Thursday, September 17, 2009
In 1931, Japan invaded Manchuria following the Mukden Incident ,
in which the Japanese military staged an act of sabotage in order to provide a pretext for war. In 1932, the Japanese formed the puppet state of Manchukuo, with Henry Pu-Yi, the former Emperor of China, as its head of state. Pu-Yi's life was the subject of the Oscar-winning film The Last Emperor.
A set of stamps picturing Pu-Yi and the Liaoyang Pagoda, printed on granite paper, was issued in 1934 (Scott #23-31). The key stamp from this set (and from the complete country, for that matter) is the 15 fen Rose (Scott #30), of which 100,000 were issued. Most were probably discarded after being used on overseas mail or parcels. The stamp is frequently sold individually, so not having the accompanying remainder of the set does not detract from its value. Scott values the stamp at $ 450.00 in unused condition and $ 200.00 for used.
Manchukuo stamps are sought after by collectors of both China and Japan. I recommend purchase of Scott #30 in either F-VF or better NH condition or F-VF+ Used.