Boom-time for Chinese stamps
As China enjoys healthy economic growth, there is also constantly growing interest in a small niche area: stamps. For some years now, the Chinese have collected stamps and coins from their own country with a passion that, in some cases, borders on the fanatic. Organised collector associations were banned for many years and have only been officially permitted since the 1990s. Since then, a nation of a billion people has rediscovered a forgotten currency and the price of stamps from the People’s Republic of China is increasing in the face of rapidly rising demand.
Stamp motifs show the face of the country
Collectors of Chinese stamps are not likely to get bored easily. The stamps are an exact reflection of current events in the country. Accordingly, the development of the People’s Republic and the Chairman Mao years can be seen in the stamps that were issued during this time. Beginning with the first set of stamps depicting the Chinese lanterns before the Gate of Heavenly Peace, important political and cultural events are continually documented on the country’s stamps. For instance, stamps issued during the time of the great famine depicted pigs, symbolising the concentration on pig-breeding. During the cultural revolution, stamps mainly showed the Mao cult and the leader’s doctrines. As of the 1970s, the motifs became less ideological and everyday themes were printed as well. Chinese stamps also have a great appeal among German collectors in that they are very diverse and include both motifs of traditional Chinese symbols and modern graphics.
China 1967, Maos theses in mint five strips
Stamps as financial investments and replacement currency
In China, stamps are now traded as a kind of replacement currency. In many cases, the buyers are not collectors but rather speculators who acquire them on a large scale in the hope that they will increase in value. Many wealthy Chinese people like to invest their money in stamps and coins. As with any traded good, the value of stamps continues to depend on international exchange rates and on the country’s economic development.
Superstition influences demand and price
Industrial culture and market economy notwithstanding, the Chinese people have not set aside their old traditions and superstitions. Certain motifs continue to have a great importance that is frequently difficult for observers to fathom. For example, the stamp cult embraces the belief in symbols – a case in point being the “Red Monkey”, also known as the “Chinese Golden Monkey Stamp”. This stamp, of which 5 million were issued, owes its worth to a combination of different factors. Monkeys, the colour red and the number 8 all stand for luck in China. The stamp from 1980 is so popular that a complete counter sheet with 80 stamps was sold for €110,000 in 2011. Of significance here is above all the fact that there are a relatively large number of stamps in circulation – collectors are usually not at all interested in stamps that have been issued in the millions. These monkeys are an exceptional case and these popular lucky charms are now being sought all over the world.
Secure a good price at our online auctions
For instance, one of the rarest “Red Monkeys” went under the hammer at our internet auction in April 2015, fetching €1,250 from a starting bid of €400. If you would like to take part in one of our internet auctions, you can register on our website and join in the bidding live.
Do you have Chinese stamps in your collection?
It is definitely worth your while checking your personal or inherited collections for stamps or coins from China. There is also a great demand for letters sent home from China during the cultural revolution. These could be worth a small fortune. However, care is advised, as the number of forgeries tends to increase in tandem with the value of the stamps. And the Chinese are masters at forging stamps. This being the case, we would advise you to beware of excessively low-priced offers.
Top advice from our resident experts
If you would like to sell your collection or individual stamps or coins, you can contact the experts at Felzmann at any time. Estimates and expert advice are provided free of charge at Felzmann Auction House. Telephone: +49 (0)211/550 440, Immermannstr. 51, 40210 Düsseldorf, Germany
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