24,000 stamps, rare Mao Zedong calligraphy scrolls, stolen from collector’s apartment

More than 24,000 stamps, 10 coins and seven rare Mao Zedong calligraphy scrolls reportedly worth upwards of $845 million were stolen from high-profile collector Fu Chunxiao, of China, this September.

An anonymous police source told the South China Morning Post, a Hong Kong-based English-language newspaper, the items were stolen from Chunxiao’s Hong Kong apartment, where he stores his collections, while he was at his home in mainland China.

“The thief walked into the 16-storey residential building, prized open an iron gate and burst through a wooden door to get inside the apartment, before making off via the same route with the goods,” reads a report from Agence France-Presse. One of the scrolls was cut into two pieces before being recovered along with a pair of coins on Sept. 22, when police arrested a 49-year-old man.

No other items have been recovered by police, who are seeking at least two other people believed to be connected to the theft.

Four men have been arrested altogether.

Chunxiao, a member of the Hong Kong Philatelic Society (akin to the Royal Philatelic Society of Canada), was later hospitalized for insomnia but has since recovered.

Among the stolen stamps was a rare 1968 Chinese issue known as “The Whole Country is Red,” which was recalled within a day of being issued after authorities learned Taiwan was not shaded red. One of only nine believed to exist, Chunxiao’s example sold for 13.8 million yuan (about $2.7 million Cdn.) at a 2018 auction.

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