Today in Postal History

 

Netherlands Indies to China
December 24, 1912

This interesting registered cover has all kinds of mysteries.
It was mailed in Batavia (now Jakarta) where it received three strikes of the CDS.
Note the strike on the top stamp is not aligned with the other two.
How do you suppose that happened?

Underneath the top Batavia CDS there is another CDS using western letters.
I don't know where it is from.

The cover was carried on the Singapore to Hong Kong packet on December 29.
However, the DE looks more like OE.
Probably just clerical difficulties with the letters.

The cover's destination was Swatow.
Swatow (now Shantou) was a treaty port about 280 km
north east from Hong Kong on the South China Sea.
There is a Swatow CDS but I can't read the date - if any.

There are also two other postmarks with Chinese characters.
I'm not sure what these are.

The script Registered is the only western indication of registry.

There is a red chop at the top and an oval red sender's stamp at the lower left.
There are also two 'seals' at the point of the flap on the back.

Extensive additions have been made in Chinese.
The very neat columns of Chinese characters on the front
and the one on the back were added after the red stamps were placed on the cover.
I would expect them to be handling or registration instructions added along the way.

The cover is franked with what appear to be a 1903 10c slate
Wilhelmina and a 1902 2½c green numeral (Scott 48 and 41).
The date on the cover suggests that both stamps
should have overprints but I can see no evidence of them.

This cover leaves me with more questions than answers.

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