Rare China Imperial Dragons stamps found in attic

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16 February 2015
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imports_CCGB_therarestampsaresett_09697.jpg The rare stamps are set to sell for £250,000 (Pic: ChrisBalcombe.com)
A group of scarce 1882 Chinese 5-candarin Imperial Dragon stamps, thought to be worth at least £250,000, have been discovered in an attic in the Cotswolds, snapped up at auction by British stamp dealer Allan Grant of Rushstamps, and are now set to be sold in Hong Kong. ...
A group of scarce 1882 Chinese 5-candarin Imperial Dragon stamps, thought to be worth at least £250,000, have been discovered in an attic in the Cotswolds, snapped up at auction by British stamp dealer Allan Grant of Rushstamps, and are now set to be sold in Hong Kong.

The 35 Chinese stamps, including multiples such as a block of nineteen 5 candareen stamps, are thought to have been bought by an English missionary in Shanghai in 1882, but had lain undiscovered for over 100 years in a cigar box in the attic of a house in the Cotswolds.

The rare stamps were the second printing of the issue, featuring a wider margin and were on sale in China for only nine months. Single mint values of the stamps are catalogued at £19,000 and few examples have been sold at auction in recent years. Multiples of the stamp are even more scarce.

Following the discovery the stamps were auctioned as one lot by British Bespoke Auctions in Winchcombe, near Cheltenham, with a pre-sale estimate of just £800 to £1,000.

Allan Grant eventually outbid three others to win the lot for a final price of £79,000, including the buyers’ premium.

Allan told Stamp & Coin Mart: ‘This is really special, it’s like finding a sheet of Penny Blacks. There was about forty locals in the auction room and the bidding opened on the internet at £20,000, then a guy on the floor bid up to £50,000, before another dealer bid to £64,000. When the onloookers saw me put my hand up for the last time they gave me a very nice round of applause!’

The stamps, now titled the ‘The Lady Cotswolds Missionary Find’ are set to be sold at auction in Hong Kong by Kelleher & Rogers Ltd, a division of Daniel Kelleher Auctions specialising in Asian philately. The multiples of nineteen, ten and six will be auctioned as three separate lots. ‘Who knows how much they will sell for?’ Allan said. ‘I think the £250,000 estimate is very conservative.’

Read more about the 'The Lady Cotswolds Missionary Find' in a special report in the April issue of Stamp & Coin Mart magazine.
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