Unique Japanese letter from 1880 at auction in Copenhagen

March 31st, 2016

Bruun Rasmussen Auctioneers is offering a unique letter, which has been sent from Nagasaki (Japan) to Ribe (Denmark) in 1880.

It might be more than 175 years since the world's first postage stamp saw the light of day, but fortunately, from time to time, some rare stamps and letters that have not previously found their way into the expert hands of philatelists still turn up.

”Such was the case in September 2015, when we were visited on our stand at the SILFI stamp exhibition in Kjellerup (Denmark) by a customer who had with him an old letter from Japan. The letter was franked with a 30 Sen Grey, which is the top value of Japan's famous "Cherry Blossom" edition from 1872. This stamp is particularly rare on letters, and before the emergence of this one, only six letters were known to have been franked with a 30 S, making this one the seventh – and the only one known to have a single franking” says Lars Godsk Jørgensen, head of Bruun Rasmussen’s stamp department.

The letter was sent from Nagasaki on 18 October 1880, passing through Shanghai, Hong Kong, Alexandria, Trieste, Kufstein, Munich and Kolding before arriving at the address in Ribe on 30 November 1880. A journey of almost 10,000 km completed in just 42 days! The letter has since been stored away and forgotten for 135 years, but it will now go under the hammer at the international stamp auction on 26 April 2016 with a starting bid of DKK 75,000 / € 10,000.

Japan. 1872. Cherry Blossom, 30 S. black (native paper). Single on registred cover from Nagasaki Oct. 18 (1880) to Ribe, Denmark. A WORLD RARITY. Up to now only six covers are recorded of the 30 S. native paper of 1872. This new find in cover number seven and THE FIRST RECORDED FOREIGN MAIL SINGLE FRANKING OF THIS STAMP. AN EXCEEDINGLY RARE STAMP ON COVER and A UNIQUE EXHIBITION ITEM. Florian Eichhorn BPP: "A REMARKABLE COVER RARITY". Estimate: DKK 75,000 / € 10,000.

Naturally, in addition to the above-mentioned world rarity, our auction also features a long list of other rarities, large and small, in the form of wonderful letters and special stamps, not to mention an impressive section containing collections and untouched realisations with material from near and far. The entire stamp auction will be published on our website next week.

Bruun Rasmussen Auctioneers of Stamps, Baltikavej 10 in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Preview: 20-26 April (closed on 22 April due to public holiday)

Auction: Tuesday 26 April at 10 am

Contact us

For further information, please contact Lars Godsk Jørgensen on tel. + 45 8818 1211 / lgj@bruun-rasmussen.dk