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February 2018


Mossgreen Auctions DEAD.  



I was on a flight at Christmas at 40,000 feet, using WiFi on my laptop, flying from Vienna to Nicosia Cyprus (on-board plane WiFi is a wonderful invention!) reading, and got a nasty shock to see the ASIC Administration notice shown nearby.


mossgreen Auctions now Kaput.


Mossgreen Auction were of course well known to stamp and coin collectors.  Charles Leski, Gary Watson, Nick Anning and Torsten Weller etc had all worked in the stamp and coin department there for years until Xmas 2017, and have over 100 years of stamp dealing experience between them.

Mossgreen conducted 14 different stamp/coin/postcard auctions in 2017, and were one of the largest firms in the country in this field, and they attracted much top end material - including the $A3 million Arthur Gray KGV collection which I flew down for, and reported on extensively here - 

So this large operation, that employed over 50 staff (a large part of their debt problem), collapsing like a house of cards, was a huge surprise to me, and was an even huger surprise to those staff working there, who trust me had zero idea this crash was on the horizon.


A memento from happier times.


From that Administration notice on December 21, to when I am tying this about a month later, things have moved VERY fast, despite the long holiday break.  Near all the remaining staff were sacked by the Administrator on January 16, and no further mossgreen auctions are to take place.

Vendors who sold material at mossgreen during 2017 and who were not paid out already, have zero chance of getting all their money.  It may transpire in the final wash up, they get a few cents on the dollar owed, but the future looks very bleak, to put it mildly.


Assets <$3 million, and debts $12 million.


The Administrators reported that company owed about $A12 million but had assets of about $A3 million.  And those “assets” include about $A1.2 million for purchases made and not yet paid, and clearly not all those invoices will be settled, given this mess.  Would YOU bank transfer $1,000 or $10,000 now, and HOPE some bean-counter mailed you the goods?? 

The Administrators of course charge like wounded bulls - with even a “Junior Cadet” billing out their time at $236 an hour - I kid you not!  As a creditor, I got the full fee schedule being charged out.  Their fees between the December 21 appointment, and the January 4 first creditor meeting were about $200,000 alone - and near everyone was on holiday then! 

THEN the fees clock went mad I am sure, fending off legal and vendor enquiries, and media interviews, Court actions and so on, all billed out at mega hourly rates.  That is how these things often pan out, as history shows us - much of what modest cash assets are on hand, evaporate in Administrator and legal fees etc.


“GRINDIVIK” cancel ‘sells’ for $A10,000


I personally only had a minor exposure to this crash, due to some appallingly described material I had mailed back for credit only in December, and had paid for in full a month earlier, so I ended up on the “list” with ~400 others.  Many other stamp world figures were heavily impacted, sadly.

The Scandinavian family of the late Torbjorn Von Strokirch is owned $225,000, whose collection of Danish West Indies Postal History and Iceland Postmarks and Stationery was auctioned by mossgreen on November 21.  Many of his philatelic pieces got fabulous prices – see photo, but the family will barely see a cent of those sums it appears.

The foxed and tatty looking postcard from the Von Strokirch collection shown nearby, from St Thomas in the Danish West Indies to Copenhagen was invoiced for $A5,300 on an estimate of $600.  If I saw it in a dealer box for $20, I’d not look twice to be honest, but for some reason it attracted heaps of bids.  No idea why.

Tom Frommer, Gary Watson, Max Watson, Tom Carter and Torsten Weller and other well known stamp names were on the creditor list that was compiled by the Administrators, that had about 400 creditors listed.  Near all were “UNSECURED” creditors in the eyes of the law. 


Tatty old postcard “sells” for $A5,300.


Most were vendors at mossgreen.  The highest on the list was $A1.75 million for goods sold October last year on behalf of one unlucky seller, the Copley family.  In these cases the buyers have very likely paid mossgreen, and taken delivery of goods, but the SELLER may get little or nothing of that.

The Hickinbotham family in Adelaide are owed about $A1.2 million - for material sold at auction 8 months back. That story was a lead article in the “Adelaide Advertiser” January 18.  This mossgreen crash has been heavily reported in leading Australia and New Zealand newspapers.

Many other ‘‘mum and dad’’ and collector vendors were on the list, and are owed just a few hundred, ranging to over a million dollars each as in the instances above.  Being “unsecured creditors” these poor souls are totally at the bottom of the totem pole when it comes to seeing even one cent.

