Hong Kong Definitives 1987-92 : Kowloon (Tsim Sha Tsui) Clock Tower

Pictured below is a booklet pane depicting the clock tower of Kowloon Railway Station, known to the Chinese also as the Tsim Sha Tsui Clock Tower, the sole surviving remnant today of this historic station.

Hong Kong Kowloon Railway Tsim Sha Tsui Station Clock

There are numerous Hong Kong stamps which show the clock tower, sometimes as a main feature, sometimes as part of a skyline. This applies both to the stamps of Hong Kong as a British colony and, post-1997, as the Chinese Special Economic Zone of Hong Kong. We show a selection of these lower down, but this article is devoted primarily to the various printings of the $5 and $10 definitive stamps of Hong Kong in designs first issued in 1987. The Clock Tower appears on the left of the $5 stamp, whilst the $10 design includes a rail-mounted self-propelled dockside crane in Victoria Harbour.

For the most part, the five separate definitive printings are easy to identify by their imprint date, added to the bottom right-hand corner in the last three printings. The first two printings (usually listed as one printing with two types) are without imprint date but can be distinguished by the level of shading below the Queen's chin, dark shading for the first printing (1987) and light shading for the second printing (1988). Amongst the mint stamps on the market probably 80%-90% are of the first printing, the 1988 retouched design being much scarcer in mint. Used copies of First & Second Printings are found in more equal quantities.

Hong Kong $5 (1987/88)

Above: Left Stamp: Dark shading under the chin (1987) . . . . . . . . Right Stamp: Light shading under the chin (1988)

An additional guide to identifying the First and Second printings can be provided by comparing an undated stamp with any of the stamps (in the same face value) with an imprint date. The dated stamps are always of the 'lighter shading' type and any undated stamp with similar shading to a stamp with imprint date will therefore be from the Second Printing.

First Issue: 1987 :
$5 Kowloon Stn, No imprint date : Heavy shading under chin (SG 549A, Domfil 987.21) [ . ]
$10 Harbour Crane, No imprint date : Heavy shading under chin (SG 550A, Domfil 987.22) [ . ]

Second Issue: 1988 :
$5 Kowloon Stn, No imprint date : Light shading under chin (SG 549B, Dom.987.21 VI) [ . ]
$10 Harbour Crane, No imprint date : Light shading under chin (SG 550B, Dom.987.22 VI) [ . ]

Hong Kong $5 (1990/91)

The other three issues in these two designs have imprint dates. The Domfil listings of 1987 but with suffix 'VI' covers all these later issues. SG gives a full listing to the first stamp with an imprint date (1989) but then covers the remaining issues only with a footnote.

Third Issue : 1989 :
$5 Kowloon Stn, Imprint Date 1989 (SG 612) [ . ]
$10 Harbour Crane, Imprint Date 1989 (SG 613) [ . ]

Fourth Issue : 1990 :
$5 Kowloon Stn, Imprint Date 1990 (SG 612 var) [ . ]
$10 Harbour Crane, Imprint Date 1989 (SG 613 var) [ . ]

Fifth Issue : 1991 :
$5 Kowloon Stn, Imprint Date 1991 (SG 612 var) [ . ]
$10 Harbour Crane, Imprint Date 1991 (SG 613 var) [ . ]

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Hong Kong Zeapex m/s

The $10 in this design also appears in four miniature sheets, the scarcest of which, the Zeapex sheet, is shown above:

1990 Zeapex m/s :
$10 with imprint date 1990 (SG MS 646, Domfil 990.16) [ . ]

1991 Phila Nippon m/s :
$10 with imprint date 1991 (SG MS 684, Domfil 991.30) [ . ]

1991 Barcelona Olympics m/s :
$10 with imprint date 1991 (SG MS 685, Domfil 991.31) . ]

1992 World Columbian Expo m/s:
$10 in changed colours (mauve and pink) with imprint date 1992 (SG MS 701, Domfil 992.25) [ . ]
Note: The 1992 $10 in changed colours was only issued within this miniature sheet

Hong Kong Tsim Sha Tsui Kowloon Railway Station Clock

Hong Kong Tsim Sha Tsui Kowloon Railway Station Clock

Hong Kong Kowloon Railway Station Clock Tsim Sha Tsui

Above, some further examples of the Clock Tower. There are numerous others.

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