Aerogramme Rarities

Last Modified: March 05, 2007

It is estimated that there are over 10,000 different aerogrammes that have been printed since their inception in the early 1920's. Many are common, some are not. A few are true philatelic rarities in that the numbers recorded are fewer than 100 (the number of inverted US Jenny airmail stamps) or even 10.

Our goal is to show you some of these rarities. More will be added over time and their descriptions will be expanded.

If there is an aerogramme rarity that you would like to see here, please E-mail your request to us and we'll make every effort to satisfy you.

The descriptions and illustrations of the aerogrammes will be placed on this page at the beginning. As more aerogrammes are added, we'll limit this page to only the links to the aerogrammes descriptions with illustrations.

NOTE: The images on this page are of reduced resolution. Higher resolution images can be obtained by clicking on the images shown on this page. Depending on your browser, you may have to adjust the image for maximum resolution.

China #4

soldering electros

China Number 4

When the Nationalist Government moved to Taiwan, stocks of the first and handstamped aerogrammes were brought with them. Upon exhaustion of these stocks, a third issue was printed (quantity 10,100) by the Hoping Printing Factory of Taipei using new plates and released on 31.May.1951. This issue is relatively common.

A fourth issue was printed by the Hoping Printing Factory at the same time as the third issue. Comparison of these two issues shows that they were printed from the same plate with only the line “Restricted for use in Taiwan” being removed. Thus, there is only one line of text below the stamp rather than two.

Han’s 1984 Illustrated Catalogue of Imperial and ROC Postal Stationery states:
“These domestic air letter sheets were printed together with #63 for use at post offices in Chekiang and Fukien postal districts, then still under jurisdiction of the ROC. Therefore, the words meaning “Restricted for Use in Taiwan” were not printed on the stamp. On May 19, 1953, the remnants of these air letter sheets, still in stock, were put on sale in Taiwan, and immediately became rarities.”

Only 9 copies of this issue have been reported. The copy that Han illustrates was from the collection of Mr. Shen Chieh-sheng. Han also refers to a 2nd copy sold at a George Alevizos auction of 1980 (for $725). A copy was sold in the Michael Rogers auction held at SESCAL 2000. A fourth had been purchased in Taiwan in the early 1970’s and was sold in 2001. All four of these are mint. The existence of three other mint copies has been confirmed, making a total of seven mint copies.

To date, only a single used copy has been reported. This is a philatelic use postmarked Taipei on May 19, 1953, the day the remainders were put on sale. It is unlikely that this was the only copy mailed, so others must be lurking out there somewhere!!

A “SPECIMEN” copy was used in the illustration of this issue in the Kessler Catalogue of Aerograms, Volume I. This can be readily seen by careful comparison of the "specks" and other imperfections on the image to the right with that in the Kessler catalog. To date, this is the only copy of the "SPECIMEN" aerogramme reported outside of the archives in Taiwan.

These extremely small quantities clearly make this one of the major rarities of China Postal Stationery.

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