lot # 76 - 2: China Customs Mail Matter, Transitional Period and Imperial Post
China, 1896 (8 Dec.) envelope from Fourmies, France to Peking (7.2.97) via Paris (9.12) bearing France 25c., cancelled by "Le Nouvion en Thierache/Aisne" c.d.s., in combination with New Currency small figures surcharge on Dowager 4c. on 4ca. applied on arrival in China and cancelled by "Customs/Shanghai" double-ring d.s. (18.1.97), with "I.G. of Customs/Peking" double-ring arrival d.s. in blue on reverse, the 4c. on 4ca. applied just over the edge of the envelope, which has been opened out for display (a few hinge reinforcements along the fold at left), very fine. A great postal history rarity with the New Currency surcharge used during the transitional period between the Customs and Imperial Post prior to the official issue of the surcharged stamps and the opening of the Imperial Post Office. Chan 40.
Estimate HK$ 150,000 - 200,000
Expertisation: signed Roumet handstamped guarantee.
Provenance: E.H. Finegan, Eugene N. Costales (New York), 17-18.10.1949, lot 737
Anna-Lisa and Sven-Eric Beckeman, Sotheby's and Corinphila (Hong Kong), 11.11.1999, lot D33.
THIS IS THE THIRD EARLIEST RECORDED USAGE OF THE NEW CURRENCY SURCHARGES ON COVER.
AMONG THE RAREST AND MOST IMPORTANT OF THE 1897 NEW CURRENCY SURCHARGE COVERS, REPRESENTING THE THIRD EARLIEST USAGE OF THE SURCHARGED ISSUE BY THE CUSTOMS POST DURING JANUARY 1897 (FOUR SUCH COVERS RECORDED WITH THE NEW CURRENCY STAMPS CANCELLED ON THIS DATE), THE TRANSITIONAL PERIOD BEFORE THEIR OFFICIAL ISSUE BY THE IMPERIAL POST ON 2 FEBRUARY 1897.
WE RECORD TWELVE COVERS AND A FRONT USED DURING THIS TRANSITIONAL PERIOD BETWEEN EARLY JANUARY AND 1 FEBRUARY 1897. IN ADDITION, THERE ARE TWO COVERS SENT WITHIN CHINA DURING THIS TRANSITIONAL PERIOD, BUT WITH THE NEW CURRENCY SMALL FIGURES SURCHARGES ON DOWAGERS APPLIED AFTER THE OPENING OF THE IMPERIAL POST.
The surcharged stamps were not officially on sale to the public until 2 February 1897. There are, however, a few instances when these stamps were used in January, 1897, on either domestic or incoming foreign mail, all from the Customs Post Office in Shanghai. The covers originating from overseas to northern Chinese ports were subject to a 4 cents per ½ ounce inland postage charge to pay the domestic rate when utilising the winter route, whereas domestic mail was charged at the 2 cents rate.
Estimate: HK$ 150,000 - 200,000