Thursday, January 7, 2016

Specialized Catalog For China 1878-1949 released by China Stamp Society is a gem!

It may seem that I've been spending more time acquiring specialized postage stamp catalogs than actual stamps. Well there is a logic to my madness - since I am rebuilding my stamp collection from scratch and creating my own albums and want to include varieties as well as the items listed in mainstream catalogs such as Scott, it makes sense to get a really good specialized catalog for each major country I am considering collecting (and as a worldwide collector, that means ALL of them LOL!).

So, when I read on the forum that the China Stamp Society here in the United States had just published a brand new edition of its specialized catalog for the stamps of China 1878-1949, my mouth salivated and I knew I needed to add it to my library.

To be honest I have almost no background in Chinese philately, so this catalog is a great introduction to that branch of the hobby, which if you follow the philatelic market you know is also THE hottest philatelic property around, as the economic transformation of China and Taiwan have created wealthy middle and upper classes who see the stamps of China as part of their national heritage.

So on New Year's Eve I placed my order, and within a week the catalog arrived from the Society, which is based in California.  Not bad delivery time considering the intervening holiday!

The catalog is huge - almost 500 pages, soft cover with a spiral binding, so it lays flat when open (much like the Canada Unitrade catalog. Wish more specialized catalogs came this way!)

The catalog is also EXHAUSTIVE.  From the introduction, the items not included include :

Also not included are the Local Post Issues of the Treaty Ports (Shanghai etc) which are covered quite well in the Scott Specialized 1840-1940 catalog, and the issues released by the Communists as they took over different regions of China during the civil war of 1945-1949, which considering they are seen as forerunners of the PRC starting in 1949, makes sense not to be included here. Coverage ends in 1949 - the post-flight issues of the ROC on Taiwan after 1949 are not included.'s definitely an exhaustive specialized catalog of almost 500 pages covering the Late Qing, Republic, Regionals, Wartime Surcharges of the Republic, The inflation surcharges of the 1945-1949 Civil War era Republic (gold and silver yuan), Back of Books (including specialized items like Postal Savings, see below), Japanese regional occupations and Manchukuo.

Since pictures speak a thousand words, the rest of this post will be eye candy samples of pages 

The China Stamps Society sells the catalog to members for US$59.99, with non-members paying a US$10 surcharge.  Either way, it is worth every penny especially if you happen to have an old collection and start looking for varieties, that could pay for the cost of the catalog with just one or two lucky finds lurking in an old Big Blue.


  1. It is indeed a great catalog, but it depresses me somewhat. ;-) It is quite apparent that China would make a wonderful full time study project, as there are many complicated stamp issues. In fact, I joined the China Stamp Society with the intent to learn more. But, alas, I have all the other WW countries that need at least some attention also. Hence the state of disquietude. ;-)

    1. Yes I am the same way. Start working on a country then see something on one of the forums and go "oh shiny, that would be fun to collect" and next thing I know its off on another tangent. But it's a "good" disquietude to have in that it means you'll never say "I don't have anything to work on, purchase, study etc". WW collectors really never can say that :)

  2. I've been drooling over this catalog as well, but as my Chinese collection (especially for the era) is almost non-existing, I have made a decision not to purchase it before I get a bulkload of used issues somewhere. But hopefully some day...

    1. hi Keijo! My line of thinking is that even if I am not currently actively collecting an area, like China, it still is a good idea to get the specialized catalogs when they become available so that when I do decide to delve into the new area, I have it available to me. Given that the catalog has not been updated for several years until now, and that its being privately produced so likely has a limited press run, I'd rather have it now while it available rather than wait and then not be able to acquire it when I do start to dig into Chinese philately because the title has gone "out of print". But again its a question of what to spend money on, and personally I'd rather work on getting my reference library set up then work on the stamps than get a ton of Chinese stamps (or German, or Argentine or whatever) and then have to wade through them all at once after buying the specialized catalog after the fact. But that just me :)

  3. Wow, what an amazing catalogue. Thanks for sharing a taste of the insides. :)

    I'm a lot like Jim and Keijo here; too many other countries to work with and besides, my current Chinese holdings is around a dozen stamps! With a catalogue like this my collection would be one stock page with 1100 words in written notes. Lol.

    But I see your point Gene: get the catalogue when you can, then when that perfect lot of 10,000 'common' stamps crosses your path, you're set.

    (My trip down the rabbit hole will be 1980's Canadian definitives. My mom saved me a box of the 14c parliament issues at the time. If I ever get Robin Harris's specialized checklists I'm set for at least one winter!)

    Love the 2.0 blog, which I just discovered and added to my rss reader. No wonder I wasn't getting updates! :)


    1. Yes I had to relaunch the blog. Glad people are rediscovering it :)

  4. Gene,

    Thanks for posting about the Chinese catalogue. I too have only about a little over a dozen China stamps in my collection, but recently purchased a few more. I thought it might be fun to delve "a little more" into this area and this catalogue would be very useful.

    BTW, I just found your "2.0 blog" glad I did, I thought you had disappeared!


    1. It's a great catalog, definitely worth the investment if you have any interest in pre-PRC Chinese philately.

      Yes I had to relaunch the blog. Glad people are rediscovering it :)