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...

Monday, June 29, 2020

Chile 1910 Issues - a closer look

1910 Scott 88 12c vermilion
"Capturing the "Maria Isabel""
Center in Black
Into the Deep Blue
This is the third "closer look" post for the stamps of classical era Chile.

The first two posts....
A beginner's guide to Chile's 1853-1865 issues
Chile 1867-1909 - a closer look

This third emission frankly serves as an excuse for me to show off the 1910 issue commemorating the centenary of independence for Chile. This gorgeous bi-color fifteen stamp issue (Scott 83-97) was produced by the American Bank Note Company of New York,

A closer look
100 Centavos = 1 Peso
1910 Scott 79 5c on 12c (Blue)
Overprinted "Islas de Juan Fernandez"
Also, in 1910, there was a four stamp surcharged issue released.

Here, the Scott 73 12c lake & black "Columbus" was surcharged in blue. Although the surcharge states "Islas de Juan Fernandez", the stamps were authorized to be used throughout Chile.

Islas Juan Fernandez off the coast of Chile
By the way, the islands are now a protected area and park. Including most of "Robinson Crusoe Island", the archipelago is a habitat for fur seals and the firecrown hummingbirds.

1910 Scott 81 20c on 1p (Red)
The three higher denominations were surcharged in red.

CV for the issue ranges from <$1 to $3 (unused).

1910 Scott 83 1c dark green
"Oath of Independence"
It would be interesting, and a nice side- collection, to gather all the stamps that were bi-colored between 1901-1910 and issued by many countries. Most were engraved, as is this issue from Chile.

BTW, there is a "center inverted" (Scott 83a) that catalogs for $50,000 unused. !!

1910 Scott 84 2c lake
"Battle of Chacabuco"
Lovely- yes?

It is clear that the supply/demand curve for this gorgeous issue is on the side of the collector even today.

The CV for this stamp (unused) is only $1+, with only a modest increase (CV $10+-$30+ unused) for higher denominations.

The history of the Chilean War of Independence is fairly complicated to understand. The 1910 "Independence Centenary Issue" illustrated here will help with the highlights.

1910 Scott 85 3c red brown
"Battle of Roble"
As one likely would suspect for the era, a number of the stamps in the issue illustrate the decisive battles.

"Combate de El Roble de Octobre 1813"
Pintura de Manuel Tapia  Portus (1835-1915)
This painting illustrates the first battle that was won by the patriots against the royalists.

This is where Colonel Bernardo O'Higgins gave his famous speech....

"Lads! To me! Live with honour, or die with glory! The one who is brave is the one who follows me!"

...and became a hero. He subsequently was named a commander of the patriot forces.

1910 Scott 86 5c deep blue
"Battle of Maipu"
The Argentine general Jose de San Martin won a the decisive "Battle of Maipu" near Santiago on April 5, 1818. This assured the independence of Chile from Spanish domination.

1910 Scott 87 10c gray brown
"Naval Engagement of "Lautaro" and "Esmeralda""
On April 26-27, 1818, the "Lautoro" engaged the Spanish frigate "Esmeralda". The boarding party, including Captain O'Brien, lost their lives, but did succeed in breaking the Spanish blockade of Valparaiso.

1910 Scott 89 15c slate
"First Sortie of Liberating Forces"
The tableau (from the O'Higgins monument) shows General O'Higgins pointing out the vessels of the liberating naval squadron setting out in search of the Royalist navy.

1910 Scott 90 20c red orange
"Abdication of O'Higgins"
In 1823, O'Higgins abdicated, and a new junta was formed. He planned to return to Ireland, his ancestral home. But General Freyre had him arrested and he was put in prison. But the people, who had not forgot his heroism, demanded his release.

1910 Scott 91 25c ultramarine
"Chile's First Congress"
In June, 1811, the first Congress was held.

1910 Scott 92 30c violet -Closeup
"Monument to O'Higgins"
Bernardo O'Higgins, son of a former Governor of Chile, Ambrosio O'Higgins, was a major key in several battles, and he was eventually was named supreme director of an elective government. But after his release from prison in 1823 (see script for the 20c), he lived in Lima until his death in 1842.

