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Last Updated: 29 Sept 2014
Questions & Answers

Members of the Hong Kong Study Circle may submit their questions concerning philatelic items of Hong Kong and the Treaty Ports. A clear scan, relevant details and a specific question should be sent to the Webmaster at Answers are welcome from any interested party - member or otherwise. The Webmaster reserves the right to edit any material before posting on the site.


Question Answered
Q008 -
Q007 A007
Q006 A006
Q005 -
Q004 A004
Q003 -
Q002 A002
Q001 A001
[Images with blue boarders can be clicked to enlarge them.]

Q008: Can someone identify the red "A" marking? (William Lack)

Hong Kong 1862 8 cents yellow buff struck with a red capital "A" in a lined circle then cancelled B62.

"Attached is an image of a stamp I bought in the past year and have had absolutely no success in finding anything about it. Some thoughts at a HKSC meeting was that it was a maritime cancel from somewhere in the Indian Ocean region."

published: 29 Sept 2014

Q007: Can someone identify this MISSENT TO handstamp? (Frank Young)
Q007 Cover

"In 1998 I received a letter from Hong Kong. The cover was marked with a MISSENT TO JKT 19000 handstamp. There are no markings on the back of the cover.

I presume this marking is the usual MISSENT TO type of marking for mis-directed mail but have been unable to find out where it was missent to."

published: 7 July 2011
A007: (Ron Rakusen)
"I was looking at this one and it seemed obvious that JKT was short for Jakarta in Indonesia.  A search of postcode in Indonesia found the following, which suggests that different parts of Jakarta use the 19xxx postcodes.  On that basis, JKT 19000 would possibly be Jakarta Head Post Office postcode where MISSENT mail goes."

Jakarta » Jakarta Utara
19110 Tanjung Priok
19120 Tanjung Priok
19130 Tanjung Priok

published: 14 July 2011

Q006: Can someone identify the source and authenticity of this “5” overprint? (Robert Hazelwood)
Hong Kong QV 10˘ green CA with "5" overprint
The adhesive also bears an “AMOY” straight line cancel. His literature search has been a failure except for the reference entitled “THE LARGE NUMERALS” at the top of page 147 in Webb.  Also, he has not found anyone who has seen one and is not certain that his example is the same as those mentioned. 

He sent the scan to another HKSC member, who had never seen it before, but referred him to an article on overprints in a HKPS Newsletter.  However, the style of the numeral is entirely different from any covered by that article.  Another HKSC member was puzzled too, but sent him a photocopy of other numeral overprints, all of which differed from his.

published: 14 April 2010
A006: (AIR CDRE R. Gurevitch)
"One of my lesser collecting interests is Cuba and the ‘Puerto Principe’ overprints on Cuban stamps undertaken between December 1898 and January 1899 by the US Military Administration. These overprints were extensively forged. It occurred to me that the overprint on Robert's Hong Kong stamp was remarkably similar to the "5" used in forgeries of the overprint at position 4 on some of the 'Puerto Principe' overprint settings. I scanned Robert’s illustration, a 10˘ green stamp, and a forged 'Puerto Principe' 5˘ stamp. I was able to manipulate the two scans and to superimpose the “5” overprint to ascertain any similarities. The result is shown below.


I have no hesitation in stating that the “5”s appears to be of the same type and hence I consider the "5" on the Hong Kong stamp to also be a forgery."

answer published in Journal No. 354, July 2010


Q005: Can someone identify this cancellation? (John Robertson)

Hong Kong early revenue stamp with a "2" cancel

The stamp is struck twice with the "2" cancel. If this is a genuine cancel, where was it cancelled?  Was someone playing games, and this is a fake?

published: 26 Dec. 2009

Q004: Can someone identify this 'Royal Mail Packet' handstamp? Was it applied on board or not? (Eddie Lawrence)



Italian postcard posted on the River Yangtze with a HK4 cents stamp cancelled at the first port of call (Hankow) with a British Post Office cds. In addition, a Shanghai British transit stamp and a Milan arrival cds were applied to the obverse. There are no marks on the reverse.
The Royal Mail Steam Packet Company cachet was applied on board the ship.

