By Michael Baadke
Nearly 50 years ago, the People’s Republic of China issued an 8-fen stamp known by the name The Whole Country is Red (Scott 999A). The 1968 stamp shows a worker, a farmer and a soldier, along with a prominently displayed China map.
A problem arose because the island of Taiwan, though depicted on the map in the stamp design, was only outlined in red, not filled in with red like the mainland.
The People’s Republic maintains that Taiwan is part of China, and so the stamp with the not-so-red Taiwan on the map was quickly withdrawn from sale.
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The scarcity of this issue and the demand for it among collectors has pushed the Scott catalog value to $135,000 for sound unrepaired examples. The stamp is most often found repaired, the Scott Standard Postage Stamp Catalogue notes.
In its Nov. 17-18 auction in Hong Kong, Kelleher and Rogers Fine Asian Auctions Ltd. will offer what it describes as “a pristine and flawless example of this iconic rarity, wonderfully fresh with a perfect surface and sound perforations, with full white o.g. [original gum], never hinged.”
Kelleher and Rogers offers this stamp with an opening bid of $260,000 in Hong Kong dollars, or approximately US$33,300.
The Friday auction session has its focus on China, with collections plus individual lots of Chinese empire, republic, Taiwan, and the People’s Republic of China.
The Saturday offerings include Hong Kong, Japan and other Asia, presenting 814 lots over the course of the two-day sale.
Interested collectors can view the auction lots online at kelleherasia.com, with live bidding during the auction via Stamp Auction Network (advance registration is required).
Information is also available from Kelleher and Rogers Ltd., 1802 Perfect Industrial Building, 31 Tai Yau St., San Po Kong, Hong Kong; or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.■