Hong Kong B62 Cancellations

Until the Philippines joined the Universal Postal Union (UPU) on May 1, 1877, the use of Spanish-Philippine stamps was not accepted on mail to foreign countries outside the Spanish empire. Very few overseas covers from the 1850s through 1877 to countries outside the Spanish empire were sent through the Manila Post Office.

To enable correspondence to be sent to non-Spanish empire countries, stock of British Asian stamps from India, Straits Settlements and Hong Kong were maintained by local merchants for use on foreign mail. The British Asian stamps were applied to overseas covers, which were then hand-carried to a departing ship en-route to a British Port, where they entered into the postal system and were accordingly cancelled. The postal rates for the British Asian stamps applied in Manila were calculated from the British port to its final destination.

For letters travelling through the port of Hong Kong, the British Asian stamps were typically cancelled with a black, oval B62 cancel.

Interestingly, a few Spanish-Philippine stamps from the 1870s have been found with the Hong Kong B62 cancel, indicating that these stamps were used on overseas mail instead of the British Asian stamps. This is contrary to the ruling of not allowing covers addressed to non-Spanish empire countries to be sent using Spanish-Philippine stamps until after May 1, 1877. All overseas correspondence from May 1, 1877, regardless of destination, were to be affixed with Spanish-Philippine stamps and cancelled at Philippine Post Offices.

One possible explanation for the presence of the Hong Kong B62 cancels on the 1870s issues is that Philippine merchants may have run short of British Asian stamps and instead used the available Spanish-Philippine stamps on mail bound for non-Spanish empire countries. Almost all known examples do not show any Spanish-Philippine cancellations, (with two exceptions found with Philippine Rhomboid Cancels), indicating that they most likely did not go through a Philippine Post Office, but were instead delivered directly to an awaiting ship. It is assumed that the Hong Kong Post Office accepted these covers and cancelled them with the B62 cancel, providing postal validity for these covers.

The occurrence of the Hong Kong B62 cancel on Spanish-Philippine stamps issued prior to May 1, 1877 is very scarce. The B62 cancel also exists on other King Alfonso XII stamps issued after May 1, 1877, but as to why or how these stamps obtained this cancellation is not clear. No covers are known with this cancel.

List of Known Stamps with B62 Cancel

(Click on Scott # to view picture of stamps)

Stamps Issued Prior to May 1, 1877

Scott #

Value

Date of Issue

Notes

40

10c Green

March 1, 1871

 

49

25c Ultramarine

1874

 

52

2c Rose

August 1875

Note 1

56

12c Lilac

January 1876

Note 1

Note 1: Copies in the Gooding collection shows a partial Rhomboid cancel in addition to the B62 cancel, indicating that the cover was cancelled in the Philippines most probably after May 1, 1877.

Stamps Issued After May 1, 1877

King Alfonso XII Issues

Scott #

Value

Date of Issue

Notes

55

10c Blue

August 1877

 

62

25m Black

April 1878

 

67

100m Yellow Green

1879

 

73

8c on 100m Carmine

September 1879

 

76

2c Carmine

April 19, 1880

 

79

2-4/8c (First Retouch)

November 1883

 

83

8c Yellow-Brown

April 19, 1880

On Piece with #76

P1

1/8c Green

January 1, 1886

 

 Surcharge Era Stamps

Scott #

Value

Date of Issue

98

1r on 5c (Green Surch)

February 22, 1883

101

1c on 2-4/8c Ultramarine

September 11, 1886

106

8c on 2-4/8c Ultramarine

December 3, 1887

 

References:

1)            Spanish Period Corner Hong Kong B62 Cancels on Early 1870s Philippine Stamps. Don Peterson, Philippine Philatelic Journal, Volume XXVIII, Number 3, Third Quarter 2006, Pages 23-24).

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Last Update: 01.11.2014