1910 Scott 93 50c olive green
"Monument to Jose M. Carrera"
Complicated history.  Carrera was initially General-in-Chief of the patriot army in 1811. He then decreed himself president, but his fortunes changed and he was imprisoned along with his two army officer brothers. (O'Higgins was then commander of the army.)  Carrera then became a refugee in the United States, but then returned to Chile where he learned his two brothers had been executed by order of San Martin. He then carried on guerilla warfare with a small group of 500 men against the Generals of the Independents for three years. He and his officers were captured and shot at Mendoza September 4, 1821.

1910 Scott 94 1p yellow orange
"Monument to San Martin"
First Argentina, then Chile and Peru: San Martin did more than anyone to rid South America of Spanish Rule. In July, 1821, he entered Lima and proclaimed the independence of Peru.

1910 Scott 95 2p red
"Gen. Manuel Blanco Encalada"
The General deserted the Spanish forces and joined the Revolutionary forces, serving with distinction. He was rear-admiral in 1819, and major general of the infantry in 1820. He became president of the republic after 1826.

1910 Scott 96 5p yellow green
"Gen. Jose Ignacio Zenteno"
Zenteno was San Martin's secretary at Mendoza. He was then governor of Valparaiso in 1821.

Official 1907 Scott O10 3c on 1p brown
Regular Issues of 1892-1909 Overprinted in Red
To finish off, here is an example of an official stamp for the era. The 1907 issue of eight stamps (O9-O16) are rather expensive CV wise ($50-$300+). In addition, counterfeits exist.  (I don't know if this stamp is genuine or not.)

1910 Scott 97 10p dark violet
"Adm. Lord Thomas Cochrane"
Center in Black
Out of the Blue
The stamps are lovely, but the history is complicated. It appears it was not in the best interests to one's health to want to be a leader during these turbulent times. ;-)

Note: Painting image ("Combate de El Roble de Octobre 1813"), and map are sourced from the internet, and appear to be in the public domain. They are used here for educational purposes.

Comments appreciated!

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Manchukuo - Bud's Big Blue

                 1935 Scott 64 ocher
Emperor’s Standard, Manchukuo
Bud's Big Blue
Bud's Observations

The internet has made a huge impact on stamp collecting, as all collectors know. But the jolt is felt not only in the marketplace -- the shift from stamp shows to online sales -- but also in how collectors display their treasures -- the shift from albums on shelves to non-commercial websites. Having a virtual collection online, while storing the actual stamps somewhere away from thieves and sticky fingers, has become increasingly popular, to wit, my own Big Blue posts.

The presenters of collections online often add valuable commentary, none more so than Simon Watt for his impressive Manchukuo collection: http://manchukuostamps.com/ (accessed 4/19/2020). 

Simon introduces his Manchukuo website with this explanation:

This website is being built and operated as a hobby, instead of mounting the stamps in an album and then writing them up, I thought that I would scan them and do the write-up online. This means I can leave the stamps in the bank but still see my collection whenever I want. It is not yet finished and I doubt that it ever will be....you know what it's like when you collect things!
Of course, his is a highly specialized website. But his observations and examples provide valuable information that generalists will find useful. Here are six of his many insights. (The comments in italics are Simon’s and the stamp scans are mine, except for the cover, which is Simon’s.)