There was one large “SECURED” creditor - active stamp collector Jack Gringlas, shown in photo nearby with Sumner in happier days.  Jack was owed around $6 million from when he sold the business mid 2017 to the current owners Paul Sumner and his partner Amanda Swanson.  That couple founded mossgreen in 2004, and it seems were the sole Directors at time of collapse.


NO trust accounts needed it seems?


This sounds absurd when huge figures like $1.75 million a vendor are involved.  Most homes are not that value, but THEY have trust account protection.  The meeting chairman advised the January 4 first creditor meeting: "the company was not required by law to operate a trust account.  Auction monies were essentially used to fund the working capital and trading losses of the business."

The NZ business webb/mossgreen was indebted to the Australian parent company for in excess of $A1 million.  It was placed into Liquidation mid-January.  It was yet another hare-brained purchase and venture by mossgreen owner Paul Sumner.  John Mowbray had owned it before, and who also lost money on Webbs, so learn from mistakes of others.

Ex CEO Sumner seems to be living in some kooky fantasy world that all was hunky dory, and not $10 million in the red.  He kept assuring media and staff even after the Administrators were appointed, and he was removed as a Director, that all was fine, and this was just a blip of some kind, and auctions would be taking place as usual in 2018. 


Charles Leski, Paul Sumner and Jack Gringlas


Sumner told the Sydney Morning Herald - "I want to assure every vendor that they will get their money - every cent of it."  The same assurance was made repeatedly to media, and Sumner also stated no offices would be closed, and no staff would lose their jobs.  Well 50 of them did – him and wife included.

Sumner was quoted in the media as recently as January 17 that mossgreen had not traded whilst insolvent.  I have no idea what Dictionary he uses, but he surely needs a new one?  You cannot be ~$10 million in the hole, and not have been trading whilst insolvent - that would seem pretty clear to anyone.

ASIC of course have strict rules about Directors of Companies that trade whilst insolvent, and their own personal assets can be ordered to be forfeited to cover losses if the Courts so choose.  Hopefully there is a class action mounted from among the 400 creditors. They live in a ~$A3 million home in St. Kilda, so are not on the breadline. 

Someone asked at the creditor’s meeting if his passport had been surrendered, and as it appears Sumner is British born, such actions really do seem prudent, when losses of this magnitude are in the pipeline, with potential legal action possible on many fronts.

I have never met Sumner, and by all accounts he was a personable English smoothie, who had worked for Sotheby’s and Christies, and was doubtless charm on wheels.  Seems like many folks in life - they are best kept away from cheque books.  Not everyone is a businessman.

He was obscenely overstaffed (55 of them!) running around bringing out Mick Fleetwood the musician, and running ritzy “Tea Rooms”, and buying a deadbeat NZ company, and all sort of things NOT focused on running a successful local AUCTION business.

A sorry mess and I can only feel sympathy for those friends and colleagues and collectors who will lose millions due to this unexpected Auction collapse. There might be a final twist to the tail - if so, as always will have it first - 

you can possibly go bust, when Seller Fee was 17½% plus 2½% insurance plus GST = 22%, PLUS the 26.5% Buyer Fee inc GST, and 4% to use a credit card that costs you only ~1%, sure beats ME!


Staff seemed totally unaware.


I had conversations with Gary Watson, Charles Leski and Torsten Weller during December, on different matters, at different times, and none gave me the slightest indication anything was amiss in there. 

I was chasing info on a Victoria postmark this week, and spoke to Gary Watson on it, who is the whizz in this field for some advice and of course touched on this collapse.

I asked Gary when he first heard of this mess, and said like pretty much everyone else - just before Christmas when the Administrator was appointed.  I asked if he had suffered any loss in the collapse and he said:
“yes the family has lost around $100,000 it looks like, unless we witness a miracle.”


Leski and Gary Watson in happier days.


That was very sobering, and he advised his Superannuation Fund “Jeriana” was the main loser with about $50,000, and his elderly father Max Watson lost about $35,000, and he personally lost about $15,000. 

Naturally, I clearly asked if that kind of detail could be mentioned here, and Gary said he was fully agreeable to that, as it is all on the public record, via the debtor list.

Gary had sold off a lot of his superb CEYLON collection in the mossgreen October 3 sale, and clearly would not have been doing that, if he thought the monies would never reach him.  Even working in there, he did not chase the monies up, (vendor payment was due 60 days = early December) as he assumed they’d all be paid in due course.


Watson family loses ~$100,000.


