Kelleher and Rogers March 11 sale features Imperial China, PRC stamps and postal history

Feb 19, 2021, 11 AM

By Charles Snee

Kelleher and Rogers, the Hong Kong-based division of Daniel F. Kelleher Auctions, will conduct a sale of Imperial China and People’s Republic of China stamps and postal history March 11 at the Kelleher firm’s headquarters in Danbury, Conn.

The auction will be held in two sessions, with the first session beginning at 10 a.m. Eastern Time and the second starting at 1 p.m. Eastern Time.

The first session features the Legend of the Dragon collection of Imperial China stamps and postal history.

In an overview of the sale on the Kelleher and Rogers website, the auction firm said that “The overriding emphasis of this compact stellar collection is the iconic Large and Small Dragon issues of the Ching Dynasty. Another extraordinary portion of this legendary collection lies in the remarkable assembly of lots dedicated to the 1897-1914 Coiling Dragon issues, with an abundance of rare cancellations and usages.”

The second session will offer an important collection of the People’s Republic of China formed by the Tsang family.

Kelleher and Rogers advises potential bidders that “the buyer’s premium for this sale is 20%. However there is a 2% discount from the hammer price if payments reach us within 15 days after the sale date.” Additional details are available in the terms of sale.

Among the key items in the Legend of the Dragon collection are selected Large Dragon issues in intact sheets. Among these is a complete unused sheet of 25 of the 1878 5-candareen orange Large Dragon on thin paper (Scott 3).

According to Kelleher and Rogers, this sheet once resided in the Maj. James Starr collection, and has selvage all around and “dazzling color on bright white paper.” There are also “tiny age specks on gum or in the paper” and “the top and bottom margins are a bit shortened.”

Kelleher and Rogers estimates this Large Dragon sheet at $500,000 to $600,000 in Hong Kong dollars (approximately US$64,500 to US$77,400 in mid-February), with a minimum opening bid of HK$250,000 (US$32,250).

For comparison a single 5c orange Large Dragon in unused condition is valued at $1,450 in the 2021 Scott Standard Postage Stamp Catalogue.

The Legend of the Dragon collection also includes a number of surcharged 1897 revenue stamps, known to collectors as the Red Revenues.

One Red Revenue that will cross the auction block is an unused $5-on-3¢ denomination (Scott 85) with “deep bright color on fresh white paper,” according to Kelleher and Rogers.

This stamp, which is centered to top right, is offered with an estimate of HK$150,000 to HK$200,000 (US$19,350 to US$25,800).

Scott values an unused $5-on-3¢ Red Revenue in very fine condition at $85,000.

One of the highlights of the Tsang family collection sale is a mint, never-hinged 1968 8-fen Directives of Chairman Mao strip of five (Scott 996a).

Each of the five stamps in the se-tenant strip features a statement from Mao Tse-tung about the Chinese Cultural Revolution. The stamps are distinguished by the number of lines of text over Mao’s signature.

Kelleher and Rogers notes that this Directives of Chairman Mao strip has been “lightly folded” and has a “minor thumbnail crease and insignificant bends.” An unfolded mint, never-hinged strip is valued at $7,000 in the Scott catalog, with the value italicized to indicate an item that is difficult to value due to limited market data.

Bidding on the strip in the auction begins at HK$10,000 (US$1,300). It carries an estimate of HK$20,000 to HK$25,000 (US$2,600 to US$3,225).

Another featured lot from the Tsang family collection is a mint, never-hinged imperforate set of eight 1962 Mei Lan-fang stamps described by Kelleher and Rogers as having “exquisite colors on fresh white paper.” Each stamp in the set has an ample top or bottom selvage margin.

The Scott catalog notes the existence of imperforate Mei Lan-fang stamps but does not list them. In a footnote accompanying the listing for the perforated stamps (Scott 620-627), Scott values a complete imperforate mint set at $6,750.

Kelleher and Rogers is offering this imperforate Mei Lan-fang set with an estimate of HK$25,000 to HK$30,000 (US$3,225 to US$3,875) and an opening bid of HK$13,000 (US$1,675).

Kelleher and Rogers has prepared a single catalog for the Legend of the Dragon and Tsang family collections sale that is available for viewing on the firm’s website, with online bidding options available.

For additional information, contact Daniel F. Kelleher Auctions, 22 Shelter Rock Lane, Unit 53, Danbury, CT 06810.

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