The [first Manchukuo] stamps went on sale on 26th July 1932, and the set contains eighteen values. Looking at the list of postal rates shown separately it is hard to see how some values would have been used, which might mean that the level of pricing had not been agreed at the time of printing.
        1932 Scott 10-13

The ½fen to 10fen stamps depict the White Pagoda. This is a 13 story 70m tower, carved with images of the Buddha and stands in Paita Park in the city of Liao-yang, 64 kilometres South of Mukden. The pagoda is all that remains of the once important Guan Yu temple. The remainder of the issue 13fen to 1Yuan show the Chief Executive of Manchukuo, Puyi, later to become Emperor Kāngdé. In reality Puyi had no power and was completely under the control of the Japanese.
Few countries recognised Manchukuo and it never became part of the Universal Postal Union, fortunately most nations, did deliver the mail from Manchukuo. (One of the few to recognise Manchukuo as a sovereign state was the Vatican, and anyone who looks closely at covers from this area will see that a large number are from Catholic missions).
Registered cover sent from the Danish Mission (Lutheran) in 鳳凰城 Feng-Huang-Ch'eng to Dairen on 28th March 1939
In an act of true independence Manchukuo rejected the stamp colour regimes of both the Universal Postal Union and Japan.
1934-5 Scott 84-87, non-standard colors

The [air mail] 18f and 19f show an aircraft flying above a shepherd. The 38f, and 39f show an aircraft flying over the Sungari River railway bridge (Sungari is the Russian name, 松花江 Sōnghuā Jiāng in Chinese).
1936-37 Scott c1-4
At the end of the war there were 1000's of sheets of stamps in stock and those not subject to Manchurian Local Overprints (MLO's) quickly found their way to the philatelic market. This is the reason why the unused stamps of Manchukuo are mostly inexpensive, and why stamps cancelled, or on covers as a result of genuine postal use are often considered more valuable.
1938 Scott 128-9
Intelligent commentary on specialist websites, of course, is neither new nor surprising. It has been around for many years. But I suspect that generalists do not make enough use of these resources. I had not looked for a Manchukuo specialized site before I started writing this post. I’m glad to have found one.

A common stamp placement error that I find on Manchukuo pages of feeder albums is the confusion of the 1932 series with the almost identical 1934-36 series. The former has five Chinese characters in the top banner while the latter has six.
Census: 79 in BB spaces, 3 tip-ins, 16 on supplement page.

Jim's Observations
Manchuria, located in northeast China and inner Mongolia, was traditionally ruled by the ethnic Manchus: hence the name. But when Imperial Japan seized the lands in 1931, the Han Chinese were, by far, the largest ethnic group, although there was also a stewing pot of Japanese (increasing during the puppet years), Koreans, Mongols, and White Russians. To add some legitimacy to the raw takeover from China, Japan formed a puppet government for Manchukuo ("Manchu State"), and brought back the "last emperor" from the Qing Dynasty, Asin-Giorp Puyi.

Manchukuo Blog Post & BB Checklist

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Comments appreciated!

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Bud's L of N Album: Interim League of Nations Philately 1920-1922

League of Nations Album
4. Interim League of Nations Philately
         (part 4 of a series)

During the period between the initiation of the first League of Nations postmarks on 8 November 1920 and the introduction of Swiss stamps with League overprints on 3 October 1922, the League Secretariat used regular Swiss stamps. This cover coincidentally bears both “Geneva 1” and “Geneva 10” cancellations, both of which were used by the League for many years.

The registered cover from the League, 2 June 1921, is probably philatelically inspired. It bears two fairly uncommon se-tenant pairs from booklets issued in 1921, possibly posted on their first day of issue. (300,000 pairs of the 2½c and 120,000 of the 20c). The League used registration etiquettes imprinted with Societe des Nations before it had stamps with their name overprinted. “No 115” must have been a fairly early registration etiquette.

Two postcards follow. The first was issued to celebrate the League’s first General Assembly. Notice at the top of the card that the United States is not listed as a member. The second shows a pre-WWI waterfront view of the Genève Hôtel National, built in 1873-5 and retrofitted as the League’s home in 1919-20. The building is now known as Palais Wilson in honor of Woodrow Wilson, the League’s founder.