So the Watsons lost ~$100,000, and that is truly terrible to see happen to folks you’ve know well for very many decades - especially when it involve Superannuation money that is earmarked for a move to a comfier retirement. 

I feel sorry - and angry, that a senior employee there was not cautioned by Paul Sumner to hold off on auctioning personal goods, or at least chase his cheque owed, when Sumner was then already meeting with the Administrators.

I asked Gary if he or others working there had any inkling any troubles were in the wind, and he replied he had seen or heard nothing to worry him on that score, and felt sure others thought along those lines. 

Also asked Gary if he knew if Torsten Weller was owed any money as well, as I had heard he did, and Gary said he felt sure that he was, but did not have the creditor list to hand to check on how much.

As random chance had it, I bought a pretty Ceylon superb 1903/1910 KEVII De La Rue UNISSUED value Die Proof from that same October 3 Auction, that Gary had bought from the stupendous Sir Gawaine Baillie collection.  It is shown nearby - a superb looking, and probably unique piece. 


 I own it, but seller Watson not paid.


I listed this on my Rarity Page before Christmas, well before this all occurred, and it was fully paid for of course at time of sale.  Naturally I had absolutely zero idea who the vendor was at that time.  Very sad that 1000s of similar lots were paid for, but all those vendors never got that money from mossgreen.

Gary mentioned he has now moved on from mossgreen, and is just “taking it easy” for the immediate future, and will likely work with assisting existing personal collectors and good clients, of which he has many of course. 

He was not sure how long Torsten would be in there, but had the feeling it was likely for just a few weeks, to assist with getting material back to consignors and the like.  I recall he said Nick Anning had left too.

These stupid Administrators totally disabled the mossgreen website on Friday January 19, so the 100s of hapless vendors trying to look up their sold lots from past auctions that have not been paid for etc, or see what lots they need to check must get returned etc, cannot now see a thing.  Web Hosting costs near ZERO.

A horrible mess, and when senior staffers at the coal face, personally stand to lose $100,000, clearly they had absolutely no idea this collapse was imminent.  Remember the music is not over totally yet.  Sumner or others might well submit a late offer to Administrators - until end January that option is still open to anyone.

Even if a “White Knight” offered to bear just 10% or 20% or so of the vendor sums owed, I suspect debtors would vote to accept it.  One or two million is better than nothing etc, if it looks like a $10 million total whitewash is the only other option.  So by the time this is published, the full story will be known and posted here - 


First Velvet, and now mossgreen.


Velvet Auctions (previously Mowbrays/Stanley Gibbons Auctions) went Bankrupt in 2016, leaving stamp collectors in the hole for another million dollars or so of total losses, far more details here - 

Owner Danny Jurd, who it was clear had been trading whilst insolvent for years, (and was APTA Treasurer at that time for goodness sakes!) seems to have simply walked away from that disaster with no ASIC penalty, and went working for another Auction.  Crazy.


Phoenix the only real choice.


This leaves Phoenix Auctions in Melbourne as the leading stamp auction company in the country, indeed the only realistic choice in 2018.  I feel sure David Wood is being absolutely flooded with material frantically removed from the already lotted mossgreen 2018 sales, by prospective vendors. 

David is an experienced operator, and runs a tight ship.  No sponsored Mick Fleetwood Tours there, or million dollar Sydney office refurbs, or 55 staff, or wanky “Tea Rooms” alongside.  Just a normal well established stamp auction, described by people who know what they are doing.

Well run, stand-alone stamp auctions are a far better and leaner operation, than being a very minor part of a mass of other collectibles sideshows in my view.  The current mossgreen disaster underscores that perfectly.  Stamp auctions know about - STAMPS.


Oz WW2 First Day covers scarce.


Many collectors do not have a mental picture of any big dollar FDC coming from the WW2 era.  Did you know single Definitive stamp can fetch over $10,000 on FDC?  And probably not even be a FDC all the same!  As you will see.

A 1942 5½d Emu on Registered FDC from Brisbane Queensland was invoiced for over $10,000 at the Arthur Gray auction, and a few of those are recorded in collector hands, so a very bullish figure - full as ACSC value is only $A5,000! I listed up the pretty FDC shown nearby this month on my Rarity Page, and it sold in days for a 4 figure sum, so no sales pitch here, just an general overview as to WHY these covers are scarce, and why so few were created.

Australia 1941 FDC seven DIFFERENT STAMPS on the One FDC.  In 40 years of dealing have never seen another.  On a raised print crested envelope, and mailed REGISTERED from "Parliament House, New South Wales" with the very sought after Registration label of that House.

