SPINK CHINA | On the 17th January 2016 Spink will be welcoming the New Year with a philatelic sale that is brimming with the material guaranteed to appeal to the discerning collector. Spink are famed for their ability to source and catalogue the finest quality philately and postal history for their auctions, in terms of this sale however, that is a gross understatement. Rarities, surprises and errors abound in this sale, if you have not picked up your copy of the catalogue you should and soon! With such interesting items for offer, we won't have many catalogues for long.

First and foremost among the stars of this sale is lot 2413. This is, without question, the most important item of Hong Kong philately. No other block or cover, despite their rarity, can compare with this block. It is the one and only 96c. olive-bistre, the right margin block of four with full original gum, superb centring and exceptionally fresh colour. The 96c. olive-bistre has a very short but sweet life story. They were released by the Post Office around January or February 1865 and were withdrawn when the correct brownish grey stamps arrived during late July or August 1865. Initially the Hong Kong Post Office failed to notice that this new supply of stamps was printed in an olive-bistre colour. There was no reason for this change and it is believed that it was simply a mistake on the part of De la Rue. The fact that this stamp is not known overprinted "SPECIMEN" also indicates that it is a genuine error of colour. The mistake was discovered when the stamps were needed by the Post Office, but it was too late to prevent this incorrect colour being used.

Only forty eight unused examples have been recorded, including this block of four. This is the only unused multiple of this stamp. In 1865, when this stamp was released, stamp collecting was in its infancy; the first printed stamp album was only produced in 1862. This 96c. olive-bistre stamp was missed by most collectors and dealers. Naturally the issue of this stamp was not advertised by the Hong Kong Post Office, as it was associated with the embarrassing 'variation' of colour. Spink could not be more thrilled to be selling this incredible piece of Hong Kong postal history, and what is genuinely a beautiful block.

HK Olive -bistre Block 001

Lot 2413, estimated: HK$7,000,000-8,000,000

Not to be outshone though, is lot 2394, the Magnificent Kobdo cover, an apparently unappealing cover worth millions! At first glance many collectors could overlook this envelope as not being very exciting. However, it is from Kobdo in Mongolia when Russian postage stamps were used. Interest in Mongolian postal history has soured in recent years and the enthusiast will quickly spot the importance and appeal of this envelope. For one thing, there are only six letters recorded from Kobdo, and this cover bears the Russian Arms stamp values 5k and 70k. This is an unusually high franking and the only recorded cover bearing a 70k stamp. This is also believed to be the best of the six covers.

Sale 16013 Mongolia Kobdo Cover 001

Lot 2394, estimated: HK$2,500,000-3,000,000 

For more information, please contact:

Tel: +852 3952 3000 | Email: [email protected]

SPINK CHINA | 4/F Hua Fu Commercial Building | 111 Queen's Road West | Hong Kong

About Spink

Spink is the world's leading auctioneer of stamps, coins, banknotes, medals, bonds & shares, autographs, books and wine.  Since its foundation in 1666, the Spink name has become synonymous with tradition, experience and integrity. Holder of royal warrants and numerous records for prices achieved at auction, Spink offers an unparalleled range of services to collectors worldwide.  Headquartered in London, with offices in New York, Hong Kong, Singapore and Switzerland, Spink holds over 70 auctions a year.  Catalogues can be accessed through the Spink website (www.spink.comor via the Spink App for iPhone and iPad