but also the fact the surcharged stamps are rare. Blocks are of particular interest to collectors and this block of six of the Large Dollar is one of the largest available. The importance and rarity of any block greater than a block of four gives this lot extra kudos and is estimated at HK$2,500,000 - HK$3,000,000 (Lot 2127).
Republic of China Stamps
The Chinese Republic was declared on 15 February 1912. Again a new set of stamps was required. Waterlow and Sons, regarded as one of the best printers of engraved stamps at the time, were asked to produce the new set. However, the outbreak of the First World War meant that it became difficult to guarantee supplies from England, so an identical set of engravings were made in Peking. The first of these new stamps were issued in December 1914. The dollar values were printed in two colours and a few of the $2 stamps from the Peking printings were discovered with the centre of the design printed upside down. This variety is known as one of the Four Treasures of the Republic.
On offer in the sale is a very rare $2 Hall of Classics with Inverted Centre from the Colonel Valentine Burkhardt Collection. Only one sheet of 50 examples was released and the present lot is an imprint single of position 42 of this error sheet (Estimate: HK$800,000 - HK$1,000,000, Lot 2151).
The star lot of the sale is the unique example of this famous $2 error stamp used on cover. This legendary cover with the highly desirable item of Chinese philately is estimated at HK$5,000,000 - HK$6,000.000 (Lot 2152, illustrated above).
In 1923, a temporary shortage of 2 cents stamps required another surcharge. This was made on the current 3 cents stamp and a few were made with the surcharge upside down. A few of these stamps were purchased by a collector, who sent two covers addressed to himself. This fine example is estimated at HK$3,500,000 - HK$4,000,000 (Lot 2155).
In 1915, Sinkiang overprinted the current stamps to avoid currency speculation. In one position on the $1 stamp the second and third characters of the overprint were placed the wrong way around and a few sheets were released before this mistake was discovered. This particular block is from the Burkhardt Collection, where it resided for over 70 years. It is possibly the largest block which contains this error (the centre stamp in the top row) and is estimated at HK$1,000,000 - HK$1,500,000 (Lot 2162). These last items are also known as the Four Treasures of the Republic.
The Liberated Areas of China, named after those areas where the communist forces took command, are another popular and interesting aspect of Chinese philately. The first stamp issued in North China is called the White Half Sun. This particular example is only the fifth example recorded and was found in the Burkhard Collection (Estimate: HK$100,000 - HK$120,000, Lot 2166).
The collecting of air mail, or flown, covers appeals to some collectors. The romance and challenges of some of the early, pioneer flights is very appealing. Two unusual and extraordinary covers which have great appeal are two 1901 covers from Balloon Regiments serving in China. The first is from the 4th Balloon Section of the Royal Engineers and bears the only recorded example of the handstamp BALLOON SECTION/ROYAL ENGINEERS (Estimate: HK$40,000 - HK$50,000, Lot 2261). The second cover is from the equivalent French balloon section and bears the only example of the handstamp, SECTION DAEROSTIERS/Expedre de China (Estimate: HK$40,000 - HK$50,000, Lot 2262).
Hong Kong Stamps
In 1891 Hong Kong celebrated its fiftieth anniversary with the Worlds first commemorative stamp. This was the current 2 cents stamp which was overprinted 1841 Hong Kong Jubilee 1891. This overprint was applied to twelve stamps at a time. The overprints were applied with care but a few errors were made. One block of twelve stamps received the overprint too high.
Two examples from this block are being offered, one from the upper row and another from the lower. In fact these two stamps were originally a pair, reunited after many years. (Estimate: HK$30,000 to HK$40,000, Lot 2440; HK$40,000 - HK$50,000, Lot 2441).
Korean Postal History
In addition to the general sale, Spink are proud to be asked to offer the Meiso Mizuhara Exhibition Collection of Korean Postal History. This collection was started around 1947, at a time when very little was known about the philately of this country. Mizuharas dedicated study and collecting prowess has resulted in one of the greatest collections of Korea ever formed.
The collection includes many great rarities which will appeal to the growing number of collectors of this interesting country. However the greatest item must be the piece bearing four of the 1884 Moon stamps (Estimate: HK$500,000 to HK$600,000, Lot 1805).
This iconic piece is, without doubt, the most important item of Korean philately. Only twenty of these stamps have been recorded which are genuinely used and these are the only multiples. The Moon stamps are the first issue of the Korean Post Office, but were only on sale for a few days before riots closed the fledgling Korean Post Office.