Cancelled with a crystal clear December 10, 1941 date “tying" all 7 stamps and label.  Bears not only the 3 surcharge stamps rush-issued December 10 - themselves very scarce on FDC and cat $350, but ALSO all the 4 ‘new colours’ Definitives that the UPU insisted upon.

A ½d "WAR TAX" was decreed with almost no prior notice, to apply to all Australia letter mail from December 10, 1941, and the 3 overprints were hastily rushed out as an Emergency stop-gap to cover this sudden levy, as the new denomination stamps to cover the 4 most used rates, were of course not yet printed - or even started to print.

These 4 low value stamps did NOT get the usual advance notice of issue in the “ASM” Monthly magazine, as they were true Emergency issues, and hence almost no-one knew they were about to be released, and thus their $600 type values apiece on FDC.


A possibly unique 7 stamp FDC?


The most heavily used was the 2½d letter rate, which had new stamps rush printed starting December 12 for this new rate, but were not issued until January - one alleged “FDC” exists for that value, bizarrely dated January 1, 1942, and Cat is $A7,500 for that one alone.  More on that later.

December 10, 1941, was NOT a great date to issue new Stamps!  The Japanese bombed and decimated Pearl Harbor with no advance warning, on Sunday December 7, Hawaii time, (Monday December 8, Australia time) and the United States Congress and President declared War on the Empire of Japan later that day.

The United Kingdom also declared war on Japan the same day.  Partially due to Japanese attacks on the British colonies of Malaya, Singapore, and Hong Kong, and partially due to Winston Churchill's promise to declare war "within the hour" of a Japanese attack on the United States.


“War Declared” newspapers on same day.


WAR was formally declared here in Canberra at 11:15am December 9, Australian time, and was of course front pages of all newspapers December 10, the day all these 7 stamps were issued!  Following the USA’s Declaration Of War, Japan's allies, Germany and Italy, also declared war on the United States, bringing the United States fully into World War II.

We often forget TV did not exist then of course, phone calls overseas were a total rarity and super expensive, so news was not 'instant' back then as now, and HEAVY Press and Media Censorship was of course in 100% full swing in late 1941, so all this first hit the newspaper front pages on Wednesday December 10.

The same day these 7 stamps were issued, so clearly the last thing on anyone’s mind, was a change of colour on the existing postage stamps, when the Japs had just bombed Hawaii and British Asia the day before, with War Declared! (242 Japanese aircraft surprise bombed Darwin very soon afterwards of course.)

So we have all 4 of the Definitives here, that were all issued December 10 in these new colours based on the new “War Tax” rates, and the 4 new UPU regulations re stamp colours for different rates.

The best-selling Seven Seas Stamps “ASC” catalogue of course lists FDC for these colour change stamps, all of which are rare even on SINGLE covers - at $600, $600, $550 and $500 respectively, and all sell fast when they appear.

In 40 years of dealing I have only seen a few occasional examples of each FDC, and after 77 years, most of those were ratty and foxed etc.  NONE were Registered or back-stamped, the only way to PROVE something was not back-stamped later on, by a mate in a PO somewhere etc. (See below!)

All were stamps clean and fresh, and well centred, with full perfs, and the cover itself was also absolutely clean and flat pristine.  This cover with all 7 is almost certainly unique.  Have never seen another example offered even in auction catalogues.  Condition was PRISTINE - it looked like it was serviced last week, not 77 years back!

The “PARLIAMENT HOUSE” clear cds of December 10, and the Registration label verify it beyond all doubt, and it is backstamped Sydney GPO also on December 10, and also has a superb crisp back-stamp of Balgowlah (Sydney suburb) arrival of “7.30AM - 11 DE 41” as further proof.


Worth $A11,000 to you?


Take a look at this fuzzy “FDC” scan nearby - sadly the best quality Spink London generally do, on their stone-age website.  It was offered in their September Arthur Gray sale as a "FDC", and was accompanied by a real FDC of the booklet pane of the same stamp, from April 1942.


“FDC” or a backdated favour?



Sold for by Spink £4,800, PLUS 5% Tax on that hammer price, PLUS 24% Buyer fee (taking invoice to about $A10,500 before our banks pillage, using fake exchange rates) PLUS Spink's outrageous 4% fee to use a credit card to pay it all. 

So this alleged “1 JA 1942 - FDC” buy cost someone at the time over $10,500, or indeed some $A11,000 if someone here paid by credit card.  On a $7,500 full ACSC value “FDC”.  Quite the bargain - I do NOT think!

