Today in Postal History


China to Germany
May 9, 1899

This picture postcard got started in Tientsin (now Tianjin)
about 110 km southeast of Peiping (now Beijing).

Many western powers established a presence in Tientsin in the 19th century.
The foreign communities conducted consular business and supported trade.
Most were supported by military contingents.
The presence of these communities of westerners ultimately led to the Boxer rebellion in 1900.

This card was illustrated with a photograph of a military review
during a recent visit of Prinz Heinrich, the brother of Kaiser Wilhelm II to Tsingtau.
The area has somewhat the look of a barren town on the western plains of the United States of that era.

The post card was franked with an 1898 5c salmon Chinese Imperial Post (Scott 102).
There is also a pair of Hong Kong 1884 2c carmine Victorias (SG 33).
The Hong Kong stamps were added to pay for routing
by the British Post Office from Shanghai to Germany.
"China, though conforming to the general terms of the UPU did not become a member until 1914.
It was necessary for the sender to pay the postage in Chinese and foreign stamps."*

The sender's note was dated May 5, 1899, but the Tientsin post office
didn't postmark it with a magenta CDS until May 9.
The single Chinese Imperial Post stamp was cancelled with six magenta bars.

The Hong Kong stamps are marked with small magenta boxes with I. P. O. inside.
"The originating Chinese Post Office placed the small IPO ([Chinese] Imperial Post Office)
chops on the corners as an anti-theft safeguard as the stamps were not cancelled
until arrival in the British Postal System, in this case, Shanghai.
The chops are called Tie Prints and there are many types.
Some cities used various types and colors.
Here are more examples and discussion of I.P.O. Tie Prints."*

From Tientsin the card went to Shanghai, arriving May 15,
 where the card was transferred to the B.P.O. in Shanghai the same day.
The Shanghai B.P.O. struck both Hong Kong stamps with a CDS.

Next, there is a Hong Kong transit CDS dated May 19.

The card was addressed to Hagen, Westfalen, about 10 km
southwest of Osnabrück midway between Bremen and Dortmund.
It was received there on June 19.

*Thanks to David Benson for the added information on the I.P.O. Tie Prints.
I've used his information with some editing.


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