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

REGISTERED ENVELOPES

Five different sized of Registered Envelopes were produced with the China overprint.  Three separate types of envelopes were produced which can be identified by the insurance schedules printed on the backs of the envelopes.  The types were as follows:

Type C1 Schedule consisting of two columns ranging from 300F to 3000F and 25c to $2.50
Type C2 Schedule consisting of three columns ranging from $120 to $1200, 300F to 3000F and 25c to $2.50
Type C3 Schedule consisting of three columns ranging from $120 to $1200, 300F to 3000F and 20c to $2.00

Actual quantities and requisitions of the numbers of envelopes have previously only been speculated but examination of the Postal Museum Archives and the Foreign Commonwealth Offices Collection at the British Library has proven the following:

The new discovery of Requisition D.
Proof that Requisition F was printed in conjunction with Hong Kong Requisition 105/21.
Proof that Requisition H was pulled from Hong Kong Requisition W on Order 4127 and is the only size and quantity of the Type C2.
Examination of the Crown Agents records shows that 1,000 of the Size G and 1,000 of the Size H were pulled from Hong Kong Requisition 4673 for inclusion with the J Requisition (number 4690) on 14 Feb 1929.  This proves, for the first time, the non existence of the K C3 and the quantities and existence of the C3 on the G and H Sizes.

What makes this interesting is the following:

  • The quantities thought to be printed have been pulled from a number of sources.  Checking the British Library archives shows that the quantities listed previously by Webb, Perrin, Higgins and Gage etc are incorrect and grossly overstated the number of Size H and K.  (FC1 was 6630, Size G was 23101, Size H was 18554, H2 was 18555 and K was 19072).
  • No Specimen overprints of any of the postal stationary have been reported. The British Library and internal notes show that Specimen overprints of the Postal Stationary were provided to the Crown Agents.  That said, examination of the Bechuanaland Archive at the British Library shows that the examples provided to them do not have the Specimen overprint.  This leads us to believe that those Specimens created were for internal use and that the examples provided to the UPU had no overprint, which would explain why no examples have ever been seen on the market (or, indeed, seen at all outside of the British Library archive)

Type

Dec 1916
Req. Nil

Nov 1917
Req. A

Jun 1919
Req. B

Jul 1920 Req. D?

Feb 1922
Req. F

Apr 1927
Req. H

Apr 1929
Req. J

Total
Issued

F
C1

2500 Ordered 2525 Printed
2130 Sent

2000 Ordered
2030 Printed
2000 Sent

 

1000

2500
DLR Daybook

 

 

7,630

G
C1

4500 Ordered
4500 Printed
4101 Sent

6000 Ordered
6038 Printed
6000 Sent

4000

7000

9000

 

 

30,101
G
C2
          1000  
1,000
G
C3
            1000
1,000

H

1450 Ordered
1450 Printed
1054 Sent

1500 Ordered
1500 Printed
1500 Sent

1000

2500

5000

 

 

11,054
H
C3
            1000
1,000

H2

1450 Ordered
1450 Printed
1055 Sent

1500 Ordered
1507 Printed
1500 Sent

1000

1000

5000

 

 

9,555

K

1450 Ordered
1470 Printed
1072 Sent

2000 Ordered
2017 Printed
2000 Sent

1000

2500

5000

 

 

11,572


After the closure of the Treaty Ports in 1922, surviving stocks of the stationary were returned to Hong Kong and shipped back to London on the S.S. Morea on 18 October 1924.  After the closure of Wei Hai Wei in 1930, the surviving stocks remaining there were also returned to Hong Kong and then returned to London on 16 September 1932.  All returned stocks were destroyed.

Consequently, the totals sold are presumed to be as follows:

Type

Total
Issued

Total
Destroyed
Total
Sold

F C1

7,630
2,718
4,912

G C1

30,101
2500
27,601
G C2
1,000
880 Size G were returned from Wei Hai Wei but there is no way of knowing which printing
 
G C3
1,000

H

11,054
2,500
8,554
H C3
1,000
366
634

H2

9,555
4,524
5,031

K

11,572
2,969
8,603

 

CENSUS

Type

Quantity

EKU

LKU

# Unused

Census Used

F C1 3 ¼” x 5 ¼

Back

7630

 

 

 

Unknown WHW I A
Dec 12 1918
4 Mar 1920
May 1920
Sep 6 1920
7 Apr 1921
12 Sep 1921
18 Sep 1921
2 Feb 1925
May 1926

G C1 3 ¾” x 6”

Back

30101

Jan 8 1917

2 Feb 1925

 

Jan 8 1917
3 Mar 1917
14 May 1917
5 Aug 1917
6 Aug 1917 Cav2004
13 Sep 1917
21 Sep 1917
Dec 8 1917
11 Apr 1918
15 May 1918
Jul 10 1918
7 Oct 1918
11 Feb 1919
Jun 14 1919
Oct 22 1919
Dec 17 1919
Mar 12 1920
2 Jun 1920
3 Feb 1921
11 Mar 1921
Mar 24 1921
19 Nov 1921
1922 Unknown
14 Jan 1922
1922
1 Sep 1922
8 Sep 1922 HKSC J259.6
Nov 4 1922
Nov 30 1922
Oct 9 1924
1 Feb 1926
7 Mar 1947
(Illegal)

G C2 3 ¾” x 6”

1000

 

 

None

27 Jun 1928 Cav2004

G C3 3 ¾” x 6”

Back

1000

 

 

Three

19 Aug 1929
Apr 4 1930

H C1 5” x 8”

Back

11054

 

 

 

5 Dec 1917 JB308
12 May 1918
4 May 1918
Jun 4 1918
Aug 23 1918
Sep 19 1918
1 Oct 1919
16 Feb 1921
9 Mar 1921
27 Apr 1921 ZAHK011
10 Oct 1921
17 Mar 1922
Oct 6 1922
23 Nov 1922
27 Nov 1922
13 Jun 1927
27 Jun 1930 PC7

 

H C3 5” x 8”

Back

1000

 

 

Four (?)

27 Jun 1930

H2 C1 4” x 9”

Back

9555

 

 

 

3 Nov 1917
19 Aug 1919
1 Apr 1920 AE2004
14 Jul 1922
15 Jul 1922 Cav2004
Jul 30 1927

K C1 6” x 11 ½”

Back

11572

 

 

 

11 Apr 1917 Cav2004
24 Jul 1917
Nov 19 1918
26 Nov 1918
25 Mar 1919 SP3019
17 Sep 1921
20 Sep 1921
22 Oct 1922 Cav2004
25 Oct 1922
26 Oct 1928
24 Apr 1929

Notes:

The current EKU of any of the Registration Envelopes is reported by Lee Scamp with the date of Feb 21 1917.

The Size H envelope dated 13 Jun 1927 has an interesting scrap of paper adhering to the back which seems to be some form of registration tracking form. Any information regarding this would be appreciated.

 

JLA