The earliest known letter from Hong Kong will be part of Interasia Auctions large philatelic auction for 2014.
The 3,600-lot auction to be held January 11 to 14, 2014, at The Excelsior Hotel, is expected to bring in more than US$7.7 million (HK$60 million).
Interasia holds semi-annual sales of philatelic collectibles with a focus on rare stamps from Hong Kong and mainland China. One of this year's Hong Kong highlights is the earliest known letter ever sent from the city, estimated at US$32,000 - 38,000.
The well-documented September 9, 1839, letter from missionary Reverend J.R. Morrison to his sister in England was written aboard a ship in Hong Kong's harbor housing British refugees expelled from Canton at the outset of the First Opium War.
The lengthy letter describes the evacuation of the British refugees from Macau, which had been unwilling to let them remain after their leaving Canton, and notes "the feeling of the Chinese [that the British were] protecting the opium trade." Written at a time when Hong Kong was little more than a series of villages, the letter was privately carried to Singapore, from where it was sent through to England via India.
Also at the auction will be rare Chinese stamps such as an immaculate mint set of blocks of four with sheet margins of the 1952 unissued Russian Revolution set with the Soviet inscription error (pre-sale estimate of US$322,000 - 386,000).
The commonly referred to victory stamp showing chairman Mao and Lin Biao before a victory celebration in the countryside, in a mint example with sheet margin will also be going under the hammer with an estimate of US$51,000 - 64,000.
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