This article is devoted primarily to the definitive stamps of Hong Kong in the style first issued in 1987. The $5 and the $10 values in this design are both of railway interest and appear in a number of slightly different forms.
The scans below show the designs. The Kowloon Railway Station clock-tower appears on the left of the $5 stamp and there is a harbour crane in Victoria Harbour on the right of the $10 stamp. OK, not all of you collect harbour cranes, but they are self-propelled vehicles on rails, you know, even if they don't travel very far!
For the most part, the five separate definitive printings are easy to identify by their imprint date, added at the bottom right-hand corner. As usual, though, there is an exception. The first two printings (usually listed as one printing with two types) are hard to distinguish, especially when you only have one example. The difference is in the shading under the Queen's chin, dark shading for the first printing (1987) and light shading for the second printing (1988). If in doubt about which you have, 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 seem to have a fair number of each type in circulation. A great help in identifying the First and Second printings, however, is by comparing the undated stamps with any of the stamps (in the same face value) with imprint dates. These dated stamps are always of the 'light shading' type.
Above: Left Stamp: Dark shading under the chin (1987) . . . . . . . . Right Stamp: Light shading under the chin (1988)
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)
All the other issues in these two designs have imprint dates, as follows. The Domfil listing of 1987 with the added 'VI' suffix, in effect, covers all these issues. SG give a full listing to the first of the imprint dates (1989) but then cover 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)
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
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