musty old bookstores, with all their glories, are common in China. something extraordinary, however, is a marvellous stash of postal ephemera which i found hiding amidst the books today!

first is a packet of some 200+ documents; the backs of which are covered with (cancelled?) stamps from the 1980s. the fronts bear what looks like inventory lists from 'Shanghai Da Jiang Co'. i am entirely unsure of why the stamps were applied to each page.....


next, a plain brown book (with China Post tape-borders), the pages covered in what i (hazily) understand to be stamp cancellations of Songjiang district. about half the pages are blank - suggests an artistamp project?


last, envelopes sundry -  i love the curiously shaped postmark on the second one.


i will return tomorrow with my trusty translation device to ply the kind shopowner for more details about the assorted postal debris he has tucked in odd corners of the shelves. i think he is something of a collector - he seemed bemused by my exclamations, offering me tea in what i imagine was a gesture of solidarity. a pleasanter place to pass the time and paw about has rarely been found.


note (!) i've an immense surplus of the stamped documents, which will likely find their way to those whom i know are postal enthusiasts. if additional stamplovers are hovering about, do tell me if you'd like a page of these for your projects, collections, et al; i will be glad to share the bounty.


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Comment by Bradford on July 19, 2021 at 10:49pm

"Some of the docs bear revenue cancellations.  Likewise, some of the stamps are for "stamp duty" and other official (governmental) uses. 

[I just wish the one posting this was still a member.]"

Comment by Laurence on March 28, 2011 at 3:02am
Beautiful - what a lovely discovery to ahve made !

Thanks for sharing the joy
Comment by Marcia Cirillo (Fifi LePew) on January 28, 2011 at 3:44pm
I have some Chinese stamps of the paper variety, but please, i would love one of those brown things that have been stamped and/or written on.
Comment by Bifidus Jones on January 24, 2011 at 2:38pm
It's beautiful--thank you so much for the photo--I wish I could step inside
Comment by Lesley Magwood Fraser on January 24, 2011 at 1:42pm
What a fabulous experience. Rooting around for treasures! I shall send you something in return.
Comment by ejva:nsva on January 24, 2011 at 12:27pm

as requested for Bifidus, et al.

the shop is a small affair nestled in a tangle of old-fashioned Chinese alleyways; long, single-level buildings divided into dwellings and businesses. many serve the purpose of both commercial and residential, with the front room becoming a temporary storefronts when something is had to sell. the array of items offered is generally not static, varying from month to month with an array of products from dishware to clothing to odd lots of household tidbits. this particular bookstore sprang up overnight (i seem to recall socks dwelling here at some earlier point) and, from the selection of goods arrayed in a good honest jumble on tables, small shelves, and cartons, it seems to be part of what was once a personal collection. primary subjects: old documents, lottery scratch-offs, blueprints, books of art reproductions, and postal ephemera (...i still cannot be sure the place is entirely real).


today i sorted through a few more boxes of envelopes, finding more lovelies, and.....(!) hoped, the proprietor unearthed some new glories from a little back room. lovelies of lovelies. a bundle of 1960s(?) illustrations for small children, printed in off-hues on some manner of transparency paper. also a 'nippon' stamp to match the tanuki ;D

Katerina, i think you may be right - the cancellations on the documents seem different from postmarks. further browsing of the documents tells me that one of the companies involved is a 'stocks' co., so they could be shares of some sort? hum, the possibilities of being wealthy in shares of an obsolete company! also YES, the coziness of shared tea while browsing is unparalleled - i too lived in Turkey for some time and there's nothing like an elma cay (apple tea!) in a little stall under the sun. the plastic-dispenser complimentary coffee that one finds in American banks and groceries etc cannot begin to compare to this wonderfully intimate and personable tradition!the feeling is evident that i'll be spending a great deal of time with the shopkeeper - he loves to bring out special pieces of his wares and explain them to me with the emphatic tones of a true ephemera connoisseur. this is him (+ nsva)!

very happy that others share my joy in these findings! requests duly noted - expect surprises forthwith. Ruud, i shall definitely scout about for an old Chinese rubberstamp for the archives. one never knows what may turn up around any corner hereabouts!



Comment by Marie Wintzer on January 24, 2011 at 2:43am
You're right Jen, you have a good sense of observation, one of them looks like tanuki!
Comment by Jen Staggs on January 24, 2011 at 2:38am
Is that a wee Tanuki in the bottom pic?  Marie taught us about those rascally critters (though they are Japanese.)
Comment by Marie Wintzer on January 24, 2011 at 1:05am
What a dream! Lucky you...
Comment by Mary Jo Cartledgehayes on January 23, 2011 at 7:09pm
If you have a spare down the line, I'd love to have a piece. What an excellent adventure, not to mention treasure trove.



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