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Postage Stamps

Manchukuo Year 6 康德 Kāngd

The Completion of 10,000km of Railways

21st October 1939. This is an commemorative issue celebrating the completion of 10,000 km of railway track by the South Manchurian Railway. This company was the vehicle that Japan used to project power into Manchukuo and Northern China. In addition to the railways the company also ran hotels, hospitals, mines, steelworks, manufacturing plants and a host of other ventures within the country.

The Mukden Branch of the S.M.R. the main office in Manchukuo. (The head office was in Dairen).

This was the first set of stamps issued in Manchukuo to feature slogans written in characters at the top of each sheet (see below) reminding customers to fix the stamps to the top, left hand corner of the envelope and also to write the names of senders and recipients clearly. These slogans were the same for both values.

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.  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, The 2f shows a Map of the Manchukuo Rail Network and the 4f shows "The Asia"  one of two prestigious, streamlined Express Locomotives, (the other was the "Mikado"), both had air conditioning for the comfort of passengers and ran between Dairen and Harbin a distance of 943 Kilometres which they covered in about 12 hours.

There are reports of stamps where the 4f has been tampered with to make the engine black, instead of indigo. This is not an error, but an attempt to fool collectors by changing the colour chemically - these are not common.

 

     

1,500,000

1,500,000

 

 
 

Top Margin with Slogans

 
         

Normal                         Variety
  

 

Normal                       Variety
    

Variety - The "broken "T'u" character" variety (shown above) can be found on the 54th stamp in every sheet of 100 stamps. Mentioned by both Akagi and Schumann. This occurs on the top right hand stamp of the block of 4 above and is the last character shown in the right hand illustration alongside the normal character which appears on the left.

 

Variety - The "broken "Ti" character" variety (shown above) can be found on the 57th stamp in every sheet of 100 stamps. Mentioned by both Akagi and Schumann. This occurs on the bottom right hand stamp of the block of 4 above and is the last character shown in the right hand illustration alongside the normal character which appears on the left.

 

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

These presentation and souvenir booklets were 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.

Souvenir Folder issued by the South Manchuria Railway Company, this included a sample of each stamp. To see the complete folder click here.

 

    

Two postcards issued in 1940 showing the Manchukuo railway system shortly after the completion of 10,000km of track. In the first card the existing pre 1932 railway track is shown in black and the additional post 1932 track in red. The logo shown on the reverse of the postcards is that of the South Manchuria Railway Company Ltd, the initials S.M.R. appear at the bottom of the card. To see the reverse side click here.

Zirkle 46 - Issued 21st October 1939.
This example was issued in 哈爾濱 Harbin.

This cancel shows an emblem designed to celebrate the completion of over 10,000 Km of railway track. If you look closely at the cancel you will see that it features the "Asia" running through a tunnel of zeros as part of the Arabic number 10,000.