Local Post Issues of 1894
Designs from the first and second Local Post issues for Kewkiang
Now known as Jiujiang, Kewkiang is a port on the south shore of the Yangtze River. Along with Hankou and Fuzhou, it was a centre for the tea trade with a significant expatriate population until political turmoil inspired their evacuation in the late 1920's.
As with other Treaty Port Local Post issues, the editor of Stanley Gibbons Monthly Journal was critical of the motivations of the local stamp issuing authorities. He observed that the numbers of stamps printed and denominations that were produced were evidence that the stamps were not being issued to satisfy postal needs:
Kewkiang.—Mr. Benjamin sends us some further details as to the issue of this town, together with a set of the stamps which were issued on June ist. The general design for all the values above the 1/2 c. is the same. Chinese characters, meaning Kiukiang, on a tablet in the centre, surrounded by ornaments which vary in the different values, enclosed in a rectangular frame inscribed "KEWKIANG" at each side, "LOCAL POST" at the top, and the value in words at the bottom, in Chinese characters in the upper corners, and in figures in the lower. The central device of the 1/2 c. shows a pagoda and a house under a tree, with Kiukiang in Chinese on the upper left. This value is further distinguished by being printed in two colours !
1/2 c., purple-brown on rose.
1/2 c., red on yellow.
1 c., black.
2 c., red.
5 c., blue on yellow.
6 c., yellow.
10 c., black on yellow.
15 c., red.
20 c., blue on rose.
40 c., black on red.
We have an interesting little official circular from Kewkiang which sufficiently explains the purpose of the issue :
The MUNICIPAL COUNCIL of KEWKIANG, CHINA, having decided upon establishing a Post-office of its own, has issued a complete set of stamps costing one MEXICAN DOLLAR, as follows :" Here follows the list of values as
given above, but without the colours, the 1/2 c. being evidently repeated to make up the dollar! The Council has resolved to limit the issue to 100,000 copies of each denomination. Stamps can be obtained from THE POSTMASTER, LOCAL
POST-OFFICE, KEWKIANG, CHINA." It should be noticed that the edition is limited, like that of some work of art, and we almost expected to hear of proofs on Japanese paper signed by the Municipal Council and the Postmaster. Postal
requirements are evidently in no way considered. The Council appears to have established "a Post-office of its own " for the express purpose of providing a place of sale for the stamps. We gather that the latter are only sold in
sets, the values being carefully arranged so as to avoid the necessity of giving change ! A post-office of one's own is not a bad speculation!
Many of the stamps issued in 1894 were overprinted as postage due issues in 1895 and in 1896 some issued were surcharged. In 1897 the local post service was suspended.
"Kewkiang." Treaty Port Stamps. n.d. Frankly Stamps.
"New Issues and Varieties" Stanley Gibbons Monthly Journal. 31 jul. 1894: 3.
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