Private courier post blocks in May 26-27 Kelleher and Rogers auction in Hong Kong

Apr 29, 2021, 7 PM
The May 26-27 Kelleher and Rogers auction in Hong Kong includes two blocks of four of the 1898 courier post first issue of Wei Hai Wei: one each of the 2¢ black on red and the 5¢ black on red.

By Michael Baadke

The upcoming sale from Kelleher and Rogers Fine Asian Auctions offers single stamps, sets, collections, and postal history from China, Japan, Korea, and other Asian countries, including material from the Norman Jacobs collection of South East Asia.

The May 26-27 sale featuring almost 900 lots will take place at the Kelleher and Rogers offices in Hong Kong, with online and other bidding options available.

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Among the items from the Chinese Empire is a single unused stamp known as the Golden Dragon, the 1897 10¢-on-12-candareen large figures wide surcharged stamp of the Empress Dowager 60th Birthday issue, first printing (Scott 45).

This stamp is described by Kelleher and Rogers as “one of the true great rarities of the Qing Dynasty, displaying vivid, true first issue color, remarkably fresh with excellent centering, with full pristine original gum which shows just the slightest evidence of hinging; a few roughish/shortish perfs at right mentioned solely for accuracy, otherwise Very Fine+.”

The stamp is accompanied by a 2012 Experts and Consultants Ltd. certificate.

The unused stamp is listed in the 2017 Scott Classic Specialized Catalogue of Stamps and Covers 1840-1940 with a value of $35,000 in italics, which indicates an item that can be a challenge to value accurately.

Bidding opens on the example offered in this auction at $150,000 in Hong Kong dollars (US$19,275) and carries an estimate of HK$300,000 to HK$400,000 (US$38,550 to US$51,400). The U.S. equivalences are approximate.

According to the 2017 Scott Classic Specialized catalog, Wei Hai Wei was a port in Shantung province leased to Great Britain in 1899. Four major stamp varieties were issued on behalf of a private courier post during a brief period from December 1898 to January 1899. A British post office using Hong Kong stamps opened in September 1899.

Though not a true treaty port, the Wei Hai Wei stamps are listed under China Treaty Ports in the Scott Classic Specialized catalog.

The first issue consists of two provisional stamps with denominations of 2¢ and 5¢ in black on red paper, created with specially struck double-circle chops of Cornabe Co., the private courier.

This auction offers one unused block of four for both of these rarely seen issues (Scott 1-2). Only 784 of the 2¢ stamps were produced, and just 392 examples of the 5¢. The opening bid for the 2¢ block is HK$13,000 (US$1,670), and the 5¢ block opens at HK$30,000 (US$3,850).

The sought-after 1980 8-fen Year of the Monkey stamp from the People’s Republic of China (Scott 1586) also is available unused and never hinged in this auction: as a single stamp, a block of four, and a complete sheet of 80.

The 2018 Scott Standard Postage Stamp Catalogue lists a value of $1,750 in italics for a single mint example of the Year of the Monkey stamp. The pane of 80 is offered by Kelleher and Rogers with the opening bid at HK$450,000 (US$57,800).

Interested collectors can view the entire auction online, with live bidding available during the auction via Stamp Auction Network (advance registration is required).

Information also is available from Kelleher and Rogers Ltd., 2015 Malaysia Building 9/F, 50 Gloucester Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong; or e-mail here.