Postcard to celebrate the League’s first General Assembly

Genève Hôtel National

Friday, June 12, 2020

Guest Post: “Crafting” My Big Blue Collection by Bryan O'Doherty

Bulgaria: Stamps housed in Vario sheets
While using the Big Blue Album pages as a Template
“Crafting” My Big Blue Collection by Bryan O'Doherty

Jim's Note: I met Bryan in a serendipitous way: We were both visiting the Uptown Stamp Show  stamp store on a Friday afternoon in Portland, Oregon. We were introduced by the owner.

Now Bryan, like many primary U.S. classic collectors, had completed much, and was looking for a "fun" diversion into another stamp avenue. What U.S. area was Bryan's specialty? A note from Bryan...

"As I said, I too felt the need to do a web site, so I put together a plating website for the 3¢ U.S. imperforate stamp of 1851-1857. http://stampplating.com/ Please take a look."

Wow, Bryan, that is SO impressive!

Long story short: He was bitten by the Big Blue Bug, and made it his own. Let's hear Bryan's story...

Like many of you, I returned to stamps after a very long absence.  Four years later my U.S. Classics collection is now at that place where the stamps I want are few and expensive. So, looking for new challenges, I found the Big Blue 1840-1940 website in November 2019.  Collecting the Big Blue is a great complement to my U.S. Classics, and I can buy a lot of stamps for not too much money!

Having never purchased a non-US stamp, I was wide open on what and how to collect.  I was surprised at how many variations of Big Blue there are and the different ways that collectors collect this area.  I made many false starts to get this new collection going.  That meant going through the debate of Minkus Master or Supreme, Steiner, Scott Four Volume modern, Subway Vintage/Scott Brown, and all the versions of the Scott International Jr. and Part I’s. 

After much meandering, I am centered on collecting 1840-1940; collecting “to the album – 1969 version;” collecting the least cost choice available; and, truly viewing this collection as my “fun collection” – not too serious and not mint-never-hinged.  Important influencers for my choices are the resources in place, such as Jim Jackson’s Big Blue web site, Dilip Limaye’s inventory spreadsheet, the page layout of the Scott International Part I - 1969 version (versus the earlier versions), and the availability of enough feeder albums to get me going. 

Now for my hardest decision - what do I put the stamps in and how do I secure them? My U.S. collection is all custom designed and mounted on large-format heavyweight album pages in Lighthouse Classic 13-ring binders and slipcases.  I have spent thousands of hours designing, writing and printing the albums and mounting the stamps.  I love the result, but to do the same thing with 34,000 stamps is an inconceivable task and would likely move this collection out of my “for fun” category. 

But, I don’t like thin paper album sheets, two-post binders, double-sided sheets or stamps falling off a page. Hinging stamps into a Scott International album is not appealing.  I prefer binders that lie flat with commentary on the left-facing page and mounted stamps on the right.  So, I was considering copying the album pages single-sided at full size onto large format heavy-weight sheets and using Hawid mounts as a departure from Dennison hinges. I had built a jig to punch 13–holes and purchased the large sheets of paper on which to print from the original album page images.

Then I saw the Big Blue post of Ron Olin’s albums, where he uses Vario stock sheets to hold his stamps and places the Scott International Part I album pages on facing pages in sheet protectors.  If I could get over the 8½” x 11” page size, using double-sided Vario stock sheets with facing album pages seemed brilliant!  So, I have adopted his method with some minor revisions.  Great idea Ron!

Cameroun: Vario sheet on the Left;
Reduced  92% image size Big Blue page on archival paper on the Right

In a nutshell, I am mounting my stamps in 8½” x 11” double-sided Vario stock sheets.  I reduce the Scott International Part I (Big Blue) pages to about 92% image size and print those onto heavy-weight 8½” x 11” archival paper. Reducing the page image is certainly not a requirement, but I like the page image fit better. The local FedEx copy shop does the scanning/reducing/printing for 15¢ per page (two pages per sheet). I then 3-hole punch the sheets and corner cut the two outside corners (à la Lighthouse) to match the Vario sheet corners, using a $15 cutter. 

