1896 Red Revenue stamp without surcharge, 3c red, perforated 14, never hinged, few gum skips, post office fresh, v.f. and beautiful copy, with 2007 Experts and Consultants Ltd certificate. Originally ordered for internal use by the Customs Department, the 3c stamp inscribed "China" and "Revenue" was ordered from the London printing company Waterlow & Sons, following a request from Sir Robert Hart, the Inspector General of the Imperial Maritime Customs to James Campbell, the Customs Commissioner in London. The stamps were perforated 12 to 16 on three different machines and were shipped to China on 18th September, 1896. Although the stamps never served their intended purpose, they were pressed into use for surcharging in order to fulfill demand for stamps in the silver currency adapted by the newly inaugurated national postal system. Practically all of the 650,000 stamps ordered from London were used for this purpose, although there remained 761 stamps without surcharge stored at the General Post Office. During the Cultural Revolution, this entire stock (except for ten stamps which were given to the Chinese Postal Museum), was destroyed. This was recounted to Dr.Chang Min-Sheng by Mr. Wu Feng Gang, former director of the Postal Museum. Historically, other examples had survived, through various sources including contemporary Customs officials According to the "China Stamp Society Specialized Catalog of China" (2012 edition) the bright red color with clean original gum is associated with the examples saved by Custom officials, or in London. "The price for these has been as high as $158,000. A few years ago, some were found in China. They are distinguishable by their dull color and dried brownish gum. They sell for much less."
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