Cover mailed from Mongolia with Russian stamps auctioned by Zurich Asia

By Matthew Healey

Zurich Asia sold a 1917 cover sent by registered mail from Khovd, Mongolia, to Beijing for $148,000 at its March 15-16 auction in Hong Kong.

Zurich Asia held an auction in Hong Kong March 15-16 featuring stamps and postal history of China, Hong Kong and other Asian countries.

One of the most interesting items was a 1917 cover sent by registered mail from the Mongolian town of Khovd (or Hovd) to Beijing. Decorated on one side with a red band, denoting good news, and covered with Chinese writing, the cover is franked with a single and a vertical pair of the Russian 10-kopeck Arms stamp of 1909 (Scott 79) and postmarked with the circular date stamp of the Russian post office in the town then known as Kobdo.

Mongolian and Russian censor markings, as well as bilingual Peking (Beijing) transit and arrival markings, complete the picture of the cover’s journey.

The Russian post office in Khovd opened in 1913 and closed in 1924, according to the Zurich Asia auction catalog. Only four covers were previously known from there, the one in the Zurich Asia sale being a newly discovered fifth.

It sold for the equivalent of $148,000, including the 15 percent buyer’s premium Zurich Asia adds to the hammer price on all lots.

Another by now familiar item was a full mint sheet of the 1980 Year of the Monkey 8-fen stamp (Scott 1586), which sold for more than $155,000.

Published 4/24/2014 6:50 AM