1863 French Post Office in Shanghai

French Post Offices in China
1863 (January 26) Shanghai to Paris


This is a 26 January 1863 pre-paid single-rate letter Shanghai to Paris sent by British Packet. Postal circular No.270 of Nov. 1862 – 70 centimes per 7 gms. for letters to France by either French or British Packet. Since no stamps were available, pre-paid letters were stamped “5104” and Shanghai c.d.s. in blue. “7 1/2″ decimes paid indicated in writing on reverse of the letter. Only a few letters recorded from this period.

After the departure of the Military Post Office on 23 March 1862, the French Concession in Shanghai was left with no postal service of its own. Finally, after repeated petition from the local community, Bulletin des Postes No. 87 (Nov. 1862) circular No. 270 was issued stating that as of 12 October 1862, a “Direction de Poste Francaise de Shanghae” be formed. The first Postmaster was Monsieur M. Champanhet who arrived in Shanghai on 19 December 1862 bringing with him a “5104” obliterator, a circular Shanghai datestamp but apparently no French stamps. It is thought that stamps were brought in by the French mailboat SS Hydaspe on 12 February 1863. Cover from the “no stamp” period during the operation of the French Civilian Post Office in Shanghai.