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Chinese Local Posts: Foochow, ca. 1863, red pre-adhesive "Foo=Chow=Foo China" seal, on complete cover to Hong Kong, a stunning example of this incredible rarity; endorsed "per steamer 'Carthage'" and addressed to an Indian merchant in Hong Kong, the cover bears at upper right a magnificent, full, and fully legible strike of the 23mm red negative "Foo=Chow=Foo China" seal discussed in Webb (p. 267); two red crayon "4" ratings on front; no backstamps, but an offset imprint (in reverse!) of the seal on back across flap; addressed to one "Tarachundas Ianarandas Esq.", whom we assume was involved in the tea trade, Very Fine and rare. Estimate HK$ 300,000 - 400,000 Webb notes the tea trade was most likely responsible for Foochow being one of the few Treaty Ports to have a pre-adhesive handstamp. The four examples recorded by Webb date from 1862-63: one among the David correspondence to Glasgow, one on a market circular to New York, and two to Bombay, another major tea center. This cover's links to Bombay seem obvious, as the interior of the backflap carries a four-line note in an Indian script.
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