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Major variety of Yang EC356 found after 68 years!

Here is an error from the printing of Yang EC356, printed on the $2 remittance stamp instead of the $1 stamp! Unlisted in any catalogue, possibly unique.

Yang EC356 variety

Mr. Poon of Experts & Consultants Ltd has issued a certificate stating that the stamp is genuine, in his opinion.

ECL certificate

Messy cancel

I've seen the odd cancel occasionally on other issues. I am told that, when faced with large amounts of mail, postal workers sometimes quickly cancelled covers by rolling a dotted circle date stamp at an angle, giving the 'cog wheel' effect, seen on this stamp.

The Sunan (South Jiangsu) Surcharge Issue

On April 24th 1949 the major South Jiangsu city of Wuxi was taken by communist forces and very soon after the Sunan Post and Telegraph Administration was established there. On 1st May 1949 the administration issued a set of 6 stamps with different values surcharged on postage (train design) and remittance (airplane design) stamps, previously issued in the Suwan (Jiangsu-Anhui) Border Area in 1946. The values were denominated in the Renminbi (People's Currency), introduced in 1948 but not used in all liberated areas until well into 1949.

The set of 6 Su-Nan Surcharges. The normal $10 surcharge on $1 (Yang EC356) is bottom right.
Su-Nan surcharges, Yang EC351-6 set

Note that the $8 surcharge was issued on both the $1 and $2 blue remittance stamps, the first two in the lower row. However, the the $10 red surcharge (lower right) has only been found on the $1 blue remittance stamp. Until now.

How was the error produced?

There are two major ways this error could have occurred. However, only one is realistic, given that no one has reported this variety before.

One is that one or more 'cliches' in the offset printing plate for the $1 blue airplane revenue, was the cliche for the $2 stamp. In this case this variety would be rare, but not so rare that it would not be known. At least 1 in 70 of the stamps would show the variety (see below).

The other explanation of the error is that a sheet (or more) of the $2 blue revenues was mixed up in the sheets of $1 stamps during the surcharge printing.

This seems more likely, as it begins to explain why none have been found these 68 years! In addition the $1 and $2 were printed in very similar colours.

Suwan Remittance $1 and $2

As far as I know, the $1 blue airplane revenue was printed in sheets of 70 (7 x 10). See this auction lot shows (see credits) a block of 50 of the $20 orange remittance stamp, surcharged $50 in Subei (North Jiangsu) in October 1948.

Interestingly, the sheet illustrated in the link above to Interasia Auctions has error cliches of the $50 included in the sheet, as noted in the description. Unfortunately the image in the catalogue is too small to see details. If you download the PDF from InterAsia's website, the images are better, but the best images are in the printed catalogue, if you can find a copy.

Credits - Hugh Lawrence & InterAsia

Sale 38 of InterAsia Auctions in 2014 is very helpful in further understanding these stamps, so many of the links here are to that catalogue which Interasia still have on their web site.

As you can see, it is titled 'The Late Civil War Forerunners and Provisional Issues of East China', subtitled 'Philatelic Footprints on the Road to the Liberation of Shanghai' and 'The Hugh Lawrence Collection'.