Ai Li-shen


More than 30 years ago, I acquired an interesting unit stamp cover used in Taiwan. The basic stamp is the ship and locomotive issue that was printed in Hong Kong by the Ah Chow Lithographic Printing office.  The perforated issue was printed elsewhere.


The Directorate General of Posts reference book lists the date of issue as July 1949.   However, by this time there were very few areas that the Nationalist Government still controlled.  This stamp was to be used for domestic postage paid for up to 20 grams


Due to an urgent demand for stamps in Taiwan, the same printing company overprinted the stamp to restrict usage to Taiwan Province.  Please note that the Kinmen (Quemoy) islands were still under the control of Fukien Province.  Hence they would not have been valid for use. See figure 1 for a used copy postmarked Yungtsing (Changhwa Hsien), dated September 8, 1950.   It is interesting that the stamp was not invalidated until December 16, 1961.  The unoverprinted stamp was not issued in Taiwan, hence never invalidated from use.



                                           Figure 1                                        Figure 2



Figure 2 is the unoverprinted  unit stamp found on cover (figure 3).  It is cancelled May 2, 1954, mailed from Chutung (Hsinchu Hsien) and arrived in Taipei on May 3.  See figure 4 for the arrival cancel on the reverse.



                                                                 Figure 4


The first thought that comes to mind on such a cover - was it mailed from or to a known stamp collector.  In this case it was mailed from a well known Dye and Textile company.  In such a case, one would certainly consider it possible that he had bought the stamp at the local post office.  There are two possibilities:  1. A sheet of the unoverprinted stamps were sent to a post office along with the normal overprinted.    2.  By error perhaps, a few sheets were issued from stock.  (a large quantity of the unoverprinted stamps were on hand, later surcharged 20c).  Both are of course conjectures, perhaps we will never know!




                                                                     Figure 3