A is for Aden and Z is for Zanzabar

A is for Aden and Z is for Zanzibar... Now what is between? For the world wide classical era philatelist and stamp collector, a country specific philatelic survey is offered by the blog author, Jim Jackson, with two albums: Big Blue, aka Scott International Part 1 (checklists available), and Deep Blue, aka William Steiner's Stamp Album Web PDF pages. In addition, "Bud" offers commentary and a look at his completely filled Big Blue. Interested? So into the Blues...

Tuesday, November 3, 2015


1890 Scott 130 5c rose "Shield with Dragon Supporters"
Quick History
The Chinese government allowed a number of ports ("Treaty Ports") to be opened for foreign trade between 1842-1860. Shanghai became the leading port, with British, French, and American settlements established in 1843, or shortly after.

Shanghai and other Treaty Ports (Date of opening listed)
In 1854, the Shanghai Municipal Council was formed to administer the foreign settlements, essentially independent of Chinese oversight. The Shanghai Local Post was established in 1863, and the first "Local Post" stamp was issued in 1865. Other Treaty Ports also joined the Shanghai Local Post, and more mail was handled by them than the Imperial Customs Post and the Hong Kong Postal Agency combined.

Shanghai Settlements 1912
The Scott 1840-1940 catalogue has 183 "major number" stamps issued during the years 1865-1893 for the Shanghai Local Post. Over 35 stamps were issued in 1893. On November 1, 1897, the Imperial Chinese Post Office took over the mails from the Shanghai Local Post.

For the WW classical era collector, the Shanghai Local Post stamps (1865-1896) and the other Treaty Port stamps ( Amoy 1895-96, Chefoo 1893-96, Chinkiang 1894-96, Chungking 1893-95, Foochow 1895-96, Hankow 1893-97, Ichang 1894-96, Kewkiang 1894-96, Nanking 1896-97, Wei Hai Wei 1898-99, Wuhu 1894-97) are really more specialist territory, and also rather expensive. But Big Blue devotes a page to the Shanghai Local Post stamps, and therefore a representative selection can and should (considering the history) be collected.

1893 Scott 153a 1/2c orange "Coat of Arms"
Into the Deep Blue
The 2014 Scott Classic Specialized 1840-1940 catalogue has (in the China section), for Shanghai 1865-1896, 183 major descriptive numbers. Of those, 14 are CV <$1-$1+, or 8%. If one raises the CV bar from $2 to $10+, 64 more stamps can be added (35%). Shanghai stamps are fairly expensive for the WW classical collector. And some are very expensive- up to CV $28,000. ;-)

A closer look at the stamps and issues
Cash Coin System
800-1600 Cash = 1 Tael
Dollar System
10 Cash = 1 Cent
10 Cents = 1 Chaio (Hao)
100 Cents = 1 Dollar (Yuan)
1 Dollar = .72 Tael
Tael System
10 Li = 1 Fen (Candereen)
10 Fen (Candereen) = 1 Ch'ien (Mace)
10 Ch'ien (Mace) = 1 Liang (Tael)
1889 Scott 124 20 cash gray "A11 Design"
Wmk 175, Perf 15
Most of the earlier Shanghai stamps have a "Dragon" as the central motif, and there are some fourteen designs that have it between 1855-1877. The lithographed 1889 stamp (shown above) is a "Type of 1877" A11 design, but on watermarked paper. This five stamp issue of 1889 is the first time watermarked paper was used for the Shanghai stamps.

Wmk 175 "Kung Pu (Municipal Council)"
Here is the watermark. Actually, almost all of the remaining issues (1889-1893) have this watermark.

1890 Scott 130 5c rose "Shield with Dragon Supporters"
But there were three lithographed stamps with the "Shield and Dragon Supporters"design  that were issued in 1890 that are unwatermarked. 

1893 Scott 156 5c blue "Coat  of Arms"
In 1893, a "Coat of Arms" design was used. The 1893 seven stamp set  is lithographed, and the 5c blue is illustrated here.

Lithographed- No dot to right of curlycue in triangle
The lithographic stamps of this set show no dot to the right of the curlycue above "S" .

1893 Scott 154a 1c brown "Coat of Arms"
There were, in addition, four stamps released in 1893 that were typographed (153a,154a), or the frame inscriptions were lithographed, and the rest typographed (157a,159a). These are given bolded minor numbers in Scott.

