By Tim Hodge
Spink USA held an auction Dec. 6-7 in New York City, presenting many worldwide rarities. China also featured well in this sale, with a 1915 $2 blue and black Hall of Classics stamp, first Peking printing, with inverted center (Scott 237a). The stamp is considered one of the Four Treasures of the Republic, with only 40 examples known.
Despite poor centering and a few short perforations, this rarity realized $81,000, including Spink’s 20 percent buyer’s premium.
Recently discovered and offered for the first time, the second of only two examples of Chile’s 1910 1-centavo Oath of Independence stamp with inverted center (Scott 83a), considered to be the most important variety of Chilean philately, sold for $24,000.
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Brazil’s famous Bull’s Eyes, the 1843 first issues, brought record prices in the Spink sale. Two highlights include the largest known multiple of the 1844 60-reis stamp on cover. The rarity is enhanced by this strip of four containing only type II from the first plate, which is the scarcer of the types. This high franking was for a domestic triple-weight letter carried by ship. It found a new home for $57,000.
The largest multiple containing both type I and type II of the 1845 90r stamp, intermediate impression, garnered $150,000. The bottom two rows of the sheet were entirely type I instead of a combination of type I and type II. Only three multiples are believed to exist bearing both type I and type II from the bottom rows. Of those three, this one with stamps from three rows is the largest multiple.
Spink USA also offered a specialized Russian collection containing the earliest recorded cover bearing a Russian postmark: dated 1765, from St. Petersburg. A unique piece of stampless postal history, it sold for $18,000.
A set of three 1857 engraver’s progressive proofs of the first issue of Russia was offered through Spink USA. A new owner for these famous proofs, the next in a great lineage that includes Faberge, was found for $69,000