How to Identify China Stamps

Written by jewel johnson
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How to Identify China Stamps
Identify the Chinese stamps in your collection. (global stamps image by jess welter from

Stamps fascinate collectors because they document events in history and depict miniature works of art. When you analyse a stamp, you'll discover events that occurred during the time frame when the stamp was created. Stamps often tell a brief story of history. For example, the Olympic series Chinese stamps document when Beijing won the right to host the Olympics in 2008. Chinese stamps have been issued since 1878, beginning with the Large Dragon series. With a few steps, you can identify place value on your stamps from China.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Chinese stamps
  • Magnifying glass

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  1. 1

    Identify the item or event that's depicted in the picture on the stamp. If you can name the item or person on your stamp, such as a lotus flower, a portrait of Chairman Mao, a landscape of the mountains, or an event like the Olympics, you can research the stamp by topic.

  2. 2

    Research your stamp by the serial number. To make the Chinese stamps simple to collect and study, several thousand stamps are labelled with serial numbers.

  3. 3

    Examine the stamp for a date or look for a postage mark. If you locate a date or the postal mark of your Chinese stamp, you can investigate the stamp by these estimated time frames.

  4. 4

    Read all the words on the stamp if you can understand Chinese. Chinese writing resembles symbols. If you aren't familiar with the language, this step will require diligence and extensive research. Any writing that you can verify on your stamp will help identify the stamp.

  5. 5

    Consult books on stamp collecting. Check your local library or bookstore for books that identify most Chinese stamps or borrow a book from a stamp-collecting group. Quality books also are available through the China Stamp Society. The books offer documentation of the history and pictures of Chinese stamps.

  6. 6

    Talk with a stamp collector in your area. If the collector does not specialise in China stamps, he may direct you to someone who can assist you.

  7. 7

    Get your stamps appraised. If you have not successfully identified your stamp, hire an appraiser. It will cost a modest amount of money, but it will save you time. An appraiser will identify the stamp and assess its value.

Tips and warnings

  • Handle your stamps with extreme care to retain their value.

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