Over 100 years of triumphs, disappointments and culture can be found in stamps from China. From the original “Dragon” collection, to Mao Zedong stamps, to the $2,550 Anna Nizam Charminar stamp, you’ll be dazzled by the stories told in such poignant images. Here you’ll find a description of a few of the valuable and culturally significant China stamps.
Overprints of China stamps were common during the early 1900s. An overprint is the addition of text after a stamp has already been printed (usually to raise the price in relation to inflation). Because of the ever-changing economy, some stamps from that time period — such as the Sun Yat-sen — rose in value up into the thousands of dollars.
In November 1952, the Ministry of Post and Telecommunication released a set of four stamps to commemorate “the 35th Anniversary of the October Revolution.” The October Revolution (also known as The Bolshevik Revolution) was led by Vladimir Lenin’s Bolshevik party and the workers’ Soviets and eventually overthrew the government, making way for the USSR. They were issued in celebration of the friendship between China and the Soviets.
The first stamp had a picture of China’s Mao Zedong with Stalin on the Kremlin tower; the second one portrayed Lenin making a speech at the Second Representatives Conference of the Soviet Unions; the third one pictured a statue of Stalin standing at the Lenin Canal; the fourth showed Lenin making a speech. In 1997, a set of these stamps was sold at the Spring Auction of Jiade for $55,000 RMB.
One of them issued from the collection “To Mark the 40th Anniversary of the Establishment of Jinggangshan Revolutionary Base by Chairman Mao” was recently sold at an auction in Shaghai for $1.5 Million RMB (or roughly $199,880 USD). There were originally four stamps issued, including: Chairman Mao and Lin Biao at Tian An Men, Chairman Mao and his party in Jing gang Shan, the quotation “The political power comes from guns,” and another verse by Chairman Mao.
The Jianggangshan base become the birthplace of the Chinese Red Army and is often called “the cradle of the Chinese Revolution.” In addition to the historical significance of these commemorative China stamps, the controversy surrounding the issuance caused an uproar. Production was canceled and specimens were called to be destroyed.
Therefore, the Jinggangshan ones never made it to circulation and only a very small number exist in the hands of private collectors. In September 1968, after the establishment of Cultural Revolution Revolutionary Committees, the Ministry of Posts issued the “All China Is Red” stamp.
It pictured a red ocean, with workers, farmers and soldiers holding “the Quotations of Chairman Mao” and cheering; at the top, a red map of China with golden letters read “All China Is Red.” They were issued in Beijing for half a day before the China Atlas Press discovered that the Xisha and Nansha archipelagos were mistakenly missing from the map!
Due to its extremely limited number, the “All China Is Red” is one of the most famous rare ones in the world. Ten years ago, a post office sheet of 50 was displayed at the China Philatelic Expo in Guangzhou City and was considered a “national treasure,” valued at over 10,000,000 RMB.
While there is said to be about 18 million stamp collectors in China, there are millions of members in the Chinese Philatelic Society. The government is eager to begin trade with other stamp collectors, so the stamps are readily available worldwide.
Ebay has a list of stamps from Asia and China stamps can also be found at the Chinese Philatelic Information site or ChineseStamps.org. Whether you’re looking for dragons or emperors, you’ll find it in China!
Mike Selvon has some great stamp collecting articles for the hobbyist, where you can find out more about those popular china stamps. We appreciate your feedback at our stamp collecting values blog.