The resulting 640 sheets of paper, with the 1,280 reduced-sized Big Blue album pages, are then placed as interleaves between the appropriate 5, 6, or 7-row Vario stock sheets holding the stamps.  Approximately 28 double-sided album sheets with the accompanying Vario sheets fit into a 2“ binder. I have 24 binders to hold the entire 1840-1940 Big Blue.

Here is my cost analysis of my three considered choices:

I also wanted the binders to look good on the shelf, so I bought a Silhouette Portrait digital cutter and “crafted” a logo and labels for each of the binders.  This was time consuming, but fun and I think the result is very fun for this collection. And, I now have a digital cutter to use on all kinds of other projects. The artwork is available to anyone who wants to do the same. 

The biggest benefits of this album concept for me are: fast stamp mounting, ability to easily swap out better stamps from new feeder albums, ability to easily put up to four copies of a stamp behind each other in the same stamp space, clean and secure storage, no stamps falling off of pages or getting damaged, and no hinges.

Big Blue: The World 1840-1940

The negatives to this concept are the weight of the albums (due to the Vario sheets), and the layout issues in trying to make the stamps look great beside the related Scott International Part I interleave album pages.  Of course, the two pages that relate to a single Vario sheet are the back-page of one sheet and the front-page of the next sheet.  I always choose the Vario sheet (I use 5, 6, and 7-row Vario sheets) that matches “the most-rows’ page” of each two-page set.  So, I will sometimes have a 5-row left page and a 7-row right page that must go together on a Vario 7-row two-sided sheet.  That can result in a large stamp misalignment on one of the pages.

Since this is my fun collection, the benefits for me certainly outweigh the negatives.

Comments are appreciated!

Thursday, June 4, 2020

China 1888-1929 - a closer look

1909 Scott 133 7c orange & brown violet
"Temple of Heaven, Peking"
Into the Deep Blue
Classical China (1878-1949) is a tough country for the WW collector.

I can't think of any other country where it is so difficult to obtain material (even inexpensive material), and dealers almost always have little stock, as it goes out the door as soon as it comes in.

I did join the China Stamp Society, and they do hold auctions for their members. But there are no bargains at their auctions because one is competing against other enthusiastic China collectors.

So, even though I have a high interest in obtaining classical China, I've not come very far. A happy problem for us WW collectors is there is always other countries to collect, often with abundant material available and bargains to be had. So I circle back to China only occasionally, get frustrated with lack of buying opportunities, and move on again to another county.

Be that as it may, I thought I would do a broad (but limited in depth) review of the classical stamps of China. The review will give short shrift to the early (and expensive) issues, as I simply do not have material. But there is still much to talk about.

I need to mention that I have already published several posts on the 1913-1923 issues "Junk" and "Reaper" stamps. See..

China "Junk" Issues of 1913, 1915, & 1923: The Differences
China "Reaping Rice" Stamps of 1913, 1915-19, & 1923: The Differences

Lets begin...

China 1888-1929 - a closer look
10 Candareen = 1 Mace
10 Mace = 1 Tael
100 Cents = 1 Dollar (Yuan) (1897)

1888 Scott 14 3c lilac "Imperial Dragon"
"Small Dragon", Perf 12
The Imperial Maritime Customs Service ("Customs Post") handled the  mail from 1878 to 1897. Only three issues were produced during this period: the Large Dragon stamps (1878-1883), the Small Dragon stamps (1885-1888), and the Empress Dowager Commemoratives (1894-1897).

The stamp values were in silver candarin.

The stamps were actually printed by the Customs Statistical Department in Shanghai.

Both the Large Dragons (Nine major numbers) and the Small Dragons (six major numbers) were printed on individual copper dies (cliches), so each of these dies can be identified by specialists. There are 76 known dies for the Large Dragons, 40 known dies for the Small Dragons. Catalogue values for these Dragon stamps range from $60 to $1500 (Most range in the $hundreds). Needless to say, this is the playground of the rich and famous.

