This interesting stamp bearing part “S1” type 2 of Shanghai in black came up in an auction recently and was spotted by an astute HKPS member (CC) accordingly.

The 30c orange-vermilion was withdrawn on the 14 August 1871 and replaced by the 30c mauve, this was mentioned in the Hong Kong Government Gazette of that date. A study of the “S1” killer was conducted by the Hong Kong Study Circle in 1986 and the results were published in HKSC Journal 262, 1987. The total number of black “S1” recorded by them on the 30c orange-vermilion/vermilion was eight among a sample of 1399 stamps. Among the eight examples, two belong to type 1, one type 2, one type 3 and four unclear. The reason for the relative scarcity is understandable since according to our member Frank Drake’s article1 on “S1”, the killer was struck in black during the period between late August 1869 to January 1870 when inexplicably, Shanghai P.O. suddenly switched to black ink instead of blue.

The subject stamp is likely to be used during this short period of five months or so, but one can also say that it could be used after “S1” returned to black inking in mid 1877 onwards. However, late usage is virtually unrecorded as it appears that this value was demonetised at or soon after 14 August 1871. Furthermore, the type 2 “S1” appears too crisp compared to examples on covers after 1877.

Has anyone got other examples of this value with black “S1” type 1, 2 and 3 and more importantly, on covers bearing this value cancelled in black?

1. Hong Kong Philatelic Society Journal 4, 2000 p.21

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