The Chinese Provincial Overprints

27/12/2017     China

In this and several forthcoming sales we are offering many wonderful stamps and sets overprinted for use in various Chinese Provinces.

These beautiful stamps were overprinted for various reasons, the first being the 1912 “Provisional Neutrality” overprints applied to regular issues following the revolution which saw local warlords and the Kuomintang party under Sun Yat-sen hold power, overprinting continued off and on to the end of the 1940s with Communisms final triumph over Nationalist forces.

Modern China was not created overnight. From the early 20th Century conflict of one type or another continued between Nationalist & Communist areas causing amongst other things currency speculation between provinces. During the 1920s & 1930s in order to restrict so-called national stamp issues (chiefly the various Sun Yat-sen definitive issues as well as the commemorative sets) being moved between the provinces, overprints were created essentially reading “Restricted for Use in …”

The war against Japan which began in earnest in 1937 with the invasion of Northern China saw occupied areas continue with the use of Chinese stamps but there soon developed a smugglers market as currency devaluation on the unoccupied side of the lines caused province- specific surcharges to be applied by the Chinese from 1940 to 1943.

The defeat of Japan in 1945 saw the Communists and Nationalists rush to seize and then fight over those previously occupied areas, during this time many new surcharges were created to deal with inflation and currency revaluations as well as some wonderful locally produced Communist area stamps, so it wasn’t until 1949 that the decades- long flood of provincial stamps, overprints & revaluation surcharges finally ceased and unified postage stamps for the entirety of the Peoples Republic began.

Vincent Green

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