Self design Self Designed Covers of Wuhan – Postal History

To celebrate the 21st Century and greet the New Millennium, Wuhan City Post Office issued "Self-Design" Greeting cards They were free delivery within the city of Wuhan from 15th December 1999, to 4th February 2000 Although called cards, they are actually covers.

Each had a blank space of 64 x 59mm framed with stamp perforations. The idea was that the sender could design his own stamp which would receive an official post office special postmark.

There were two different printed designs: "Playing Dragon Lantern" and "Mandarin Ducks". On the red flap at the back are the words "Hong Cards" Here, "Hong" means happiness and Good Luck. In the right lower corner the characters say "Supervised by Hubei Provincial Postal Bureau" and "Supervision Certificate No. X-43-007-7, Number issued 20,000".

The covers were sold at one Chinese Yuan each. The postage for local ordinary letters is 60 fen, so the post office made a small profit on these covers They were sold at post office branches and were not available at the National Stamp Corporation. Most of them were, therefore, bought by non-philatelic people.

Many people, not realising the postage was free, put on a 60 fen stamp in the framed space. Some sent them to an address outside the city boundaries and had the covers returned by the postman since they were only valid within the city limits. Quite a few people, who had no drawing skills, stuck photographs in the drawing area. Some showed work including Sun Yat Sen, the 1911 Revolution Memorial and the Yangtse River which were designed by proper artists. However, as they were only able to get hold of a few covers, there was very little duplication. Only about 2,000 were bought by stamp collectors