Today in Postal History



Canal Zone to China
July 1, 1920

This picture postcard was sent from Ancon on the east side of the Canal at the Pacific entrance.
Ancon is adjacent to Panama City.

The card received a machine postmark.
The machine was a Time-Cummins.*

The card took a time-consuming route to its destination of
Tengyueh (now Tengchong) in the Chinese province of Yunnan.
Tengyueh was a treaty port opened in May, 1902.
It was the site in the "Golden Triangle" of a British Embassy since the early 19th century.*
It is about 450 km west of Kunming.

The first stop appeared to be Bombay, India, where it received a transit mark on September 30.
Here it appeared to be rerouted through Burma, an overland route.

Two different transit marks were used in Bhamo, Burma,
near the Chinese border about 275 km northeast of Mandalay.
Yunnan is adjacent to Burma on this border.
Bhamo is a port on the Irrawaddy River and an important stop
on the famous Burma Road to China over "The Hump."
The recorded history of the route goes back at least to Marco Polo.
There are two double circle CDS and one single circle CDS dated October 11.
The single circle includes the letters DEP  which denotes Deposit Room
where mail which cannot be moved immediately waits (up to three weeks) until the next opportunity.
It was common at this time in India and presumably here in Burma.*

The card is franked with a 2c. Panama Cordoba
vermilion and black with a black CANAL ZONE overprint reading up.
It is probably from one of the two 1920 issue
although the overprint is not clear enough to tell (Scott 53 or 56)

The illustration shows the Fine Arts Palace in San Francisco.
It was one of the buildings saved from the Panama-Pacific Exposition of 1915.
It is nteresting that postcards from San Francisco, albeit related
to the Panama-Pacific Exposition, should be available in the Canal Zone.

The marks on the picture which look like remnants of postmarks are
probably offsets from a card in the stack below due to overinking of the hand stamp.

*Thanks to Matt Liebsen for identifying the machine cancel,
to Jim Whitford-Stark for the further information on the British presence,
and to Richard Warren for interpreting the DEP marking.

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