For sale is one of the greatest rarities of Chinese classic philately, in the form of one of the most important Large Dragons (i.e. China's first stamp issue) covers (which is a philatelic term for 'letter') in existence. It is the only known cover bearing ALL THREE VALUES OF THE LARGE DRAGONS ON THE FRONT, together with a foreign stamp. It was sent in 1889 from Peking to Munich, Germany, through the French Post Office in Shanghai, and it is franked with a 1 candareen green, a 3 candareen red and a 5 candareen yellow respectively, as well as a French 25 centimes stamp, all applied on the front of the envelope (contrary to the normal practice of applying the Chinese stamps on the reverse of the envelope and the foreign stamps on the front, in case of letters sent abroad). Furthermore, this 1889 cover represents a very late usage of the Large Dragons stamps, thus adding to its importance and rarity. Also adding greatly to this cover's prestige is its' perfect quality, which makes it the ideal investment item. A Peter Holcombe certificate of authenticity accompanies it, as well as impeccable references in the specialised literature.
Arguably the most important philatelic book on the postal history of China's Large Dragons is James B. Whang's "A Comprehensive Illustration on Covers of Chinese Large Dragons" (Taipei, 1997). The book is in fact a very comprehensive census of the vast majority (over 95%) of Large Dragons covers still in existence (356 in total). This particular cover offered here is, of course, listed and illustrated in the book on page 542, position 328 in the census (relevant scans have been included). Studying all of the covers listed in James B. Whang's book confirms beyond any reasonable doubt that this cover belongs to the 'TOP 10' most important of them, if not the 'TOP 5'.
Many of the Large Dragons covers in existence have been offered and sold at public auction during the past decade. The main reason behind this is the phenomenal 'boom' in the value of Chinese philately during the past 10 years or so. With sky-high results, consistent and constant growth and massive levels of interest from investors and collectors alike, all over the world, Chinese philately is proving to be a very wise investment and this is most evident in case of rarities. All of the major philatelic auctioneers of the world, and especially the philatelic auction houses in Hong Kong, keep realising huge prices for significant Chinese rarities. One a many Large Dragons covers have been sold at auction during the past decade for prices in excess of HK$ 4,000,000 and above.
This cover is a true gem of Chinese philately and would greatly enhance even the most advanced philatelic collection or the most carefully selected investment portfolio. And, besides all this, the pride of ownership it brings with it is supreme (which can't really be said of intangible assets, which cannot be physically enjoyed or exhibited).
The seller could (and would very much prefer to) deliver the cover personally in most countries of the European Union (including some Western/Northern European countries which are not EU members, such as Switzerland or Norway), as well as in Hong Kong. This service is, of course, free of charge for the buyer. For any other location, please ask in advance. Otherwise, free shipping by FedEx is always possible, however the buyer is responsible for obtaining suitable insurance whilst the item is in transit.
The seller is a professional full-time philatelist, philatelic dealer and consultant, as well as a philatelic expert on worldwide classic stamps and postal history, based in Germany. He has 12 years experience and is specialised in building philatelic investment portfolios and exhibition collections.
Please don't hesitate to ask any questions you might have.