Typographed- Dot to right of curlycue in triangle
The typographed stamps have a dot to the right of the curlycue.

1893 Scott 160 1/2c orange, Typographed
Stamps of 1893 Overprinted in Black
Also, seven stamps were overprinted in black, as shown, in 1893 for the 50th anniversary of the first foreign settlement in Shanghai.

1896 Scott 172 6c carmine & black/rose
Arms Type of 1893
In 1896, a three stamp set was released with the "Arms Type of 1893" design. This would prove to be the last stamps issued for the Shanghai Local Post.

1893 Scott J17 5c blue & black "D2"Design"
Postage Due
In 1893, a seven stamp postage due issue was released with this rather functional design.

Stamps of Shanghai were discontinued by 1898.

Deep Blue
1893 Postage Due in Deep Blue
Deep Blue (Steiner) has 12 pages for the stamps of Shanghai, and includes a space for all the major Scott numbers. My Shanghai collection is quite modest, and the first seven pages in Deep Blue are empty at the time of writing this blog post. ;-)

Of interest, Deep Blue (Steiner) does not provide spaces for the four typographic examples (minor bolded numbers Scott 153a,154a,157a,159a) of the 1893 "Coat of Arms" issue.

1893 Scott 162 2c vermilion
Overprinted in Black
Big Blue
Big Blue '69, on one page, has 31 spaces for the stamps of Shanghai in the regular and postage due categories. The page is located after Seychelles in the '69, and after Serbia in the 1940s editions. The coverage is the same for all editions.

The coverage is 17%.

Only two stamps cross the $10+ threshold.

Although the coverage is objectively meager, BB manages to present a representative selection that is not very expensive. I'm O.K. with that, ;-)


84 or 92 or 101 or 102 or 109,(103),

111 or 124,112 or 125,(113),

129 or 135,137,

153 or 153a,154 or 154a,155,156,157 or 157a,158,159 or 159a,



Postage Due


A) Expensive stamps ($10 threshold):
1888 (Scott 113) 60 cash rose ($10+)
1893 Scott 164 10c green ($10+)
B) *1893- Lithographic vs Typographic choices for some spaces.
C) (    ) around a number indicates a blank space choice.

1896 Scott 171 4c orange & black/yellow "Coat of Arms"
Arms Type of 1893
Out of the Blue
I am particularly attracted to all things China (Philatelic and otherwise), perhaps because I have a wonderful daughter-in-law from Guangzhou (Canton). I have joined the China Stamp Society.

And, although WW classical era collecting has a firm grip on me, I do plan to expand my China collection, time and wallet permitting. ;-)

Note: Maps appear to be in the public domain.

Comments welcome!


  1. It's odd that Scott now lists all the Chinese treaty ports, but yet still does not list the local posts that flourished between various Moroccan cities in the late 1890s and early part of the 1900s. If you look in the Maury "Afrique" catalog there is a whole section at the start of the Morocco listings dedicated to these local posts, which were granted by the Moroccan sultans as concessions to various European companies. Oh well maybe one day Scott will eventually list these stamps, but for now they remain just another example of where having access to specialist catalogs can open whole new collecting vistas.

  2. Those local post listings in the Maury for Morocco look nice! I don't know if Scott has an overall philosophy for listing local posts- it appears not, as some countries will have them, others not.

    I notice that the 2016 Scott Classic 1840-1940 catalogue has added Chile postal fiscal stamps (AR1-AR12). Not exactly analogous to local post stamps, but Scott does seem to keep adding categories with each edition- so yes, there is a chance. :-)

  3. I guess their philosophy is to follow markets / demand.If some area, like China, gets 'hot' it will get more coverage and attention... Not sure what's the story with Chile, but based based on recent Linns editorial (and some other talks I've seen) there seems to be a lot of expectations for Cuba (since it's in the US backyard I guess it could become 'hot', but I would not hold my breath).


    1. There is a good deal of general interest in Cuba now- for instance, several of my friends are traveling there soon before "McDonalds"" shows up. ;-)

      What is really making U.S. based collectors "hot" about Cuba is the fact that the 'Bay does not permit the listing of Cuban stamps. Absurdity.