LETTER TO SCMP's Laurie Chen
(cc Letters to editor),
A couple of things about your article today on the $US2 million stamp:
1. The translation of 无产阶级 is not "without the bourgeoisie". It is "proletariat". The whole phrase on the stamp, well known in China especially by people of a "certain age", is "Long Live the total victory of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution".
2. More seriously: you don't mention the real reason this stamp is worth $US 2 million: the island of Taiwan was printed in white, not red like the rest of China! [its there looking like a egg above the head of the woman just behind the guy holding aloft Mao’s Little Red Book].
Taiwan is an "inalienable part of the motherland" and should have been printed in red.
This was a dramatically serious mistake and the post office officials were appalled when they realised their grievous error. Some were later imprisoned.
As soon as the mistake was realised, the stamps were recalled and pulped. Only nine are known to have survived with this one as the best of the nine.
And that's the reason it's worth $US2 million!
Cultural Revolution era stamp sells for US$2 million