May 2024

Strong market predictions for Asia


British Asia's philatelic history is full of interest, reflecting the frequent upheavals of geopolitics. Baldwin’s latest specialised sale, Stamps & Cover of  Asia will open for bidding on the 18th of June.The auction features 330 lots from areas such as China, Singapore, Ceylon, Hong Kong and the Island of Borneo.  In our latest staff profile we interview Oscar Young, Philatelist at Stanley Gibbons, on the top highlights from the sale, insights into the market and tips for establishing a collection.

What are the stand-out items in this sale? 

One highlight in this auction is Lot 58, a positional mint block of 12 of the very famous 1980 monkey stamps from China; it is a very popular issue, and to get them in multiples is quite rare, so I am sure that will do very well. Lot 102 we have the hand-painted essay from India of the one rupee green and carmine as the issue design. It is a spectacularly unique design, and it is the first time we have handled it since the 1970s, so we will be very excited to see how that one does. Staying with India we are also offering one of the greatest ever formed collections of the convention state Puttialla which has many great rarities and unique items including Lots 139, and Lot 140 which are essay overprints that were never issued, we also have the unique example of the half anna blue -green which has got error overprinted double and one sideways which is an amazing item and I am sure this collection will not only get some very good results but will also be a wonderful reference for future collectors.     


Lot 58 China PRC 1980 Monkey stamp in block of twelve


Lot 102 India 1r handpainted essay of the issued design SG 105var


Lot 140  1883 2nd rejected essay set PATIALA STATE in seriffed letters SG 1-6var

Are there any items that have an interesting history? 

Also staying with India, one that has an interesting history is Lot 208, which is a used complete set of sacred cows, and they are all cancelled to order on one particular day, with the same cancel. It is a rather unique assembly they are all matching CDS used, meaning someone must have gone into the post office in Bundi at the time and had one of all the stamps they had at the time cancelled, and they went off home with them. It is a unique assembly and I think it will be something that will do very well under the hammer for the Bundi collectors.

What are your personal favourites within the sale?  

Lot 130 is a favourite of mine. It is not a very valuable lot, but it’s a rather fun lot. It is a cover from Chandernagore going to Jersey in the Channel Islands and it was sent by Colonel  D. R. Martin a great eminent Indian Philatelist to his colleague also an India Philatelist William Renouf, so two famous Indian Philatelists messaging each other one from French India to the Channel Islands and it’s a fun item, I don’t think I’ve seen anything like that before and that is one of my favourites.​​​​​​​

Lot 130 India Used Abroad French India to Jersey CI​​​​​​​ (Shown above)

What have you noticed about the Asia market in recent years? 

Well, the Asia market in some years has seen a frenzy in some respects, you can get very strong realisations for items and it seems to be eternally popular in certain areas, particularly India, the Indian States, Malaya,  Malaya Japanese occupation, all these areas are coming up in value and interest and some of them are getting world record prices when they appear on the market, far exceeding catalogue value.

What are the demands from buyers in the market?

I think people are always looking for something that is a little bit different, they are looking for quality items that can fit their collections, but also they are looking for unique items, the esoteric, the quirky and I think this sale does cover that, there is a lot of postal history, there is a lot of postmark interest and there is also proof material, a few essays and items that you just never see due to their rarity and as always we hope they sell as well as we hope they will do.

What advice can you offer collectors who want to get started in this area or enhance an existing collection? 

If you want to get into the Asia market, I would advise starting small because of the strength of the market at the moment. You don’t want to go in wholeheartedly at the start. You want to build a collection slowly over time, and when your budget or finances allow, you can splurge and get those rare items.

If you are looking to expand your existing collection, just look to see if you can enhance anything you already have, say if you have a higher value say from Malaya, and if you fancy having a nicer item, this sale offers good quality Malaya, including high values $100 specimens for Edward the VII (Lot 263) , we also have $500 specimen(Lot 264) and all these are choice quality pieces and so it is always good to buy better ones and replace a slightly poorer example in favour of a much nice example, which always pays dividends in the end when you look to sell your collection on.

Dispatches_Asia_blog_feature_264.jpgSG 169s lpog 1906-12 KEVII $500 purple & orange (Lot 264 Shown above)​​​​​​​

Curated by Stanley Gibbons, Stamps and Covers of Asia is available for pre-viewing prior to the live sale on the 18th June April 2024. Visit to view all lots at auction.


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