अनुवाद Übersetzen sie Microsoft has terminated this free translation service.
This may help: wikihow.com
Traduisez ترجم
перевести Traduca Traduzca 翻译

Telegraph stamps of the World

Click here for a site-map.
Select currency. Default = GBP (1.0)
GB £   US $   Can $   Aus $
Euro   Other DELETE
Up a level Not my site, but
a good reference:
Post Office Telegraphs Ceylon Telegraphs HongKong Telegraphs India Telegraphs Jamaica Telegraphs Orange Free State Telegraphs Orange Free State Telegraphs Australia
GB Ceylon Hong Kong India Jamaica Natal OFS Australia and states
Up a level by Dave Elsmore.
Matabeleland Telegraphs Sarawack Telegraphs Sudan Telegraphs Transvaal Telegraphs Uganda Railway NSW Telegraphs Western Australia Telegraphs Western Australia Telegraphs
Other Africa Sarawak Sudan Transvaal Uganda New South Wales Western Australia Other Australia


  I have brought these prices up to date and added currency selection.  
  New designations have 'RH' numbers (Revised Hiscocks) to avoid confusion.  
CheckList         Setup


Hong Kong 1874?

Steve Hiscocks wrote:
The above company is in fact Danish but the stamps listed below were intended for use on lines linking Hong Kong, Shanghai (China) and Nagasaki (Japan).
According to one source a link with Europe was also intended. The stamps appear not to have been used although the company has in its archives
an unused account book entitled "Accounts of Telegraph Stamps at the Great Northern Telegraph Station at Amoy" which would suggest that all
preparations had been made. The book is arranged to keep account of the four values listed below. The assignment of these stamps to Hong Kong
is traditional and corresponds to the currency used on the stamps but is somewhat arbitrary.

The stamps were printed from copper plates, probably by Waterlow and Sons (UK) and depict Professor H. C. Ørsted — the Danish pioneer of
electromagnetism. The four values have been observed in various states and shades listed below. Their date is usually quoted as 1877 but they were
clearly earlier since a letter of March 1875 in the company archives refers to them as already printed. A date of 1874(?) has been assumed pending
further information. Curiously, forged copies of these stamps are known.

One can deduce a possible total printing from the control letters. Those known are 25c-'L', $1-'A', #3-'F' and $10-'C'. 'B' has also been reported
but for which value is unstated. Each series was reported to be numbered from 0001 to 2,500. This gives us a minimum printing of 12,500 for all
values, or, if we assume that all letters were used up to 'L', 30,000. The stamps should, in that case be much more common than they appear to be.
The stamps are known imperforate (without controls) both with and without small punched holes in groups of seven.

My notes:
Amoy is the old Hokkien name for what is now Xiamen (厦门) on the southeast coast of China opposite Taiwan.
Hong Kong was connected to Singapore via Saigon by submarine cable in 1871. They were part of the Eastern Extension network.

It would be interesting to know how to recognize these forgeries, anyone know? Anyone have images?

I have added three more control letters to the list (see below). Still no letter 'B' though.


Great Northern Telegraph Company.

This was a Danish company, founded June 1869, using lines linking Hong Kong, Xiamen(Amoy), Shanghai(China), Nagasaki(Japan) and
Busan (Korea then under Japanese control).
They also won a contract with the Russians to connect to Vladivostok. A link with Europe may also have been planned.

More information and an image of a sheet of $1 stamps and 1880 forms, can be seen at GreatNorthern.
An apparently unbiased account of telegraphic development in China can be found (in Chinese) below http://forum.home.news.cn (comment 32 onwards).
This gives Tongzhi dates that start when the Tongzhi Emperor began his reign in 1861.
The Chinese Government now retrospectively considers this to have been an act of aggression (see sogou.com)

In 1961, by agreement of all parties, the assets of The Great Northern Telegraph Company in Shanghai were transferred to the
Shanghai Post and Telecommunications Authority for 100,000 yuan. The assets included buildings, communications equipment and archives.


The stamps depict the Danish professor Hans Christian Oersted (pioneer of electromagnetism).
Printed by Waterlow & Sons on white wove paper. The head is embossed. No watermark, perf. 11½.
Printed in sheets of 25 (5 x 5).

HK H3a HK H3a HK H4a HK H4b
H2 H3a H4a H4b
Courtesy of John-Tofte Joergensen. Courtesy of Grosvenor Auctions.