The card caught the P. & O. packet that sailed from Shanghai on February 10 for Colombo, Ceylon arriving on February 25 to be transshipped to the S. S. Arcadia that sailed on the 26th for Egypt, where it was transferred to a Mediterranean vessel for Italy and then overland to Milan. The transit time was 39 days.

published: 16 Jan. 2009
A004: (Lee Scamp)
First, another question:  Is there clear evidence that this card was “posted on the River Yangtze” and “cancelled at the first port of call (Hankow)”, vs having been posted at the Hankow BPO?  The itinerary from Shanghai is as follows:
Q4 reply

Thus, there is no likely reason, at least not one that I can think of, that a “ROYAL MAIL STEAM PACKET COMPANY / SOUTHAMPTON / Posted on high Seas” cachet should have been applied to it.  Note that the 12.3 Brindisi arrival date of the P&O Isis fits very well with the 13.3 Milano cds.

It is hypothetically, although only remotely, possible that this card could have been sent via the Trans-Siberian Railway.  If so, it should have reached London in about 22 to 26 days, so by around 4.3 to 8.3.  Then, it could theoretically have been forwarded via Southampton on an RMS packet to Italy.  If the RMS ran to Italy, it would have taken about 7 days to Marseille, and about another day to Italy.  But why would it not have been sent across the English Channel and via France to Italy, as was all other first class mail?  The only way that it could have received the RMS cachet would have been as a loose letter, but if it had been carried by an RMS packet, it would have been in a mail bag from the London GPO.  Thus, the odds against this routing seem quite astronomical.

answered: May 2014


Q003: Why no registration label? Where was the green hand stamp applied? (Ingo Nessel)
  • This $7.50 rate cover addressed to Germany has a green "REGISTERED" hand stamp, and is cancelled at GPO registration section on October 21, 1971. But there is no registration label.
  • NB: The rate is constructed from the 5 x $1.30 rate per 1/2 oz. = $6.50 to zone 2 (which includes Europe) plus $1.00 registration fee = $7.50 total.

published: 1 July 2008


Q002: Is there any documentation on this 58c airmail rate to China? (Ingo Nessel)
  • Unrecorded rate.
  • It is not mentioned in Halewood or Proud.

published: 1 July 2008
A002: (Nicholas Halewood)
Q002_A_NH_1_t.jpg . QandA/Q002_A_NH_2_t.jpg

This is an example of the surface letter rate/air fee structure that appears to have been in force from early 1946 to 25 July 1946. The air fee, per ˝oz, was 50˘ for China, and $1.00 for Commonwealth and other countries. So this cover bears 8˘ per 1oz surface letter rate plus 50˘ per ˝oz air fee. So to China it was 58˘ for ˝oz, $1.08 for 1oz, $1.66 for 1˝oz, $2.16 for 2oz, etc.; for Commonwealth and other countries it was a little more complicated because although the air fee was the same the surface mail rates were different - Commonwealth countries, 20˘ for first 1oz and 10˘ for each additional 1oz; and other countries, 30˘ for first 1oz and 15˘ for each additional 1oz.

I have no documentary evidence of this rate structure, just cover evidence. Also the cover in question was to Shanghai, so if it went by ship to Shanghai the 50˘ air fee was unnecessary; an  alternative could have been by boat to Canton and  then by air.

answered: 30 August 2008


Q001: Is this a Shanghai censor, or was it censored in Hong Kong? (John Robertson)
  • British censor marking, on Shanghai canceled piece.
  • Oval REGISTERED / JY 30 17 / SHANGHAI. B

published: 23 April 2008
A001: (Ingo Nessel)
A recent eBay lot illustrated a registered cover from Shanghai to Peshawar, India dated April 17, 1917. It contained what looks to be the same censor marking as that of John's example on piece.
A look at the reverse of the cover showed the routing was not via Hong Kong, rather it was probably sent on a sailing directly from Shanghai to an Indian gateway port, either Bombay or Tutticorin as notated on the front of the cover. Thus the censor marking is likely to have been applied at Shanghai, but certainly not at Hong Kong.
answered: 13 December 2009

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