Stanley Gibbons auction reveals demand for Chinese stamps

1968 'The Whole Country is Red' 8f Chinese stamp, auctioned for $47,700 at a Dec. 15 Stanley Gibbons auction in London. Image courtesy of Stanley Gibbons.

1968 ‘The Whole Country is Red’ 8f Chinese stamp, auctioned for $47,700 at a Dec. 15 Stanley Gibbons auction in London. Image courtesy of Stanley Gibbons.

LONDON – Stanley Gibbons’ public auction held on Dec. 15 in London showed that Asian material is proving very popular with bidders, with the China section of the sale more than doubling its lower pre-auction estimate of just over £56,000 ($78,000). All prices quoted are inclusive of 15% buyer’s premium unless otherwise noted.

Room bidders were competing against determined telephone bidders and a strong log book, which resulted in Lot 58, the 1962 Stage Art of Mei Lan-fang 3y miniature sheet (SG MS2044a), realizing £12,650 ($19,435). The top lot, a 1968 “The Whole Country is Red” 8f, achieved £31,050 ($47,700), in spite of its condition report stating it had been repaired, was re-gummed and had tone spots.

Collections of China were also keenly contested, with Lot 87, a general collection in three volumes from 1949 to mid 1980s, making £20,700 ($31,800). What was described as an “interesting accumulation of Postal History loose in carton” (Lot 86) was bid to £13,800 ($21,200).

Hong Kong continued the trend with Lot 384, a 1904-06 $10 slate and orange/blue (SG 90) lightly used, reaching £1,035 ($1,590). Lot 549, a complete sheet of Trengganu 1942 $5 green and red/yellow (SG J115), settled at £10,925 ($16,785).

The afternoon’s Great Britain section saw strong competition, pushing the prices for most of the 1840 1d black lots well above estimates. “Better” booklets again showing strength with Lot 1196, a 1934 5s black/buff (SG BB35) edition 8, garnering £1,610 ($2,475) and Lot 1204, a 1940 5s black/buff (SG BD25) edition 8, changing hands at £1,495 ($2,295).

The Penny Black has proved popular among Chinese collectors, with Stanley Gibbons selling out of stock at an event in Beijing in November. Stanley Gibbons CEO, Mike Hall advised that, with Chinese collectors prepared to pay well over catalog prices, the value of this relic of British philately would surely increase. Buyers of the 1d black at this month’s auction may well have secured themselves a great deal if the trend continues, Gibbons noted.

The auction also raised more than £4,600 on the hammer ($7,065) for the Jersey-based “Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust.” All 39 lots auctioned specifically to benefit the cause found new homes.

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