Chinese stamps

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Chinese Stamps

One impact of the rise of China is the rise of the Chinese collector and the seemingly inexorable rise in price of the Chinese collectible. Everything from a Ming vase to a Shanghai movie poster from the 1930s is coveted by someone, somewhere (most likely China). Nowhere is this seen more than in the world of stamp-collecting. Steve Matthews, Chinese specialist of the stamp-market company Stanley Gibbons, says that stamp-collecting has become a national pastime, with about 20 million Chinese people collecting stamps, and increasing numbers of Hong Kong and mainland Chinese millionaires seeking to own the rarest specimens and reclaim their history. Unlike the buyers of other assets, stamp collectors love nothing more than things that have gone awry. The block of four Chinese stamps photographed here, for instance, shows some perforations are completely missing vertically, which makes it worth about $132,000. Is it the moment, perhaps, to dust out those old albums?