Photo by Mason B. on Unsplash

Unearthing the History and Value of Rare Sun Yat-sen Stamps

July 1, 2023
1 min read

Key takeaways:

  • Rare Sun Yat-sen stamps sold for $700,000 at a Hong Kong auction
  • These stamps are unique due to the accidental inversion of Sun Yat-sen’s image
  • The sale sets a new world auction record for any Republic of China stamp
  • Mainland Chinese collectors are driving the demand for such valuable and historical items


The world of philately, or stamp collecting, has long been a fascinating and rewarding hobby for enthusiasts worldwide. In October 2012, a pair of rare Sun Yat-sen stamps made headlines when they sold for a staggering $700,000 at a Hong Kong auction. In this article, we delve into the history behind these rare stamps, the significance of the accidental inversion of Sun Yat-sen’s image, and the factors that contribute to their immense value.

The Historical Significance of Sun Yat-sen Stamps

Sun Yat-sen was a prominent Chinese revolutionary and political leader who played a key role in overthrowing the Qing Dynasty and establishing the Republic of China. As the founding father of modern China, Sun Yat-sen’s image has been featured on various stamps throughout the years, particularly during the period of the Republic of China (1912-1949).

The Rare Inverted Sun Yat-sen Stamps

The Sun Yat-sen stamps that sold for $700,000 at the Hong Kong auction are unique due to the accidental inversion of Sun Yat-sen’s image. These blue and black stamps, issued in 1941, were part of an original sheet of 50 stamps containing the error. The rarity of such stamps, combined with the historical significance of Sun Yat-sen, has led to their immense value in the philatelic world.

The Auction and Record-Breaking Sale

Auction house Zurich Asia facilitated the sale of the rare Sun Yat-sen stamps in 2012. An anonymous phone bidder purchased the stamps for HK$5.52 million ($707,700), setting a new world auction record for any Republic of China stamp. The sale highlights the growing interest in rare and valuable stamps among collectors, particularly those from mainland China.

The Role of Chinese Collectors in the Philatelic Market

Mainland Chinese collectors have emerged as significant players in the philatelic market, regularly securing top lots at sales of art, jewelry, and wine. Hong Kong has positioned itself as an auction hub for Asia and a gateway to China’s vast market, attracting a diverse range of collectors and investors. The sale of the rare Sun Yat-sen stamps is indicative of the increasing demand for historical and valuable items among Chinese collectors.


The record-breaking sale of the rare Sun Yat-sen stamps in 2012 serves as a testament to the enduring appeal of philately as a hobby and investment. As interest in valuable and historical items continues to grow, particularly among Chinese collectors, the market for rare stamps like the inverted Sun Yat-sen stamps is expected to remain strong. For those intrigued by the stories behind such unique and valuable items, the world of stamp collecting offers a fascinating journey into the past and an opportunity to own a piece of history.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Recent Comments

Photo by Luwadlin Bosman on Unsplash

About Levi Keswick

LeviKeswick serves as a vibrant hub for diverse individuals to share their stories, absorb and contribute to emerging fashion trends, lifestyle concepts, and innovative ideas. We offer valuable insights and advice, amalgamating information painstakingly curated by experts in the field, alongside fashion connoisseurs and influential social media personalities.