An 1849 Epaulettes cover featuring the 10c brown, has provided one of the highlights of the third sale of chess grandmaster Anatoly Karpov's renowned Belgian stamp collection, on December 13 and 14 in Geneva.
Featuring very good margins, and bearing "Allemagne Chemin de Fer 18 sept" from 1849 and "LIEGE BOITE DE LA STATION" hand stamps, it beat its $52,663 estimate with a $63,255 showing.
Just four comparable examples of the cover exist, according to the auction house, with this being the only "superb" version.
The sale also featured a $63,255 performance from an 1849 40c carmine block of four. In achieving the strong price, the mint, never hinged lot, which featured all of its original gum, made a mockery of its $31,598 estimate.
The results build upon a strong showing achieved by the second Karpov sale in April, which saw an 1861 20c Epaulettes with 20c Medaillons perforation essay cover beat its estimate by 1,500%.
The auction house also hosted the David Casey sale earlier in the week, where the earliest known cover from the official Russian post in Peking sold for $222,259, achieving a 142.8% increase on estimate.
You can read auctioneer David Feldman's preview of the sale here.
These are exciting times for Belgian stamp collectors; a Belgian Congo 10f is set to star at a US auction in January, armed with a $60,000 minimum bid.