Auction review: China leads recent Eastern sale

Prices do not include 15 per cent buyer’s premium

A “magnificent and very fine set” of sought-after imperforate stamps issued by the People’s Republic of China in 1962 realized $325,000 at a New Brunswick auction earlier this month.

Described as an “outstanding complete set” of imperforate corner blocks from the 1962 Stage Art of Mei Lan-fang issue (Scott #620-627), the stamps were offered as Lot 21 of the two-day sale hosted by Bathurst, N.B.’s Eastern Auctions on Nov. 3-4. Altogether, the 18-stamp set had a catalogue value of $117,000, which the winning bid nearly doubled.

Other popular People’s Republic of China items included Lot 37, an “extraordinary” offering of six miniature sheets of the 1962 $3 Stage Art of Mea Lan-fang issue (Scott #628).

“This is the key souvenir sheet of China,” said Yohann Tanguay, chief describer at Eastern Auctions. “If you collect China, you’ll always want to have one, and these are in very good condition compared to what’s out there.”

Described as very fine, never hinged, and in “well-above average condition for this notoriously difficult sheet,” this lot crossed the block for $60,000.

Rounding out the People’s Republic of China highlights was Lot 118, a “spectacular” full sheet of 40 “Directives of Chairman Mao” stamps issued in 1968 (Scott #996a). According to Tanguay, a “very small number of sheets of this key issue remain intact.” Consisting of eight se-tenant strips of five stamps, this lot realized $52,500.


The People’s Republic of China section—offered on Nov. 3 as Lots 1-124—was followed by a general sale, which included an “extensive array of worldwide country collections, many offered intact including useful selections of British Empire and Russia, in addition to exotic countries.”

British North America was offered as Lots 343-409, which included several classic and airmail rarities, archival proofs and a strong showing of large lots and collections.

Highlights included Lot 368, a “rare unused example” of the 1861-62 imperforate one-pence reddish brown on medium hard wove paper. Described as having “prominent and very distinctive rich colour … surrounded by full even margins,” this lot was accompanied by a 1930 Royal Philatelic Society of London expertization certificate and a 2015 BPA Expertising certificate. According to pre-eminent Newfoundland philately expert Robert H. Pratt, only four sheets (a total of 480 stamps) are believed to have been printed.

This lot realized $11,000.

“People are always looking for that stamp,” added Tanguay.


The second day of the sale was devoted to Canada and included everything from proofs to postal history lots and superb mint never hinged singles to unusual plate varieties.

Among the Canadian highlights was Lot 440, a “lightly cancelled example of Canada’s most desirable stamp,” the 1851 12-pence imperforate black on handmade laid paper (Scott #3). Described as a “very presentable and affordable example of Canada’s most iconic stamp,” this example was accompanied by a 1990 BPA Expertising certificate and sold for $23,000.

Other Canadian highlights included Lot 833, an “outstanding mint block” of 10 1954 two-cent Wilding stamps originating from a miniature pane of 25 stamps. Imperforate horizontally between the stamps, this item is a new discovery that was revealed to the public only a few months ago.

Described as an “impressive and unique piece, holding the entire known population of this perforation error,” this lot was accompanied by a 2017 Vincent Graves Greene Philatelic Research Foundation expertization certificate and sold for $21,000.

Among the top airmail highlights was Lot 897, an unused example of a “celebrated and very rare airmail” stamp, the 25-cent green and yellow stamp issued in 1927 (Scott #CLP6) for the trans-Atlantic flight of Captain Terrance Tully and his navigator Lieutenant James Madcalf.

Both men disappeared after departing from Harbour Grace, Nfld. on their way to England. Of the 100 stamps originally printed, only 13 examples are known to exist in any condition as most examples were affixed to covers carried on the ill-fated flight. This lot was accompanied by a 2006 Vincent Graves Greene Philatelic Research Foundation expertization certificate and realized $21,000.

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