Auction: 16012 - Meiso Mizuhara, The Exhibition Collections, The Chinese Customs Post
1878-83 The Large Dragon Issue
The Dragon Proofs with Extra Circle
1 ca. die proof in black on stout wove paper, 48 x 68 mm; fine and rare.
This has now developed to the accepted design and the dragon shows the three dots for each eyebrow. Only two examples have been recorded (both at one time in the Sir Percival David collection), however, the other example has been cut down.
provenance: John N. Luff, March 1922
E.H. Finegan, October 1937,
Sir Percival David, October 1970,
Richard Canman, October 1972
When a new seal was sent to an official, it was traditional for him to select and remove a small point in the seal (without damaging the characters). A print of his adopted seal was then filed with the central government in Peking. In this way, any unauthorised use of the seal before it was delivered to the correct person could be identified. It is believed that, following this tradition, the extra circle in the design (in the lower left corner) was placed there as a security device to detect any stamps which may have been fraudulently produced. A circle was removed by the official to whom the dies, or clichés, were sent. This one official decided which of the circles would be removed.
Sold for HK$1,700,000