The history of Chinese postage stamps and postal history is complicated due in part to the size of the nation and the complexities of issues for various Provinces together with events such as the Opium wars 1839-42 and 1856-60, the opening of Foreign Offices of the British, French, German, Italians, Japanese, Russians and the U.S. Postal Agency. The Boxer War 1899 – 1901.  The Revolution of 1911. In the hands of local War Lords 1916 – 1928 until defeated by Chiang Kai-shek. Japanese occupation and the Communist conquest with post World War 2 inflation prior to the proclamation of the Chinese Peoples Republic on 1 October 1949. For collectors and students of Military, Censored & Occupation mails China offers fertile hunting grounds with an abundance of Postal History covering many different aspects of Wartime mail, Internal Conflicts, Occupation mails, Small wars, Prisoner of War, Civilian Internees, Airmails Trans Pacific, Trans Atlantic, Trans Africa, Two Ocean Mails, Instructional Marks and much more.

The first issue of stamps was the Municipal Posts of Shanghai in 1865 which are the highly prized large dragon followed by what are termed the Small dragon and then the various Municipal Posts of Amoy, Chefoo, Chinkiang, Chungking, Foochow, Hankow, Ichang, Kewkiang, Nanking, Wei Hai Wei & Wuhu.

For many years, China was not a member of the Universal Postal Union, and while using Arabic numerals for the denominations, did not include the country’s name in Latin letters as required of UPU nations. Western collectors typically differentiate earlier stamps both by the serial numbers in the lower corner, and by the first character of the country name 中, the framed box with a vertical bar being visually distinct from the inscription and not used by any other Asian country.