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Formosan Republic Black Flag Stamps 3rd Issue (Die III)

Uploader: NIKKOPublication: 2016-08-02
Basic Information Category: Stamps & Postcards Subcategory: Stamps (Cancelled) Year: 1895 CE Century: 19 CE Country of Origin: Taiwan Issuer: Formosan Republic
SpecificationLength: 3.1 cm Width: 3.2 cm
The Formosan Republic Black Flag 3rd Issue stamps are the 3rd series of stamps issued by the ill-fated Formosan Republic (台灣民主國, literally Taiwan Democratic State) in 1895. The Republic only lasted for 184 days, from May 23rd to October 21st, 1895 when the capital city, Tainan, fell into Japanese hands. The 3rd issue also has 3 stamps: a blue 30 mace (錢), a red 50 mace and a blackish purple 100 mace.

The 3rd issue of the stamps was a great improvement over the 1st and 2nd issues. Since the printing die was imported from Canton, the engraving is a lot clear than the previous issues. The face value was printed on top of the finished stamps. There are two types of papers found in the 3rd issues. While both have watermarks of “1101”, the thicker one also has the watermark of the manufacture company name, “Dorling & Co., London.” The perforation, however, was poorly executed and varied from 11.3 to 11.4.

The 3rd issue was not recognized by the philatelists until 1924, when H.R. Oldfield found irregularities among his “2nd issue” stamps. Even C.A. McCallum, the creator of the Formosan stamps, did not mention there were more than 2 issues in his memorandum. Therefore, the “2nd issue” mentioned in the documents before 1930s are actually the 3rd issue nowadays due to the rarity of the 2nd issue. The easiest way to differentiate whether the stamp belongs to 2nd issue or 3rd issue is by looking at the tail of the tiger. The tiger tail of the 2nd issue points to the upper left while the tiger tail of the 3rd issue points upward. Please note that there is a so-called the 4th issue that is almost identical as the 3rd issue but has a green 30 mace instead of the common blue and a brownish 50 mace; it often has signs of excessive wears at the four outer corners of the stamps. The authenticity of the 4th issue is still under debate and should not be mistaken as the 3rd issue.

The cancels on the stamps are marked “Formosan Republic‧Taiwan”.
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