RH # Hisc. Description Mint Used
RH1 H1 25c grey (Series C, F or L controls) 100.00 -
RH1a H1a         imperf. (without controls) 75.00 -
RH1b H1b         as No. 1(a) but punched*   75.00 -
RH1c -         imperf. (with control - Series F) - -
RH2 H2 $1 orange-yellow (Series A, C or F control)   100.00 -
RH2a H2a         imperf. (without controls)   75.00 -
RH2b H2b         as No. 2(a) but punched*   75.00 -
RH2c H2c         orange 100.00 -
RH2d H2d         yellowish brown 100.00 -
RH2e H2e         brown 125.00 -
RH3 H3 $3 green (two shades, Series C or F control) 100.00 -
RH3a H3a         imperf. 75.00 -
RH3b H3b         as No. 3(a) but punched*   75.00 -
RH4 H4 $10 rose-lilac (three shades, Series C or F control) 100.00 -
RH4a H4a         imperf. 75.00 -
RH4b H4b         as No. 4(a) but punched* 75.00 -

* small punched holes in groups of seven.
HK 25c shadeHK $10 shades
These three were photographed togeter. Hiscocks mentions 3 shades of $10, here are 2. He lists only grey for the 25c, but this looks brownish.
The 25c actually says Quarter Dollar. These are from eBay lot 303091979138 of 11 March 2019. If you have these, please get in contact.


HK Sheets
An imperforate sheet of the 25c Series F and a perforated $10 Series F, courtesy of Spink and Son.

HK Sheets
A sheet of the $1 Series C, as seen at GreatNorthern, courtesy of John-Tofte Joergensen.


HK Sheets HK Sheets
A sheet of 25c Series C, (H1) courtesy of Ray Petersen - Click image for larger version. A sheet of $1 Series C, (H2) courtesy of Ray Petersen - Click image for larger version.

HK Sheets HK Sheets
A sheet of $3 Series C, (H3) courtesy of Ray Petersen - Click image for larger version. A sheet of $10 Series C, (H4) courtesy of Ray Petersen - Click image for larger version.


The Argyll Elkin sale of March 2021 sale had a couple of lots containing these items, Lot 1101 and Lot 1102.
The examples illustrated comprised the following:
HK block 4 x $3 Series F   HK block 4 x $10 Imperf
Blocks of four of $3, H3 Series F and imperf. $10 H4a, courtesy of Argyll Elkin.

HK 4 x imperforates
Marginal imperf. singles, 25c series F (H1c), #1 (H2a), $3 (H3a) and $10 (H4a), courtesy of Argyll Elkin.

HK 4 x perforated Series F
Marginal singles, Series F of 25c (H1), $1 (H2), $3 (H3) and $10 (H4), courtesy of Argyll Elkin.



Steve Hiscocks gave a list of known control letters for these as:
25c - 'L'
$1 - 'A'
$3 - 'F'
$10 - 'C'
As can be seen from above, there are a number of new additions to the list.
Combining all these gives:

25c'C','F', 'L'.
$1'A', 'C', 'F'.
$3'C', 'F'.
$10'C', 'F'.

Hiscocks added the following note:

Note 1. The stated colours are from my own observation except for Nos. 2(d) and (e) and the unspecified  
                shades of Nos. 3 and 4 which are quoted from a letter from the company to the Danish
                Post and Telegraph Museum.
Assuming that the chosen letters are not entirely arbitrary,
It is hard to resist theorizing on the pattern. This is just a guess.
The cables laid in 1870 provides a clue.
A - Hong Kong
B - Amoy
C - Shanghai
D - Tsingtau
E - Tschifu
F - Nagasaki
G - Fusan
H - Taku
I - Lüshun
J - Shenyang
K - Harbin
L - Vladivostok
I have assumed they were basically listed by distance.
It is possible that some letters were simply reserved with none being produced.
Letter B is reported. If I had to bet on the next letter it would be G, I or K.


Map of the area as of about 1902
  GreatNorthern also gives some useful information
on the laying of the submarine cables.

Vladivostok[1] - Nagasaki[2] 772 nm
Nagasaki[2] - Shanghai[3a] 491 nm
Shanghai[3a] - Hong Kong[4] 950 nm.

Vladivostok[1] - Nagasaki[2]
Nagasaki[2] - Shanghai[3a]
Shanghai[3a] - Amoy[5]
Amoy[5] - Hong Kong[4]

Woosung[3b] - Tschifu[10] 516 nm
Fusan[8] - Tsuschima[9] 72 nm
Tschifu[10] - Taku[7] (1) 220 nm
Tschifu[10] - Taku[7] (2) 220 nm
Tschifu[10] - Wei Hai Wei[6]
Tsingtau[11] - Tschifu[10]

I have marked and numbered the relevant places:
1 Vladivostok (Владивосток).
2 Nagasaki (長崎 / 长崎 ).
3a Gutzlaff Island in the mouth of the Yangtse.
3b Woosung = WuSong = 吴淞 (Now part of Baoshan, Shanghai).
4 Hong Kong (香港 ).
5 Amoy, now Xiamen (厦门).
6 Wei Hai Wei = now Weihai City (威海市).
7 Taku(大沽), Tanggu District near Tianjin.
8 Fusan, later Pusan and now Busan(부산시).
9 Tsuschima (対馬) (On an Island).
10 Tschifu = Chefoo, now Zhifu(芝罘区).
11 Tsingtau - now Qingdao(青岛市).
12 Foochow - now Fuzhou(福州市).

