Rare French, German and Chinese stamps to be sold in NYC charity auction

NEW YORK – Some of the rarest, most famous and valuable postage stamps of France, Germany and China – from the extensive collection of renowned Wall Street money manager Bill Gross – will be sold in a public auction conservatively estimated to bring $1 million or more.  All proceeds from the sale will be donated by Gross and his wife, Sue, to the Emergency Relief Fund of the nonprofit organization, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), according to Charles Shreve, President of Spink Shreves Galleries of New York City and Dallas (www.SpinkShreves.com), the auction house that will conduct the sale in New York City on May 19. 

The historic stamps, including some dating back to the earliest days of French postal history, will be displayed in London, England and New York prior to the sale.

“Through their generosity, Bill and Sue Gross already have donated over the past three years a combined total of over $15.5 million to charities and non-profit organizations from five previous auctions of stamps from his collection.  The May 19 auction will offer some of the most famous and valuable French and French colonial stamps and covers (stamped envelopes), special stamps issued for German overseas offices and colonies, early 20th century stamps from China as well as rare stamps of Italy, Spain and Turkey,” said Shreve.

“The auction includes France’s rarest stamp, an exceptional mint condition, vermilion-colored one Franc denomination from 1849, the first year France issued postage stamps.  It’s a world famous, classic rarity and is expected to sell for $75,000 or more.”

A pair of 1849 French one Franc carmine-colored stamps with one of them printed upside down has a pre-sale estimate of $125,000.  “The ‘tete-beche’ (face-to-face) pair is one of the greatest of all French philatelic rarities.  Only four such pairs are known in mint condition,” explained Shreve.

Other highlights are dozens of rare 19th and early 20th century Reichspost (German Postal Service) stamps used for mailings from German government offices in China and other countries, each with a bold counter-mark indicating the name of the specific country where the office was located.

Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) thanks Sue and Bill Gross for their continued dedication to our field teams and patients, and for this, their most recent gift.  The Gross’ ongoing support means that our teams are able to respond to emergencies around the world at a moment’s notice — a recent example being our response to the devastating earthquake in Haiti.  We are very grateful for their trust and generosity,” said Matthew Spitzer, MD, President of Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) USA.

Doctors Without Borders is an independent international medical humanitarian organization that delivers emergency health care aid to people affected by armed conflict, epidemics, natural or man-made disasters in more than 70 countries.

Gross, of Laguna Beach, California, is Founder and Co-Chief Investment Officer of PIMCO of Newport Beach, Calif., and one of the world’s largest money managers with over $1 trillion in securities under management.

The stamps will be displayed at the London 2010 International Stamp Exhibition, May 8 – 15, and at the New York City offices of Spink Shreves Galleries, May 17-18.

For additional information, contact Spink Shreves Galleries, 145 W. 57th St., 18th floor, New York, NY 10019; 212-262-8400; www.Shreves.com.

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