THE 5, 10 AND 15 CENSORS CHOPS
Like many countries, Taiwan inspects the mail looking for postal violations such as declaring “Printed Matter”, when in fact correspondence is enclosed. During the early 1950s there was a concern of currency being mailed, primarily to Hong Kong and Macao. (probably for subsequent transmittal to China). Most of the censor marks are related to cancels and very small chops applied within the cancels that generally go unnoticed. The numeral chop shown in fig. 1 is certainly in plain sight. Figure 2 is an enlargement of the marking. This cover is commercial mail from the Bank of Taiwan to the U.S., used March 11, 1955.
Since this early cover, the next time that I am aware of the usage was during the 1959-61 period.
This involved the number 5 and 10. Also seen was number 15 (I no longer have the example). In addition, I have been told there is a number 20 known. This I could not verify.
The numbers on the outside does not imply opening of any envelopes. However, several years ago I did see an envelope (around 1960), that had part of the number hidden UNDER the sealing flap of a cover. This would certainly imply that at least that cover had been opened and resealed.
Figures 3 and 4 are covers mailed during the 1959-60 period. All is commercial mail to the United States.
These chops are only known on outgoing mail and even though none have been seen for the period of 1956-58, they were probably used as well as perhaps after the 1961 period. The exact purpose of the mail inspection will probably never be known.
Figure 1 front and back