A block of four stamps from the renowned Chinese Whole Country is Red issue has sold at the top of an important Asian philatelic auction, which was held on December 18 in Hong Kong.
Among the most sought after stamps in Chinese philately, the Whole Country is Red block saw strong bids, selling for $816,123 - a 5.4% increase on its $744,188 high estimate. The margin block is among the finest of its kind, described by the auction house as "a flawless gem 'sans pareil'".
The current world record for a single Chinese stamp is held by another such example of the Whole Country is Red issue, which sold for $1.1m in Beijing earlier this year.
The error for which the stamps are known was discovered within the first half day of issue in 1968, when the editor of the China Atlas Press discovered inaccuracies in the map featured within the design. The archipelagos of Xisha and Nanshi had been omitted and Taiwan was coloured white, rather than red.
The stamps were withdrawn from sale almost immediately after the error had been noticed, however some post offices had sold examples before the official date of issue. The corrected stamps would never be officially released.
The block at auction was sold in stunning condition, with vivid colour, bright white paper and pristine original gum. Its value was boosted by the sheet margin at its base, which displayed its imprint.
Paul Fraser Collectibles has a unique block of four Hong Kong 96c olive-bistre stamps, which is one of the rarest gems in all Hong Kong philately. See all of our investment-grade stamps for sale.