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Postage Stamps

Manchukuo Year 5 康德 Kāngd

The Founding of the Red Cross Society in Manchukuo

15th October 1938. This is an commemorative issue celebrating the founding of the Red Cross Society in Manchukuo.

When Manchukuo was formed in 1932 medical services were provided by the Japanese Red Cross Society. From that time onward the Japanese worked to make it possible for Manchukuo to establish its own state service and the Manchukuo Red Cross Society was formed on 1st October 1938. At an inaugural ceremony on 15th October 1938 the Japanese Red Cross Society passed all of its hospitals and equipment to the new Manchukuo Red Cross Society who then continued to operate the service. 

This issue is interesting for three reasons, it is the first commemorative issue to be printed that is the same size as regular issue stamps, and unlike most commemoratives, the post office ordered that these stamps should be sold in place of regular issue stamps until all stocks were exhausted. These stamps were also the first commemorative issue that could be pre-ordered, a new service offered by the Manchukuo Post Office to private citizens to ensure that anyone could order in advance and collect new issues from their local branch.

This set of stamps is said to have been made in a hurry and several varieties have been reported as a result of poor workmanship by the printers, this includes a reversed watermark which must have occurred because the paper was printed on the wrong side! Roy Akagi wrote about these varieties in his book The Postage Stamps of Manchoukuo and his original notes on this issue can be seen here.

 The stamps were lithograph printed on watermarked (see below) "granite" paper in sheets of 100 by the Manchukuo Government Supplies Division, Hsinking. Designs by Mr Takeo Yamashita. A presentation booklet exists for this issue (see below).  Any "specimen" stamps or sheets you may see for this issue are fakes.

The stamps are 18mm x 22mm. Perf 13.  

Two Values 2f and 4f both feature a globe, map of Manchukuo and a red cross.







There were no imprints or slogans on sheets of this issue, just the printers registration marks shown above.



Cover and Contents of Special Presentation Booklet (Type A - see below).

This was the first in a series of presentation and souvenir booklets in this format. They are made from a single sheet of folded card which, when opened, shows the stamps on the left and a description on the right. An article published in Japanese Philately "Manchukuo" Souvenir Folders by Robert H. Spalding Jn. (Vol 8, No 6 Page 122) explains that there were two versions of some folders. Type A. with the characters 敬贈 (jngzng) on the cover, meaning presentation or with compliments, these were used as official gifts and Type B, produced without these characters. The above is only available in Type A.

The Type B folders were supplied as free gifts to customers ordering supplies of stamps by mail from the Hsinking Central Postal Services Bureau, (later known as the Manchukuo Communications Association). All of the sample commemorative cancellations reproduced in these folders show the Hsinking town name. Type B folders had the name of the issue on the front cover but not the characters 敬贈.

The article goes on to add that Type B folders could also be used for presentation with the addition of a slip of paper printed with 敬贈, effectively a compliments slip. On the basis of the folders in this collection it seems that Type A is the most common.

Zirkle 42 - Issued 15th October 1938.
This example was issued in 新京 Hsinking.

This cancel celebrates Founding of the Red Cross Society in Manchukuo. At the base of this card you will see two characters separated by a sprig of laurel, this is the name of the post office, if the name of the post office needed more than two characters the laurel sprig is missing.



  1938 Fourth Special Presentation Album  
  It is though that this booklet was issued towards the end of 1938. To find out more and view the contents click here.