So, when I read on the stampboards.com 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.
Otherwise...it'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.