Over the weekend of January 22-23, Spink held a number of auctions in Hong Kong offering a great number and variety of Asian collectibles including the 96c bistre block of Hong Kong. The results on some of the stamp auctions are still pending.
However, one section of the auction which is done and dusted is the sale of the Mizhuhara Collection of Mongolian Stamps - and what a sale it proved to be, with 167 lots producing some extraordinary results.
The two top lots were covers from two consulate posts in Urga (now known as Ulan Bator). Neatly illustrating the strength of the markets, the two posts which created the covers were the Russian and Chinese posts.
The former is an 1878 (30 January) opened-out red band cover to Peking from the Russian consulate post office in Urga bearing Russian Arms 1 kopek, 5 kopek and 10 kopek tied by pen crosses in black ink. Some cover faults appear at the foot, but these do not detract from the importance and rarity of the cover.
This is thought to be the earliest stamped cover and the only three-colour franking with pen cancel (one of only 10-15 covers known to have pen cancels at all).
Estimated at HK$100,000-120,000 (up to US$15,400), the piece eventually sold for HK$2m (US$260,400).
That's quite a spectacular performance against its listing. But it wasn't the top lot.
That honour went to a 1911 (1 April) opened-out red band cover to Tibet bearing, on the reverse, a C.I.P. 10 cent dull blue tied by a good strike of type I circular date stamp with Shanghai (16.5), Hong Kong (22.5), Calcutta, Base Office (10.6) and Gyantse arrival (14.6) alongside.
An extremely rare and desirable cover, this is the only recorded example sent between Mongolia and Tibet during this period. Expected to bring HK$60,000-80,000 it stirred up frenzied bidding which concluded with the extraordinary bid of HK$3.1m (US$397,800).
Watch this space for more results from the weekend's extraordinary sales.
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