1968 ‘Mao’s Inscription to Japanese Worker Friends’ Stamp
The 1968 ‘Mao’s Inscription to Japanese Worker Friends’ is a rare postage stamp that was created, but never formally issued, by the People’s Republic of China during the ‘Cultural Revolution’.
In 1962, Mao Zedong (1st Chairman of the People’s Republic of China) received a delegation of Japanese 'Worker Activists in Study’, supportive of the Communist ideals embodied by Mao’s China.
In honour of this, and as a message to other Japanese citizens sympathetic to Communism, Chairman Mao wrote and released an ‘Important Inscription for Japanese Worker Friends’. It stated:
"The Japanese revolution will undoubtedly be victorious, provided the universal truth of Marxism-Leninism is really integrated with the concrete practice of the Japanese revolution.
Written for our friends the Japanese workers, in compliance with the request of the friends on the Japanese Delegation to China of Worker Activists in Study.”
On the sixth anniversary of the release, the Chinese Government chose to commission a commemorative stamp, depicting the inscription set against a red background.
However, the Japanese Government objected to the stamp, claiming it might incite its citizens to cultivate and act upon revolutionary ideas.
The controversial stamp was therefore withdrawn before it could be officially issued. However, the post office in the northern Chinese province of Hebei had begun selling the stamp prior to the official issuance date and before the cancellation order.
As such, a few copies of this stamp were purchased by the public. They are now incredibly rare.
In 2011, a block of four 1968 ‘Mao’s Inscription’ stamps were offered for auction by InterAsia Auctions in Hong Kong.
This item was described as a “flawless gem” and is believed to be one of the only existing blocks of the controversial stamp. These unused, perfectly centred and unmounted stamps are vibrantly coloured.
The block sold for $1,151,630 – a world record sale for a Chinese stamp sold at auction. It was purchased by an anonymous collector from Hong Kong.