The pre-sale estimate stood at US$7.7 million, but the auction far surpassed it and is the third largest auction of Chinese and Hong Kong stamps, setting the benchmark for future stamp auctions around the world.
Over 140 bidders were present at the four-day auction, held from January 11-14 at the Excelsior Hotel in Hong Kong, bidding against 60 phone bidders and hundreds of bidders who submitted written or electronic bids through Interasia's live-auction internet bidding service.
There was a strong competition for valuable items such as the 1968 "Whole Country is Red" from the Cultural Revolution Period, which realized HK$5,020,000. It shows workers, peasants, and soldiers on a map of China, one worker holding up Mao's red book, a very interesting and revered piece. Envelopes with 1878-85 Large Dragons (China's first stamp issue) were also another coveted item, due to the "Postage already paid/Do not demand, do not pay" framed handstamp applied to the Large Dragons on the cover. The lot realized HK$1,955,000. A Large Dragons-U.S combination realized HK$1,840,000.
"We are gratified by the broad support and keen interest from collectors for bothChinaandHong Kongstamps. They reflect a very healthy and vibrant market and produced our strong results. Notwithstanding economic uncertainties, collectors continue to actively pursue their hobby, across all price levels," said Dr Jeffrey Schneider, director of Interasia Auctions. "With such a strong market, as you can imagine, the competition was especially fierce for rare and elusive pieces."