The Hong Kong 'China' Overprints
British Offices In China 1917 - 1930

SECURITY MARKINGS

The members of the Hong Kong Study Circle have built and expanded upon the previous research of Col. Webb and the monographs of Harvey Tilles.

An extraordinary website with a wealth of information exists at http://rodsell.com/hksmsic/hksmsic for security markings and http://rodsell.com/hkperfins/hkperfin.html for perfins. This data has all been gathered by Mr. Rod Sell and members of the Hong Kong Study Circle.

The information below refers solely to those security markings and perfins associated with the China overprints. No markings have been reported from Chefoo.

Perfins

Pefins on the CHINA overprints are rare and, like many of the cancellations used at the time, have not been extensively studied with respect to the overprints (although there has been much study of security markings used on the unoverprinted Hong Kong stamps.)  Consequently it is difficult to know if recorded perfin varieties have actually been seen on the overprinted stamps.  For instance, H&S/BC perfin is noted as being used in Shanghai, Amoy, Canton, Foochow and Swatow but I believe that this perfin was not used on China overprints as the only recorderd dates appear to be prior to the introduction of the overprinted stamps. 

Interestingly, the use of perfins in other places was primarily to prevent employee theft of postage.  In China, the use of security chops, markings and perfins was also due to the lack of security of the mailboxes themselves.  In fact, the Hong Kong Post Office stated “Boxholders are at liberty to mark their postage stamps on the back or face or by perforation so as to prevent them from being stolen”.  The use of perfins on the CHINA overprints has been recorded from the following locations and with the following markings (Harvey Tilles numbering used for convenience)

Number

Port

Marking

Company

Note

B-2

 

B.A.T./CoLd

British American Tobacco

Unreported on China Overprints

B-2a

Shanghai

D.A.T.

British American Tobacco

Speculation by Sell that this is damaged B.A.T. /CoLtd

B-8

 

BM/&Co

Behn Meyer & Co

 

B-13

Shanghai

BW/&CO

Burroughs Welcome & Co

LKU 1918

D-2

Foochow

D.O.C.

Det Oversishe Compagnes

 

H-5

Amoy

HS/BC

Hong Kong & Shanghai Bank

Crossbar of “B” slopes downward
1917-1920

H-6

Shanghai

H S/B C

Hong Kong & Shanghai Bank

 

H-9

Canton

H.S/B.C

Hong Kong & Shanghai Bank

Reported on Eii Index B

H-9

Shanghai

H.S/B.C

Hong Kong & Shanghai Bank

Unlisted from Shanghai

H-9

Swatow

H.S/B.C

Hong Kong & Shanghai Bank

 

R-2

Shanghai

R & C (o)

Russell & Co

Previously Unlisted on ‘China’ overprint

T-3

 

TC/&S.

Thomas Cook & Sons

 

 

 

 

 

 

H-9         6mm high, Pins 11+1+11/13+1+8 = 45
H-6         11mm wide, 6mm high, Pins 43

As the stamps were perforated privately, in many cases the quality control was not a rigorous as that of the governmental printing agencies.  Consequently, many perforating pins would be bent or missing and this makes accurate identification difficult in some cases.

Number

Port

Denomination

Image
B2a Shanghai Cover 23 Oct 1918
2c, 10c and 50c
B2a Shanghai Cover 11 May 1918
10c
B2a Shanghai Cover 7 Oct 1918
6c and 10c
B2a Shanghai Cover 14 Sep 1918 10c
B2a Shanghai Cover 26 May 1919
2c, 4 x 6c
B2a Unknown 1c Sideways
B2a Shanghai 6c Sideways
B2a Shanghai 10c Sideways
B2a Shanghai 30c Sideways
B2a Shanghai $1 Sideways
B13 Shanghai 10c Ultra
Inverted and Normal
H5 Amoy Cover 25 Sep 1920
4c Inverse
H-9 Canton Cover 28 May 1919
4c Sideways
6c Sideways
10c Sideways

R-2

Shanghai

10c

       

Even more rare than the perfins is the use of handstamps.

Handstamps and Company Markings

Number

Port

Company

Denomination

Notes

Image
6m Swatow Bradley & Co. 1st issue 4c Not previously reported on 4c
           

An apprently unlisted marking "P. Heath & Co/Shanghai" has just been reported stamped on the backflap of a cover from Shanghai to Canada dated Aug 7, 1919. Not much is known at present about this handstamp.

Finally there is an overprint on another 4c red containing a part stamping “…signees..”, possibly the word “Consignees” but unknown as to use or meaning at this time.