It should be mentioned that Chinese_Eastern_Railway,
Китайско-Восточная железная дорога or КВЖД had from 1897 to 1902,
constructed a railway line from Chita (on the Trans-Siberian line) to Vladivostok.
Importantly, this went through Harbin, with a southerly link to Shenyang,
continuing on to Lüshun, later known as Port Arthur, and now part of Dalian (大连).
Shenyang later connected with Tianjin(7), Pyongyang and Seoul.
The Chinese Eastern Railway was also used for telegraphic purposes.


Great Northern HK Receipt.
Great Northern Receipt for $12.60 used in Hong Kong 16 January 1913. This ha a 5c Stamp Duty stamp to cover a receipt tax.
This was eBay lot 303146429895 (May 2019). If this is yours, please get in contact.

collage of Great Northern Tel Co. items.
The above shows a number of items related to the Great Northern in China. The top is a hand coloured postcard showing their office in Shanghai. It looks like the north end of the Bund, with the river over to the left.
Top-right is a Shanghai Counter Cash Receipt for 1924. At the bottom is the back of an envelope with a Great Northern, Tientsin (was Tianjin, 7) cachet, 16c worth of stamps, and a backstamp for KØBENHAVN.
The Bund is still the heart of the Financial District. Image courtesy of Les Bottomley.

The British Post Office Circular(PDF) of May 13, 1878 says under "Telegrams for Foochow":
'Notice has been received that a special courier service has been established between Amoy and Foochow for the conveyance of telegrams between those places.
The courier will leave Amoy at 2 p.m. every day, and Foochow at the same hour, taking about 45 hours to perform the journey. Telegrams for Foochow to be sent by
courier from Amoy must contain the words "Foochow courier Amoy", in the address, and must be charged 1s 8d. each, in addition to the rate to Amoy.'


Wiki has an overview of Telecommunications in China. Below there is a machine translation of a mainland Chinese article on the subject (from the google output of this URL) :

