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WestNab Sales Catalogue of the Stamps of China

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Imperial China

1878-1911. From the first issue Large Dragon stamps by the Chinese Imperial Customs to the brown postage due stamps, which were the last issues of the Empire.

Republic of China

1912-1949. From the first issue Provisional Overprint stamps to the Canton Silver Yuan surcharges, which were the last issues of the Republic before the retreat to Taiwan.

Treaty Ports

1865-1897. In the 19th Century, various foreign powers secured rights to trade in the 'Treaty Ports'. These areas of Chinese cities became like foreign enclaves and were largely self-governing. The Shanghai Municipality, the town council of the International Settlement in Shanghai, started its own postal service and issued stamps, starting with the large dragons of 1865. Other Treaty Ports set up similar services, although many of the stamp issues seemed to be aimed more at collectors than for postal use. After the Imperial Post Office took over the Customs Post and particularly after China joined the UPU in 1897, there was little point in separate postal services in the Treaty Ports and stamps issues ceased.

Provinces of Republic of China

1886-1948. Various provinces had to have their own stamp issues, often using overprints on Republican stamps, mainly due to variations in the value of the central currency. They were only valid for postage in the province. After the war with Japan, this was again necessary in the North East and Taiwan. (During the war with Japan and later during the civil war between the Republican government and the Coummunists, stamps were issued in the provinces, this time because communications with the central Post Office was disrupted. However, these are usually regarded as Republic of China stamps, as they were valid throughout the country).

Foreign Post Offices in China

1862-1922. In the 19th Century, various foreign powers secured rights to trade in the 'Treaty Ports'. Many countries set up their own Post Offices and issued stamps for their use.

Foreign Enclaves in China

1862-1999. The Chinese Empire was persuaded or forced to lease some territories to foreign powers. These were Hong Kong (including Kowloon and New Territories - to Britain), Macau (to Portugal), Weihaiwei (to Britain), Kwangchow (Guangzhouwan or Zhanjiang - to France), Kwantung (modern Dalian - to Japan and briefly to Russia), Kiaochow (incuding modern Qingdao - to Germany).


1911-1950. The relationship between Tibet and China has a long history. At times, like the present, Tibet was effectively ruled as part of China. At other times, it was self-governing with allegiance to China. During some periods it was self-governing and largely independent of China. In 1911 the Chinese Empire decided to reinforce control of Tibet and issued overprinted stamps for use in Chinese Post Offices in Tibet. After the Republic was founded, the central Chinese government had little time or resources to govern Tibet and it issued its own stamps until the Communist central government imposed its rule, eventually creating the Tibet (Xizang) Autonomous Region.

Japanese Occupied Areas

1932-1945. Japanese interests in the leased port of Dalian and the rest of Manchuria led to the Japanese controlled state of Manchukuo being set up in 1932. Invasion of the rest of China rapidly led to all out war starting in 1937. Unusually, the Japanese allowed the Republican Post Office to operate within Japanese controlled territories for some years until currency disparity made it essential to issue stamps for various areas.

Black Flag Republic in Taiwan

1895. The short lived Black Flag Republic issued its own stamps in 1895 before it was conquered by the forces of Japan.

Republic of China (Taiwan)

1949-present. Following on from the Taiwanese provincial issues, the first overprint issues to the present.

Communist Liberated Areas

1930-1951. From the first issues of the Communists in Jianxi and West Fujian to the North East People's Post parcel post stamps.

People's Republic of China

1949-present. From the first set commemorating the First Session of the Chinese People's Political Conference to the latest issues.