Large Dragon

Imperial China
 Stamps

Stamps of the Chinese Empire
1878-1912

small dragon

An on-line Catalog of postage stamps with values, issued by the Chinese Empire from the early large dragons of 1878 and the small dragons, up to the start of the Republic in 1912. Values are compiled from various dealers price lists and recent sales results and kept up to date by the Siam Rare Stamp Specialist Frankly Stamps. Values are given as a guide only and no reliance on them should be made for buying or selling stamps, as condition is a most important factor.

See Country Catalogs

Rama V Solot
Siam/Thailand
China Empire
Imperial China

China Treaty Ports

Chinese Empire Catalog Contents

Large & Small Dragons
1878-1888
Empress Dowager
1894-1897
Unissued Revenues
1897
Imperial Chinese Post
1897
Chinese Imperial Post
1898
Hsuan T'ung
Commemoratives

The First Issue, 'Large Dragons'

In 1878 a postal service was established between the various Treaty Ports by the Customs and a set of 3 stamps was printed for the collection of mail taxes. The first issue was composed of 3 values, 1, 3 and 5 candareens.

The First Printing of December 1878 was on thin hard paper in sheets of 25 stamps. Size of the stamp was 24.5mm. The stamp exists both perforated and imperforated. The imperforated stamps are believed to be proofs.
 

The First Issue 'Large Dragon', first printing - 1878
Denomination Description Used Fine Used EF Mint VF Mint EF
1 Cand Green $150 $325 $300 $400
3 Cand Brown Red $180 $350 $450 $750
5 cand Yellow Ochre $200 $350 $450 $800


The Second Printing
of June 1882: the 1 and 3 candareens are on thin hard paper and the 5 candareen is on pelure paper. The size of each stamp was 26.5mm, broad margins with 4.5mm spaces between stamps The 1 candeen and 3 candeens do exist on thicker paper. The 5 candeens in Mint condition of this printing are very rare.

The First Issue 'Large Dragon', second printing - 1882

Denomination Description Used Fine Used EF Mint VF Mint EF
1 Cand Green $220 $360 $450 $510
3 Cand Brown Red $250 $350 $700 $800
5 cand Yellow Ochre $1250 $1600 $11,000 $12,000

The Third Printing of march 1883 are printed on much thicker paper and the perforations are rough, seldom clean cut. All the values are known to exist in vertical imperforated pairs. A known variation of the 3 candeens is the 'Semi-circle' consisting of a semi-circular line at the right of the left lower corner numeral '3'.

The First Issue 'Large Dragon', third printing - 1883
Denomination Description Used Fine Used EF Mint VF Mint EF
1 Cand Green $220 $360 $450 $550
3 Cand Brown Red $1240 $1430 $425 $650
5 cand Yellow Ochre $1750 $2000 $700 $850

The Second Issue, 'Small Dragons'

This issue comprised of 3 denominations, 1,3 and 5 candareens, designed and printed by the Statistical Department of the Customs in sheets of 40 divided into 2 panes of 20 stamps each having 5 rows of 4 stamps. The stamps were printed on white paque paper watermarked 'Ying Yang', Two printings were made the denominations, design and paper are the same. The only difference consisting only in the colors and perforations.

The First Printing of November 1885, the 1 candareen exists in different shades, green, bright green and deep green: the 3 candareen in mauve and pale mauve, and the 5 candareen in olive yellow and bistre. The perforations are 12.5 rough. Some clean cut perorations exist but are very scarce.

The Second issue, 'Small Dragon', first printing -1885

Denomination Description Used Fine Used EF Mint VF Mint EF
1 cand Green $90 $100 $200 $250
1 cand Bright green $90 $100 $200 $250
3 cand Mauve $120 $140 $300 $450
3 cand Pale mauve $120 $140 $350 $450
5 cand Olive yellow $120 $140 $350 $450
5 cand Bistre $275 $350 $650 $725


The second printing
of December 1888 has only one difference in that the 5 candareen stamp does not exist in bistre but only in olive green. The perforations are clean cut  11.75.

The Second issue, 'Small Dragon', second printing -1888

Denomination Description Used Fine Used EF Mint VF Mint EF
1 cand Green $50 $65 $75 $100
1 cand Bright green $50 $65 $75 $100
1 cand Deep green $50 $65 $65 $150
3 cand Mauve $65 $100 $75 $150
3 cand Pale mauve $65 $100 $75 $150
5 cand Olive yellow $120 $180 $250 $400

 

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