My Small Dragon stamp above (3c lilac) appears a bit faded. The China Stamp Society catalog states: "The printing ink is water soluble and can be washed off. Small Dragon stamps must never be soaked in water to remove paper or hinges"

On February 20, 1897, the national postal service (Imperial Chinese Post) took over from the Customs post. While awaiting the new silver dollar currency stamps to be shipped from Japan (See below), the remaining supplies of Large and Small Dragons, the Dowager Commemoratives, and even an unissued 3c red revenue stamp were overprinted/surcharged in silver dollar values for use as postage. This occurred between January and May, 1897, creating some 61 Major Scott numbers. The CV ranges in price from ~$20 to $75,000 (Most are in the $30+ to $hundreds). Again a playground for the specialist.

1897 Scott 86-92 "Dragon, Carp, Wild Goose" Issue
Lithographed in Japan, Wmk 103 (Yin-Yang Symbol)
"Imperial Chinese Post"
On August 16, 1897, the Imperial Chinese Post released twelve stamps (three designs) that had been lithographed in Japan by the Tokyo Tsukiji Foundry. CV ranges from $3+ to $45 for nine stamps, with the three higher values @ $200 - $1,600. This set was only in use for 4 1/2 months.

1897 Scott 92 20c maroon "Carp"
Wmk 103 (Yin-Yang Symbol)
The "Carp", a beloved fish for eating, is shown on this 20c maroon. This issue was watermarked (See below).

Wmk 103 (Yin-Yang Symbol)
Note the Yin-Yang symbol.

1898 Scott 98-106 "Dragon, Carp, Wild Goose" Issue
Engraved in London, Wmk 103 (Yin-Yang Symbol)
"Chinese Imperial Post"
In January, 1898, an engraved twelve stamp Wmk "Yin-Yang" issue from Waterlow & Sons in London was released, and the 1897 Japanese printed lithographed definitive issue was suspended.  Actually the 1897 Japanese lithographic issue and the 1898 London engraved issue are similar in appearance, as both issues were designed by R.A. de Villard.

The watermark ("Yin-Yang" is rather difficult to detect, as the the paper is thick.

CV ranges from $2+ to $360.

1898 Scott 106 50c light green "Carp"
Wmk 103 (Yin-Yang Symbol)
A close-up of the 50c green. The China Stamp Society catalog states that many shades can be detected, although Scott does not list any.

Note that the 1898 London printed stamps say "Chinese Imperial Post", while the preceding 1897 Japan printed stamps say "Imperial Chinese Post".

1900? -06 Scott 110-117 "Dragon, Carp, Wild Goose" Issue
Engraved, Unwmk
"Chinese Imperial Post"
In 1902, the watermarked paper that was sent to London ran out, so the stamps (from London) were printed on unwatermarked paper. Scott is unclear when these stamps were in use, but the China Stamp Society catalog states from 1902-1911 (last year of the Ching Dynasty).

1900-06 Scott 117 20c red brown "Carp"
Engraved, Unwmk
"Chinese Imperial Post"
Note that these issue have the same design as the 1898 watermarked set.

CV is $2+ to $250 (most CVs are modest).

1905-10 Scott 124-129 "Dragon, Carp"
Engraved, Unwmk
"Chinese Imperial Post"
These were additional stamps that are the same as the 1900?-1906 issue in design, but with a change in color or a new denomination.

1908 Scott 129 10c ultramarine "Dragon"
Engraved, Unwmk
"Chinese Imperial Post"
The 1908 10c ultramarine replaces the 10c green from the 1900?-1906 issue. The changes in color were done to accommodate UPU regulations.

CV for the 1905-10 stamps ranges from $2+ to $20.

1909 Scott 131 2c orange & green
"Temple of Heaven, Peking"
Designed by an American (L.J. Hatch), printed in London ("Waterlow & Sons"), and honoring a new Emperor (Hsuan Tung, also known as Henry Pu Yi), this three stamp bi-colored set was released September 8, 1909. CV is $8+-$10+.

