Two Varieties of Local Post Definitives Depicting Birds
Described as Cranes, Herons, Egrets or Even Cormorants
When the editor of Stanley Gibbons Monthly Journal became aware of the the new stamps issued for the Local Post in the Chinese Treaty Port of Amoy he dismissed the stamps as a commercial venture designed to exploit the philatelic market. He commented that he only mentioned the stamps because, "the most prominent feature in the design appears to be so eminently appropriate. It is stated to consist of 'a couple of Cormorants. We trust we they will not be fed by philatelists." John Phillips, the postmaster had already taken exception to the suggestion that Amoy stamps were merely exploiting the philatelic market in a letter to the editor:
On receiving your Monthly Journal (of April 30th), I read the Important Notice on Speculative and Useless Issues! I, with others here, have always held your Journal as the only reliable one regarding references of Stamps, etc. Now you have condemned Locals, where shall we look to be enlightened (us who go in for that stuff)?
With reference to remarks in philatelic papers regarding the Local Post-offices in China having been instituted with the sole view of supplying stamp dealers and collectors with specimens of stamps, I beg to submit the following : Since 1st January. 1895, being a period of five months, there have-been 8427 letters, 6219 papers and circulars, and 801 parcels
for Coast Ports passed through this office (where does your information—-not one stamp in 100,000 sold are used for legitimate purposes—-come in?), at a cost of $155 14 1/2 cents, against $585 78 cents, which it would have cost in the British Postal Agency at this port for a similar work ; and would therefore state that legitimate postal work is performed in the various ports for local transmission of letters, etc., and for which an issue of stamps to cover cost of same is absolutely necessary.
Despite this information and the efforts of Juan Mencarini to document the history of the local post in his Descriptive Catalogue of the Postage Stamps Issued by the Amoy Local Post, the editor remained unrepentent with respect to his skepticism regarding the need for the stamps.
Whether or not the local issue stamps were a necessity, there is no dispute regarding the importance of postal services in a commercial port such as Amoy. Now known as Xiamen, Amoy, located west of Taiwan and north-east of Hong Kong, possesses a great natural harbor. As a consequence, it was one of the first five ports to which the British demanded access in the treaty that concluded the first Opium War in 1842. In 1844 a British post office was established with stamps cancelled "B62" in Hong Kong. The post office got its own "A1" datestamp in 1866 and "D27" from 1876. In 1890 the Shanghai local post established an agency in Amoy. In 1894 the municipal government in Amoy decided to establish its own local post service which began operations the following year. In 1897 it was amalgamated into the Imperial Chinese Post office. The Germans opened a post office in Amoy in 1900 and the French in 1902. In 1922 the foreign post offices were closed.
"Amoy." Stamp World. 2017. Stampworld.com
"Amoy Local Post." Stanley Gibbons Monthly Journal. 31 Jul. 1895: 18.
Brunström, Christer. "Stamps of China: The Amoy Local Posts." The Philatelic Database. 14 Jun. 2016.
"Chinese Locals.--Amoy.--" Stanley Gibbons Monthly Journal. 31 Aug. 1895: 18.
"The Local Post of Amoy." Stanley Gibbons Monthly Journal. 30 Apr. 1898: 191-192.
Rossiter, Stuart and John Flower. The Stamp Atlas. London: Macdonald and Co., 1986.
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