As early as 1871, the Danish Great Northern Telegraph Company without the laying on Nagasaki ( Japan ) to international submarine telegraph cable between Shanghai Wusong estuary connected to the big Island , and is connected with Shanghai Cable and Wireless British concession , send and receive.
Since then, the United States and British Telecom companies are also entering the Chinese sea lines . In 1873, Great Northern Telegraph Company had at Wusong waterline private overhead land line to Shanghai .
All these acts of aggression aroused great attention of the Qing government , recognizing the seriousness of the foreign telegraph service opened up in our country . In 1877, the city located between Tianjin and Shanghai trial telegraph , and have been built to manufacture Bureau Shanghai Xing Yuan Tianjin Government House telegraph lines and telegraph lines to Machinery Bureau , which is the beginning of running the telegraph business .
May 1879 , China's first military telegraph line in Tianjin Dagu and Beitang also declared to be built. September 1880 , the telegraph line between Tianjin to Shanghai opened with wire erected along the canal , a total length of 1,771 km, was completed in the following year.
In 1884 , the Qing government set up to send and receive official specializing in inner-city electric telegraph , telegraph office to send and receive business people outside the city telegraph , and to create your own first telegraph trunk extends through the suburbs of Beijing Tongzhou introduced in the capital. Since then, Beijing before beginning telegram was also used imported artificial Morse telegraph .
By 1899 , the country had built several telegraph lines , the basic structure of our trunk communications network.
Early 20th century, the country began a busy line widespread use of imported automatic Morse telegraph , in order to improve the speed and quality of their communications . In time, the current situation became more chaotic , telegraph this means of communication development is extremely slow.
Late 1920s teletype machine were introduced to China , from 1927 to 1937 in this decade , the state focused on refurbishing old converted telegraph lines, 5,000 km of new lines frame , a total of 1500 by Cable & Wireless . During the Sino-Japanese War , the telegraph office Mainland also suffered varying degrees of damage until after the war, major cities began to recover and start express telegram , international telex, telegraph night letter business. Before liberation , there are only two lines: domestic trunk line is Huning , international routes to San Francisco to Shanghai photo fax circuits.
After the liberation in 1949 , telegraph communication got some development . Put to use a number of countries the Soviet Union and the German production of telex machines were installed in Beijing , Shenyang, Wuhan and other cities , and have launched authentic fax service . In order to strengthen the links between international , February 7, 1950 , China and the Soviet Union signed the " Agreement on the establishment of telegraph and telephone contact " on January 2, 1959 opening of the Beijing- Moscow international telex circuits. At that time the country attach great importance to carry out telegraph services , especially in border areas of the telegraph building , in April 1951 , the Xinjiang Uighur pilot telegraph service .
The earliest development of telex production came in 1955, when the number of 55 -type telex ; 1959 and produce carrier telegraph. 1964 to come up with double- head automatic transmitter ; following year launched transistor carrier telegraph. Around the telegraph was used tear strip semi-automatic message switching device , consisting of a relatively large domestic telegraph communications network. So far , domestic telegraph gradually become the mainstream of the mainland market .
In early 1967 , the telex communications all use digital protection codes , thereby greatly improving the quality of telegraph communication . In 1969, the postal department developed a more advanced Chinese telegraph decoding machine , the machine by the optical input , hosts , printing machines and other components , its effectiveness lies in the five units can telex code is automatically translated into the perforated paper Chinese characters, it saves the power of translation procedures telegraph employees .
Fax telegram referred to fax. Use the fax can be sent directly to the subscriber ' files, graphics, tables , photos, etc. The reason it was welcomed, mainly in communication speed, simple operation , the other just a fax machine will be able to receive the same as a copy . DC newspaper of its transmission and carrier fax transmission. If the implementation of the telegraph , the device must not be missing in two parts . The first telegraph communications terminal equipment , such as artificial telegraph , teletype , five units of automatic transmission , etc. ; Second telegraph communications transmission equipment , such as communication lines , carrier telegraph , radio transceiver and so on.
Teletypewriter include two categories. First, the mechanical teletype , relying on such a typewriter motor driven mechanical movement to complete a series of receiving or transmitting signals ; other is electronic teletype , its transmission , to close at coordinating action by each part electronic logic circuit control is completed. Common authentic facsimile include fax machines, photo fax machine, fax machine user , fax correspondence , electronic telex , computer automatically forwarded to the machine.
Early seventies, the country opened in Beijing - Washington wireless telegraphy and fax service , newspapers, fax machines use 60 channels offered Beijing - Chengdu Transfer " People's Daily" , three newspapers, fax business ; 1975 , authorities developed a single authentic facsimile , Shijiazhuang, Beijing-Guangzhou trunk on the microwave , Zhengzhou , Wuhan, Changsha , Guangzhou, five cities were authentic facsimile telegraph network ; February 7, 1979 , telecommunications systems open to Taiwan telegraph service .
The early eighties , the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications decided to resume the use of artificial telegraph code symbols, terminology and international public notification electric passphrase. In 1982, some domestic cities offer authentic international fax service , the main targets being Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong and other countries and regions. June 1984 , the Tibet Autonomous Region pilot Tibetan telegraph service , the same year on August 1 , our own design and manufacture of 256 programmable system runs automatically forwarded to the telegraph office in Shanghai . The following year, the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications plant successfully launched 524 characters telex machine has an automatic power- Kanji translation function . The following year in December , the country's first provincial public fast fax communication network built in Jiangsu Province , after the development of 18 provincial capital cities offer authentic fax service . January 6, 1988 , the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications decided since February 1 , 33 cities in the country launched the " etiquette telegram " new business, adapted to the needs of the people at that time .
In the 1990s, the rapid development of China's telecom industry . Telegraph service also has a new pioneering telegraph service opened invitations . November 7, 1990 , Xining public telegraph Automatic Switching System is officially put into operation. In addition to the provincial capital city of Lhasa is automatically forwarded to the public telex network declared completed .
But with cable telephone and mobile telephone and wireless paging business users is growing, diversified telecommunication services development situation . Thus , the traditional telegraph services were greatly affected. Nowadays, people go to the post office telegram has little stead of a large number of the fax machine into the homes of ordinary people . "There is urgent , telegram ," the situation can only become people's memories. Google: "Translation (Enterprise Edition): Translator Toolkit Market Finder Website Translator"


I have added images of an assortment of telegrams and forms used in China on my telegram seals page.
Imperial Chinese seal     Primitive seal for use in China




Comments, criticisms, information or suggestions are always welcome.

Contact:     Emale

Please include the word 'Telegraphs' in the subject.


Last updated 1st. August 2022

©Copyright Steve Panting 2012/13/15/16/17/18/19/20/21/22 except where stated.
Permission is hereby granted to copy material for which the copyright is owned by myself, on condition that any data is not altered and this website is given credit.


Valid XHTML 1.0 Transitional  Valid CSS!