An Over-Paid Letter from
Amoy to Manila?
By A.M.T. Cheung FRPSL
This 1865 entire-letter from Amoy to Manila featured
in the September 2000 Heinrich Köehler Auction in Germany. The cover
is certainly interesting because it bears a pair of 1863 QV 8¢ orange
cancelled two strikes of the rare Amoy Paid c.d.s. (Webb type A). This
datestamp was introduced in 1859 for paid letters, initially stamped on
the envelope indicating prepayment of postage. After Hong Kong stamps were
introduced into the China Treaty Ports around 1863/64, this was used to
cancel the stamps stuck on cover. The cancelled stamps were then re-cancelled
B62 at Hong Kong in transit. The earliest recorded stamped cover bearing
this datestamp as a cancel is dated 19 Sept. 1864 to Orleans, France.
The letter was written in Spanish on 5 July 1865
in Amoy to a firm in Manila. It was carried by P&O steamer Azof to
Hong Kong arriving on 8 July and then by private ship to Manila arriving
on the 26 July. The subject cover is neither the earliest nor latest but
nevertheless it shows several interesting features. Next to the pair of
stamps is a rate marking, a crimson colour "4" i.e. four pence or eight
HK cents. This is the inter-treaty port letter rate under half ounce. The
"1" Real handstamp being the ship letter rate applied by Manila on arrival
for letters weighing under half ounce. The letter might have been overpaid
8¢ by the sender for a borderline half ounce letter.
Inter-treaty Port Mail by Dr. A.M.T.
Cheung FRPSL, Hong Kong SAR Philatelic Journal 2.
Hong Kong & the Treaty Ports
of China & Japan by Col. F.W. Webb.
The British Post Offices in the
Far East by E.B. Proud.
British Maritime Postal History
Vol.2 - The P.O. Lines to the Far East by R. Kirk p.187
Reproduced from The Hong Kong
Philatelic Society Website
with the kind permission of
Dr. Andrew Cheung