China Stamp Society specialized catalog of China to 1949
By H. James Maxwell and Ralph Weil. In English, 506 pages plus xviii introductory, with color illustrations, spiral bound, 23 cm format. Published by China Stamp Society, Kansas City, MO, 2021. ISBN: 978-0-615-55033-6. Price $79.95 (non-members) or $63.95 (members) plus shipping, available from chinastampsociety.org.
Reviewer: Archie McKee
APRL Locator: [G7820 .A1 C539c 2021]
China is huge, the size of the U.S. Five Chinese provinces have a population that would put them in the top 20 countries of the world. China is complex. China is fascinating.
If interested in China and its philatelic program, one must decide where one wants to go, and how far. There are several different major areas of Chinese philately: Imperial China, Republic of China (ROC), People’s Republic of China (PRC), and today’s ROC (Taiwan).
No single stamp catalog will cover all areas in detail. Start with the Scott Standard Postage Stamp Catalogue, Vol 2. This is an excellent general catalog that covers all the above areas, and a few more Liberation Area (773 +), Treaty Ports (another 300+), Japanese Occupation (768+), Provincial Issues (maybe 554+), and Hong Kong and Macao. Of course, Scott is a general catalog, so many varieties are not listed.
If you have picked an area, next you need to select a catalog that lists varieties. That list too can get quite lengthy. One of the specialist catalogs is the one published by The China Stamp Society, available on their website (www.chinastampsociety.org) that covers in detail the Imperial (146 issues), and Republican periods (another 850 issues) up to 1949. Much additional information about Japanese Occupation issues, Provincial issues, and Regional issues is available. Many color photos, keys to deciphering Chinese markings, help in identifying varieties, and a pricing key is provided. For this area, that is “the best catalog” in my opinion. The number of stamps listed therein exceeds 15,000.
But the best idea is to start. Don’t let the magnitude scare you off. After all, most of us started with the U.S., and when you break that down as I have, you also can get rapidly overwhelmed.