An Over-Paid Letter from Amoy to Manila ?

By A.M.T. Cheung FRPSL

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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.

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Reference: -

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