Part 1 of extensive Kilgas China collection in June 14 Cherrystone auction

May 31, 2023, 11 AM
This colorful 1897 registered cover from Shanghai, China, to Oppeln, Germany, is included in the selection of Red Revenue items up for bids in Cherrystone Philatelic Auctioneers’ June 14 sale of part 1 of the Carl A. Kilgas collection of China.

By Charles Snee

Cherrystone Philatelic Auctioneers will present part 1 of the extensive Carl A. Kilgas collection of China during a sale to be held June 14 at its gallery in Teaneck, N.J.

The 298-lot auction will begin at 10 a.m. Eastern Time.

Highlights of the first part of the collection include selections from Kilgas’ impressive holdings of the Large Dragons, Dowagers and Chinese Imperial Post Coiling Dragons issues.

According to Cherrystone, Kilgas was an active member of the Southern California chapter of the China Stamp Society and an enthusiastic supporter of the Sescal stamp show in Los Angeles.

He published articles in the society’s journal, China Clipper, from 1976 to 1985, and discussed China’s postal history in scholarly articles published in the Collectors Club Philatelist, the official publication of the Collectors Club in New York City.

In an overview of Kilgas’ philatelic accomplishments, Cherrystone summarized some of the formidable obstacles he grappled with during his early collecting years.

“It is difficult for philatelists today to imagine what it was like collecting China in the years before the Ma Catalogue’s publication in 1947,” Cherrystone said on its website.

“Back then, collectors had to depend on general worldwide catalogues such as Scott, Stanley Gibbons and Yvert & Tellier.

“Imperial China’s 1878-1883 Large Dragons were listed as only three major stamps, rather than the twelve we recognize today. The Dowagers were listed as one set of nine. Other printings were regarded as mere shade varieties.”

For many years, Kilgas flew under the radar of the international China philatelic community. His anonymity ended “when he was asked to provide a few album pages to the 1984 Rocpex exhibition in Taipei,” according to Cherrystone.

Kilgas received frequent annoying calls from dealers in Taiwan who insisted on purchasing his collection, which prompted him to not sell anything.

“Almost forty years later, we benefit from this decision since the comprehensive collection that we are now pleased to offer has remained completely untouched,” Cherrystone said.

One of the more colorful items among the Red Revenue offerings is a registered letter sent April 22, 1897, from Shanghai, China, to Oppeln, Germany, that appears on the cover of Cherrystone’s catalog for the auction.

The eight-stamp franking includes five surcharged Dowager stamps, two surcharged Red Revenue stamps and a France 50-centime stamp overprinted “Chine.” The Dowager and Red Revenue stamps bear six-bar Pakua cancels.

The cover was mailed from the French post office in Shanghai, where the 50c stamp was added, according to Cherrystone.

Markings on the back (not shown) indicate that the letter transited through Naples and Bologna in Italy and was routed via Milan, Italy, and through Chiasso and Zurich in Switzerland before arriving in Oppeln on May 27, slightly more than one month after it was mailed.

Cherrystone is offering this attractive 1897 registered combination cover from Shanghai to Germany with an opening bid of $14,000.

The catalog for the June 14 sale of part 1 of the Kilgas collection can be viewed and is available for download on the Cherrystone website, with online bidding options available.

Information also is available from Cherrystone Philatelic Auctioneers, 300 Frank W. Burr Blvd., Second Floor, Box 35, Teaneck, NJ 07666.

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