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Saturday, November 13, 2010

From a King's collection: $50,000 stamp sells in Cherrystone's New York auction

Though it boasted rare stamps and covers from around the world, the sale was clearly led by China

Cherrystone's auction of rare United States and Worldwide stamps and covers concluded in New York yesterday (November 11).

The properties of various owners and estates were on offer, including an award-winning collection of Zeppelin Mails, most notably Iceland, formed by the late David Hill.

Various Swiss rarities also went under the hammer including pieces to interest collectors of the Basel Dove, Double Geneva, Zurich 4 and Waadt 4, and a strong selection of Israel with Doar Ivri including perforate and imperforate plate blocks.

The two most exciting lots however both related to China. Hailing from the former was a set of three strips of the 1905 10c grass-green stamp, divided by perforations into four.

Chinese stamp strip of four
Chinese stamp strip of four

The Dragon's head faces downwards on the strips, which bear the sequential serial numbers 935, 936, 937. Extremely rare, unused and in very fine condition, the collection sold as expected for $29,000.

Chinese stamps are particularly strong investments at the moment with an increase in stamp collecting one of the strongest points of a rapidly swelling collecting movement in the country.

Investors on the lookout for Chinese stamps might consider these two multiples which are currently available: a strip of four clean-cut olive-yellow stamps from 1885-88 or this 1888 block of Horse and Dragon design carmine stamps.

The top lot at Cherrystone, however was a rare surcharged stamp from the Italian offices in China at Pechino. The 1920 ultramarine & rose 5 Lire stamp bears the text "2 DOLLARI" (in upper case, not lower case, as is sometimes seen) courtesy of a local handstamp.

Italian Offices China Pechino surcharge stamp
Italian Offices in China (Pechino) surcharge stamp

It has never been hinged and is perfectly centred and signed Diena etc, with a 1980 Dr Enzo Diena certificate. A premier rarity from the Italian Colonies and certainly one of the best, if not the finest of the only 15 issued.