On 16 January 2015 Spink
China kicked off the marathon of fifteen sales held in January across all Spink offices.
The star lot out of the many hundreds of lots in five auction catalogues was the label used in 1917 from the Russian Post Office in Ulankon (Lot 2879). Sent by registered post to St. Petersburg, it is believed that this post office was only opened in 1917 and would have closed shortly after the October Revolution in Russia. This is the only recorded item of mail from this remote area in Mongolia. Spink offered this lot in the Fine Stamps and Covers of China and Hong Kong sale and achieved an incredible price of HK$2,160,000, setting a world record for a postal history item from Russian Post Office in Northwestern Mongolia.
Spink had a great privilege auctioning the David Tetts Collection of Prisoner of War Mail in East Asia and Dutch East Indies. The military prisoners were divided into different camps. The Indian soldiers were held in Camp I in Ma Tau Chung in Kowloon. Only one item of mail sent from this camp is recorded. A special postcard sent by Bhagwan Singh to his brother in India dated 28 May 1942 (Lot 2079) realised HK$50,400, twice the estimate.
The Bonds, Banknotes and Coins of China and Hong Kong auction achieved impressive results with the highlight being lot 1089. The Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation was founded in 1865 in Hong Kong and began issuing banknotes in the same year. Only very few specimens of the very first series exist and notes from the late 19th century are only seen in either specimen or cancelled forms. The earliest available issued $100 is probably the 1901 series. The $100 in Lot 1089 is dated 1912 and the first of the series. The earlier issue of 1909 is similar but has a red reverse rather than the green reverse.
The 1912 date is, as far as Spink's specialists know, unique and as such a true gem. The condition is very fine and free from brush writing and repairs as often found on many notes from that period. The bidding started at HK$150,000 and quickly went up to HK$220,000 when a buyer called for HK$300,000. Another round of fierce bidding continued and the note finally hammered for HK$470,000, which places it amongst the most expensive Hong Kong banknotes sold.
To sum up this weekend, many of the clients attended the collectables gala and enjoyed the whisky tasting before the Wine and Spirits sale that saw all Ports, Japanese whisky and Macallan whisky selling well. Spink is pleased to continue selling the Macallan brand in their auctions after achieving a world record of HK$1,952,000 for a full cask of this whisky in July 2014.