The United States
was granted concession rights
in Shanghai in 1861. the American
Concession was a sovereign enclave within the city and maintained
its own post office,
police force and army.
The Postal Agency was established
in 1867 and was run by the American
Consul General. American postal rates were much cheaper
than either the British or French postal rates and soon mail
for Europe was also using
the American mail system. The
European mail traveled from China to the west coast of the United States
and thence by rail across the continent and then by steamer to Europe.
The amount of mail being
handled by the Consulate Post Office had increased
to a point in 1907, that a separate
post office was required. This independent
post office was launched
in 1907 with John
Darrah as Postmaster.
The first Shanghai overprints
were issued by the U.S.
Postal Service in May, 1919.
They were issued to the public
on July 1, 1919. The surcharged
values on the overprinted issues, (Scott
#498 to #518) were all double
the normal values on the stamps. All of the issues were overprinted
in black ink except for the 7c
and $1.00 issues, which were overprinted
By 1922, the supply of the
Bureau overprints had run out and the Shanghai
Postal Agency issued new
surcharged stamps, which differed from the earlier bureau
issues in that they read "2Cts"
rather than "2¢."
Postal Agency in Shanghai was officially closed
on December 31, 1922 and all
remaining surcharged stamps
were returned to the U. S. Philatelic Agency and later sold
to collectors until the supply was exhausted.
There are some earlier
overprints that were printed
locally for Postmaster Darrah,
however he was reprimanded by
the U.S. Postal Service and told not to sell these stamps at his post
office. These stamps are listed
as local pre-cancels by Scott.