After the 1912 revolution, Emperor Hsuan Tung lived in the Forbidden City for a few years, then in Tientsin under Japanese protection. In 1934, he became the "puppet" emperor (Kang Teh) of Manchukuo. He eventually was allowed to return to China where he lived out his (now uneventful) life. The movie, "The Last Emperor" is about him.

1912 Scott 146-162 "Stamps of 1902-10 Overprinted"
Overprinted by the Maritime Customs Statistical Department (MCSD), Shanghai
Issues of the Republic
After the revolution and the founding of the Republic, fifteen stamps of 1902-10 were overprinted in black or red by the Maritime Customs Statistical Department and released March, 1912.

Note: Scott 161 & 162 (bottom row above) were actually printed by the Commercial Press, Shanghai. The characters differ in that the top character is shifted a bit to the right, and the bottom character has small "legs".

1912 Scott 147 1c ocher "Dragon" (Red Overprint)
MCSD, Shanghai, Issues of the Republic
The overprinted four characters mean "Republic of China". CV ranges from $1+ to $8+ for fourteen stamps, with the three higher denominations @ $30+-$70+.

1912 Scott 163-174  "Stamps of 1902-10 Overprinted"
Overprinted in Blue, Carmine, or Black
Overprinted by Waterlow & Sons, London
In addition, Waterlow & Sons, London issued overprints on fifteen stamps in 1912.  CV ranges from $1+ to $500+ ( most are less than $10+).

1912 Scott 174 50c yellow green "Carp" (Red Overprint)
Overprinted by Waterlow & Sons, London
The Waterlow & Sons, London OP stamps can be differentiated by the MCSD, Shanghai OP stamps by a change in shape of the characters.

1912 Scott 186 50c dark green "Dr. Sun Yat-sen"
"Honoring the leader of the Revolution"
The "National Revolution Commemoratives", a twelve stamp engraved set, was released December 24, 1912, and featured Dr. Sun Yat-sen, the leader of the revolution. CV is $3+-$600+.

1912 Scott 199 $1 brown red 
"President Yuan Shih-kai"
"Honoring the 1st President of the Republic"
The second twelve stamp engraved set released December 24, 1912 honored President Yuan Shih-kai. CV ranges from $1+ to $300+.

1921 Scott 246 10c blue
"Yeh Kung-cho, Hsu Shi-chang and Chin Yun-peng"
National Post Office, 25th anniversary
March 20, 1921 was the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the Chinese Post Office. A three stamp set was released. The center portrait is President Hsu Shi-chang;  Chin Yun-peng, on the right, is Prime Minister, and on the left is Yeh Kung-cho , Minister of Communication.

CV is $1+-$5.

1923 Scott 272 4c red
"Temple of Heaven, Peking"
For the adoption of the Constitution, October, 1923, a four stamps engraved set was released. The "Temple of Heaven" is depicted, as that is the place where the constitution was officially adopted.

CV is $1-$3+.

1928 Scott 277 4c olive green
"Marshal Chang Tso-lin"
To honor Chang Tso-lin, Marshal of the Army and Navy, a four stamp engraved set was released March 1, 1928. The stamps were only valid in certain provinces. CV is $1+-$60.

1929 Scott 281 4c olive green
"President Chiang Kai-shek"
Unification of China
On April 18, 1929, a four stamp engraved set was released to commemorate unification of China. The stamps show President Chiang Kai-shek. CV is <$1 - $70.

Of course, Chaiag Kai-shek was very much intertwined with the history of China (and Taiwan) for the next 45 years.

1912 Scott 184 16c olive green "Dr. Sun Yat-sen"
"Honoring the leader of the Revolution"
Out of the Blue
There is much much more that could be said about the stamp issues of classical China, but this will have to do for now. I hope you enjoyed this brief survey.

Comments appreciated!