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1936 Covers & Postal History

Manchukuo Year 3 康德 Kāngdé


Registered Airmail from Japan to Germany via Hsinking.

Above is a cover posted in Osaka, Japan on 26th June 1936 sent by Registered Airmail to Germany. The reverse of the cover shows a transit postmark added at Hsinking I.J.P.O. dated 1st July 1936 and alongside this an arrival postmark showing that the letter reached its destination in Germany on 15th July 1936. The cover is marked 60g and has lost a stamp which probably had a value of ¥1.

The transit time of 21 days probably implies that little of the route involved the use of aircraft as this is similar to the amount of time you would have expected the cover to travel by normal means. It probably went by air from Osaka to Hsinking and the via the trans-Siberian railway.

Dealer Inter-city Cover from Harbin.

This card, posted by Alexander Nedelsky to himself has two beautiful examples of the cancel Zirkle 23. This cancel advertised the Harbin Air Defence Exercises that were held on 17th, 18th, and 19th of September. The cancels were issued a week in advance of the exercises as a way of publicising the event.

The postage within Harbin at this time would have been 1f, so the extra stamp served no purpose other than to attract an extra cancel. There is a 哈爾濱道裡 Harbin Daoli arrival postmark on the reverse, this is also dated 11th September 1936 indicating that the cover would have been delivered the same day.

Registered Special Delivery from Harbin to Los Angeles.


This cover was probably posted at the Hokuman Hotel in Harbin on 21st August 1936, collected and cancelled by Harbin Post Office on 22nd August, it reached Mukden on 24th August (International transit postmark), Washington on 9th September and Los Angeles on 12th September 1936, a transit time of 22 days.

The Manchukuoan Post Office did not recognise Special Delivery and sent the letter as registered mail, International letter rate 10f + Registration fee of 16f, making a total of 26f - the postage was overpaid by 4f. International express delivery existed in Manchukuo but this would have cost 40f. When it reached the USA a Special Delivery hand-stamp was applied. The other hand-stamps are not entirely readable, if anyone recognises them, please let me know what they say.

The letter may have come from the owners of the Hokuman Hotel, the senders name on the back of the letter reads (Japanese) 北満ホテル North Manchuria Hotels - perhaps Mr LaTourette of Los Angeles had visited as a guest.

Registered Cover from Harbin to San Francisco.

This cover was sent from Harbin on 30th November 1936, this is shown by the local postmark that ties the four 8f, (2nd issue) China Mail stamps to the envelope. An international registration number was applied and the letter reached Mukden on 2nd December shown by the August International transit postmark on the reverse of the envelope, The cover then went by sea to San Francisco arriving on 18th December and cleared customs for delivery on 19th December 1936, a transit time of 21 days. The customs markings show that there was some concern that stamps may attract duty but eventually they passed the item.

The value of the stamps 4 x 8f totals 32f. At this time the letter rate was 10f + 6f for an extra 20g in weight + registration of 16f. This means that the postage is correct for a letter weighing between 20g and 40g.

The sender A. S. Yaroshevtich was a well known (White Russian) stamp dealer in Harbin and his customer R H Mower was also a dealer. R H Mower is known to specialist collectors of US stamps for a double transfer variety known as the "Mower Shift". Mower had previously been trading from 12 Geary Street, San Francisco.


Domestic Scenic Cancel Cover
This cover has been sent from Tao-nan to Harbin, a relatively short distance. According to the scenic date-stamp it entered the postal system on 1st September 1936, (this is the first day of issue date for this cancel). From the 哈爾濱道裡 Harbin Daoli Post Office arrival cancel we see it reached Harbin 12 days later, a very slow transit time. A similar cover sent on the same date from Kirin (see the example below) about the same distance reached Harbin in five days.
The cover carries stamps to the value of 3f, the correct domestic letter rate at this time.
Scenic Cancel Cover to Belgium
This is a cover sent by Mr B. Rio in Kirin to Mr Hansen an engineer and originally addressed to Denmark but re-routed to Belgium. Mr Rio is a known philatelist and at this time was working at Kirin University. The reason for posting on this date was probably the release of the special scenic cancels on 1st September 1936 so in some respects this can be considered a first day cover. Mr Rio clearly made a big attempt to make the cover interesting by adding an additional tourist cachet, a good range of stamps (including a complete booklet pane) and for some reason a label for an exhibition that took place in 1916!
The letter was sent registered from Kirin on 1st September 1936 and went via Harbin on the 5th as is shown by the transit postmark. The postage amounts to 26f which is correct for this time - 10f international letter rate plus 16f for registration. It appears to have reached Belgium on 19th having travelled via Siberia this probably implies that the address was changed prior to the letter being posted as the transit time was only 18 days. The blue label carries the words "Absent" in Dutch and English and the blue pencil gives the date.
Dairen to London Registered Cover
This is a registered cover posted on 20th February 1936 to England. The printed routing instructions have been changed from via Japan/Canada to Via Siberia. This was a wise move and would have reduced the transit time by 10 to 15 days.

