VERY FINE. AN OUTSTANDING USED EXAMPLE OF THE VERY RARE 1897 SMALL "4" CENT RED REVENUE. MADE EVEN MORE DESIRABLE BY HAVING THE UNRECORDED BROKEN "N" VARIETY.
China specialists have determined that the “Small 4” Red Revenue was the first of the “cents” surcharges on the 3c Red Revenue produced in Shanghai by the Inspectorate General of Customs Statistical Department. A total of 200 “Small 4” stamps were prepared, the 25-subject surcharge form applied four times each to two sheets of 100. Twenty-five of these stamps exist with double surcharge, one in black and one in faint violet. It is believed that violet was the intended color of the surcharge, but due to the poor impression, these 25 and the others were surcharged in black. It was still thought the small Arabic “4” was difficult to see, so the production was halted and a larger and thicker sans-serif “4” was substituted. All of the other characters of the overprint remained the same.
Several blocks of 25 (the complete setting) of the “Large 4” Red Revenue exist. Due to the many constant varieties of the many Chinese characters, the position can be determined. The stamp offered here is from position 13.
This stamp possesses a variety unlike any other, with the “n” in “cents” having a large gap in the right leg, with the lower part of the left leaning “in” toward the left. Close examination reveal this is not merely an inking variety, but a definite break in the piece of type. We compared it three other “Small 4” position 13 stamps, all unused, illustrated in ”The Revenue Surcharges China 1897 (Vol. 1)”. Of these three (one was a double surcharge), one had a broken “n” identical to this stamp, while the other two did not. Our research also located several examples of the “Large 4” from position 13, and none of them had the broken “n”. This suggests that the break took place during the short production of the “Small 4”, and the broken “n” was replaced by a new piece of type at that time.
This variety is not listed in any catalogue, though it is just as prominent (but far rarer) as the 2c surcharge with broken “n” in “cents, which is listed in Chan (No. 84a).
The vast majority of surviving “Small 4” surcharges are unused. Approximately 30 used are recorded. There are four known on cover, all used in 1900.
Scott $75,000.00 (with no premium for the variety).