NOT being Registered, and being from an obscure PO, I certainly would not have paid even a tiny fraction of that personally, as I am unaware that Epstein was a collector with such fantastic inside contacts, that the REST of the Australian stamp world did not have!

I am sure had I traded from Castlecrag PO in 1942, a kindly PM might have backdated his cds if asked sweetly - and we will never know re “THORNBURY NORTH” for goodness sakes.  January 1 was a Public Holiday in Victoria in 1942, to make it smell even riper. 

Epstein ran a business/lived in Flinders Street Melbourne, so why did he go to obscure “Thornbury North” PO to have covers postmarked - addressed back to Flinders Street!??  It would have involved a train trip on the Thomastown line or a tram trip along High Street.  Crazy.


All highly suspicious to me.


There were many Post Offices closer, including the GPO, and Degraves Street PO (then called Commerce House PO), both a very short walk apart.  And why would anyone assume a small suburban PO on a Public Holiday, would have the only stocks in the entire country of the new issue?!  Makes ZERO sense at all to me.

Discussing this “FDC” on stampboards, cover specialist Rodney Perry stated - “I find it difficult to fathom why a date closer to distribution date of Dec 13, 1941 for the stamp has not been found?  The Letter rate had increased from 2d to 2½d on Dec 10, 1941.”

“Given Christmas occurred in the time frame to which we're referring, more 2½d's other than the Surcharge must surely have been issued to service seasonal demand?  I highly recommend that readers check dates on their KGVI 2½d covers - even clear dates on used stamps prior to Jan 1, 1942 would be enlightening”
  Perry concluded.

Gary Watson from mossgreen popped in for a coffee in December, and saw the 7 stamp FDC sitting on my desk as I was about to mail it out, and was gobsmacked.  He said in 40 years in the trade he could never recall seeing another, and told me what he thought it would get in Auction. (FAR more than I’d very happily sold it for - but now very glad I was not tempted!) 

My client paid about 10% for a superb REGISTERED FDC, of 7 scarce WW2 issues, to what the “Jan 1, 1942” unregistered, purported 2½d “FDC” lot fetched.  In 10 years’ time my buyer will be laughing his head off I suspect!  Some reader likely has a 2½d KGVI commercial cover or piece with a December 1941 date, as Rod Perry surmises should exist.  Let me know if you find one.


Even Decimal FDC can be scarce.


Everyone knows that the pre-war era from Australia has many scarce and valuable FDC like those above, but even the Decimal material as recent as the 1970s can have quite serious value.  Not all collectors realise that reality.


Even 1970s covers can be $100s.


One such modern icon is the 1970 “Small Cook” 30¢ FDC shown nearby.  This one has pretty legendary status, and I have only handled a few copies in 40 years of stamp dealing.  In 1970 Australia Post decided to tentatively enter the FDC market, making a pictorial design FDC for each new issue.

This decision was very low key and it was not well promoted or publicised.  Prior to then, the PO had sold “Generic” First Day Cover envelopes for a few cents each, that had a vertical “Shield” type logo design, that one could buy, and keep them at  home.

One could simply then add your own stamps to them, and have them canceled with those new issues when they came out.  Back then thankfully, were only a few new issues a year - unlike today.

For over 30 years private cachet makers had ruled supreme, and anyone with a 30 year run of Wesley or Royal or Excelsior saw no reason whatever to change.  And they did not.  Hence the PO sold virtually none of their new product! 

In those days, a half century ago, you needed to have First Day Covers addressed and truly mailed - either neatly typed like this one shown, or sadly many were done in handwriting, which almost always looks terrible.  


Quick test for erased addresses!


PO staff would almost never simply cancel stamps, and hand back the envelopes.  Some dealers and collectors addressed the covers in pencil to comply with the rules and erased it later.  Hold those envelopes obliquely to the light and you will near always see the impression of the pencil original address!


POST 1970 “PO Shield” FDC very scarce.


What the PO mostly sold were the "Long Cook" (9 x 4" or DL sized) cover in the exact same design - bearing a se-tenant strip of 5 x 5¢ and a 30¢ - i.e. a full set of 6.  That "Long" Cook cover (identical orange cachet design to “Small Cook”) is not too hard to get, and sells for only $30 today - I always have them in stock if anyone needs one.

