On the 10th day of the 10th moon of the 20th year of Emperor Kuang Hsu (1894), on the occasion of the 60th birthday of Empress Dowager, which also happened to be the 50th anniversary of the opening of trade between China and foreign countries, commemorative stamps were issued in nine denominations, through the recommendation of Sir Robert Hart, Inspector General of Customs concurrently in charge of the Postal Service. Six of these were printed in small design and three in large design, all drawn by R.A. de Villard (French), a member of the Customs staff.All the designs symbolized good fortune and prosperity.
The above nine denominations were printed in lithography on thin white paper with 〝Tai Chi Tu〞watermark. Subsequently at the suggestion of P.G. von Mollendorff (German), chief of the Customs Statistical Department in Shanghai, another lot of stamps was printed on thicker, white, unwatermarked paper especially for distribution among Chinese high officals and various legations.
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