Sometimes we have no idea what we have … until it’s lost. Or it breaks in two. This was done with a valuable original manuscript in Hong Kong. It was written by the founder of the People’s Republic of China, Mao Zedong. Apparently everyone who did it believed it was a fake. The Mao manuscript, which they tore in two, was worth 252 million euros.
It is reviewed by the South China Morning Post. The manuscript was part of a group of items that were stolen from the home of a well-known collector on September 10. Overall, the loss was 549 million euros. For the police it was the biggest robbery in the history of the former British colony.
The parchment contained a handwritten poem by Mao (1893-1976). And it was the most valuable item of all stolen. Among them was a 1968 Chinese postage stamp with the slogan “The whole country is red”. It is one of the most expensive in the world after it sold for 13.8 million yuan ($ 2 million) in 2018.
Its owner is the collector Fu Chunxiao. He is a member of the Hong Kong Philatelic Society and organizer of exhibitions with articles on the communist revolution in China. He was in China at the time of the robbery. It was his daughter who reported the incident.
The parchment route
Mao’s scroll was bought by a man for only HK $ 500 ($ 64.5, € 54.9). And since he thought it was a cheap fake, he cut it in two for safekeeping as it was six feet high.
It was the buyer himself who delivered. He took the two halves of the parchment to the police after the authorities made a public appeal just twelve days after the robbery.
Mao was the country’s leader for 27 years. He was responsible for initiatives that caused the deaths of millions of people, such as the Cultural Revolution or the Great Leap Forward. It is also studied for its poetic side and for its calligraphic gifts. His handwriting is used several times in the media and in official buildings. An example of this is in the Mao manuscript, which they tore in two, ignoring their value. What was the fate of the rest of the stolen collection? It would not be unusual, for example, if the valuable postage stamp were sold as a paperweight in a pawn shop. A shame