The "Small Cook" 30¢ shown above is quite another kettle of fish.  My guess is only a few 100 or so were serviced.  Many have not survived the ensuing 48 years.  Given the enormous Global popularity of Captain Cook as a topical, it adds to their worldwide appeal.  I sold the one nearby off my Rarity Page for $A200 this month and it lasted only a few days, and 4 folks asked after it.


                 Excellent “Small Cook” Forgeries made.


I remember even back in the 1980's the real rare one - the 30¢ "Small Cook" was $750 a FDC, and even so were near unobtainable!  “PW” was the big FDC album maker, and they made a page for the “Small Cook”.  Bingo.  In the early 1980s when the price hit $750, there were superb fakes created.

The only real difference was they used modern envelope stock, which has smooth blue green gum on the flaps - the originals have patchy, very streaky, yellow gum.  See a glued down flap on these, and think “FORGED” as the fakers all panicked when the magazines highlighted the easy to spot gum differences!

The Post Office illustrated FDC as pointed out above, made their debut with the 1970 “Expo” of March 16.  Some collectors simply seek “1970 Onwards” FDC, and only want Post Office issued ones.  However - slight complication - the Expo was not the first stamp issue in 1970.  That honour went to the February 11 issue, 5¢ Standard Gauge Railway.

I found a quite superb Post Office “Shield” FDC of that issue in a collection this week and it is shown nearby. They actually are as scarce as the expensive first 4 PO FDC from 1970s, probably moreso, as most folks bought only Wesley or Royal or Excelsior in 1970.  Anyone missing it let me know - it will cover the pizzas for dinner!


The FIRST Post Office FDC from 1970!


These “Shield” Logo Post Offices covers of course largely ceased when the PO started printing illustrated ones for each new issue.  However they DO exist, and are naturally rather scarce, to very scarce.  Stampboards has a thread on them illustrating known examples and they are many and varied. is that discussion, for those interested.  One of Australia’s leading FDC collectors Brad Baker scanned me the 1971 Xmas Block of 7 on a Long PO “Shield” cover to use here, and that is shown nearby.  Scarce is really the right word here, and I defy you to show me another of those ANYWHERE!  


Better China remains RED Hot!

  China material remains red-hot globally, and the collector base there for top end stamps and covers is totally insatiable.  For anyone who collects this area, the long established Hong Kong firm INTERASIA would be hard to beat, no doubt about that.

INTERASIA produce superb auction catalogue sets for each sale, and secure mind-boggling prices for the key pieces.  Director Rod Schneider sent me some highlights from the next June 16-17 sales, and advises that material for the sale is accepted until mid-February should any readers have this area to sell.

I notice they are continuing to offer more sections of the amazing Jane and Dan Sten Olsson collection of China “Large Dragon” stamps.  These are a super popular issue, and on-cover the prices often go crazy as past auctions have shown us of course.

The undoubted highlight is the iconic October 5, 1878 envelope from Peking to Shanghai bearing a 5 Candarin pair, and single.  This is earliest recorded usage of the Large Dragons - and thus the earliest cover franked with Imperial China stamps.

Schneider says it promises to be the most expensive Chinese cover ever sold at auction, and is anticipated to realise well in excess of US$1,000,000.  The initial offering of Olsson collection last year realised over $HK15 million, and 3 more sections are to come!


A $US1 million China cover?


The Hong Kong and Treaty Ports are highlighted by two complete sheets of 60 of the 1891 “Jubilee” issue, the Philippe Orsetti collection of security markings and perfin covers, and a very fine usage of the rare “Shanghai Crown”, the important earliest mark of this major Treaty Port.

The specialised offering of 1894 60th Birthday of the Dowager Empress and 1897 New Currency surcharges includes large multiples, varieties, cancellations and covers, with the various printings represented in choice quality.

The 1897 Red Revenue surcharges include an outstanding mint block of four of the small figures 2
¢ on 3¢ with “Surcharge Inverted” and the lower two stamps also showing the comma for stop and inverted “s” in “cents” varieties, as well as a choice offering of cancellations.

The super popular “Coiling Dragons” stamps and later issues are well represented, with a fine showing of the Provisional Neutrality overprints, and unissued Postage Dues.

A superlative mint example of the “Red Ruby” - the large figures surcharge 1.5mm. setting on the Dowager first printing 30
¢ on 24 Candarin (ex Dr. Robert C.H. Lee and “Isleham”) is another highlight of this powerful section of classic China stamps.  

Complementing these amazing groups above are many exceptional essays and proofs, complete sheets, rare Settings, and other important Large Dragon covers, including spectacular frankings, as well as France and Japan combinations.













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