The postage is correct, 10s letter rate plus 16s for registration. The blue pencil shows the the cover reached England safely.


International Printed Matter Cover

This cover comes from the Department of Foreign Affairs in Hsinking and so was government mail, it is not marked as printed matter but I assume it was treated as such, 2f was the correct Printed matter rate for this time. Hatchery is not a town in Oregon so I assume the correspondence was chicken related. The date of posting is 5th December 1936 and there is no arrival date shown.

Ming Lang Philatelic Society - International Printed Matter Covers

Above are a pair of covers sent by Dr. Y. C. Sung, a well known Chinese stamp dealer trading as The Ming Lang Philatelic Society of Hai-cheng, Manchukuo. The covers were posted in March and June of 1936, marked as "Printed Matter" and charged at 2f. What makes these covers interesting is the recipient.

Mr Albert C. Roessler (1883 - 1952) was one of the founder members of the Denver Stamp Club, later, trading from 10½ Clay Street, Newark, N.J. and finally 140 South Parkway, East Orange, N.J. He became famous for his cacheted and illustrated covers. If you enter "A. C. Roessler" into eBay you will see pages of examples of his very collectable work. He also produced A. C. Roessler's Standard Historical Souvenir, Airmail Catalog and published Air Mail Stamp News from 1918 until 1938. He retired in 1940.

It is known that A. C. Roessler had agents in many countries and it is likely that Dr. Sung acted as his associate in Manchukuo.

International Commercial Samples Wrapper

This label and stamps is is part of a wrapper sent from the Trade Mark Bureau in Hsinking to to the Continental & Commercial Library in Port Wayne, Indiana, USA. The parcel from which the wrapper was taken was posted on 31st July 1936 and carries a stamp value of 12 fen.

The assumption is that this parcel contained commercial samples with examples of Trade Marks for view in the library. At this time commercial samples cost 8f for the first 100g plus 4f for each additional 50g. So this parcel would have weighed in at somewhere between 100g and 150g to qualify for this postage.

Incoming Mail Denmark to Port Arthur

This is a postcard (advertising a directory), posted from Denmark on the 1st April 1936 to a potential customer at the Danish Legation in Port Arthur. The card has an arrival postmark showing that it reached Dairen on 24th April 1936, a transit time of 24 days. However, on arrival at Port Arthur it transpired that Hr Eilschuo-Holm had moved on and the card had to be returned. INCONNU means an unknown person.

AR Forms


This is the form and receipt slip from an item of AR post sent from Harbin to 河南 Henan in China.


Parcel Delivery Record

This is a bi-lingual Parcel Delivery Record Form, printed on very flimsy, almost transparent paper. It shows that a parcel was delivered to a person named Kashino Nobumitsu at Katō Butai (Butai is Japanese for Unit with Katō being the surname of the Unit Commander) in Heiho. The Heiho postmark dates this to 5th October 1936, although the postmark on the 10f stamps is a day later.

The parcel number was 28, sent from ? Kang, the weight is not recorded. The next line has boxes for the Insured value. The value of the items received and the customs fee, 10 chiao.


Hsinking to Austria I.N.P.O. Postcard
This is a postcard sent on 13th June 1936 to Austria. Posted from the Imperial Nipponese Post Office in Hsinking it carries the correct postage of 6s, the rate would have been 6f from a Manchukuoan Post Office.
Japanese Imprinted Postcard
Dated towards the end of 1936 as shown by the Japanese year date 11. This Japanese 1½ sen, imprinted postcard was sent from Hsinking to Japan. The square design in this cancel indicates a New Years Greeting.

The practice of using Japanese Imprinted Postcards and Japanese Stamps ceased in 1937. This was due to Japan’s relinquishment of Japanese civilian extraterritorial rights over Manchukuo, which meant all Japanese Post Offices in Manchukuo (excluding the KLT) were abolished.