History in Miniature: The 150th Anniversary of Stamp Issuance in Hong Kong
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Hong Kong Stamps after the Second World War

In the early post-war years in Hong Kong, definitive stamps retained the same standard design from before the war, and major changes only arrived during the reign of Queen Elizabeth II. In 1962, the Hongkong Post staged a worldwide stamp design competition for the first time in Hong Kong’s history. In her portrait, the queen now appeared in military costume, and the high denomination stamps were printed in full colour. In 1968, the bauhinia flower and Hong Kong’s coat of arms were incorporated as the key features on two denominations, the first time that local themes had been integrated in the territory’s definitive stamps. In 1973, definitive stamps started using the queen’s portrait in bas-relief, while new design elements began to appear in subsequent issues: first came patterns with lions and dragons, the symbols of Britain and China respectively, and they were followed by sketches of Hong Kong’s scenery and the Chinese characters for Hong Kong in cursive script. All these additions featured Chinese culture and local elements, which had never been seen on Hong Kong definitive stamps before.

Special issues designed for particular occasions also enriched the variety of Hong Kong stamps, the content of which was supplemented and enhanced. In the early period after the Second World War, Hong Kong commemorative stamps still featured a rich colonial style. It was not until 1967 that the first stamps with designs based on the Chinese zodiac were produced. From that point on, however, special stamps were issued in quick succession that reflected the spectacular events that took place in Hong Kong and its local customs and characteristics. Mainly designed by Hong Kong people, many of these stamps are still treasured by collectors today, especially the Hong Kong Butterflies set (1979), the Historical Scenes of Hong Kong set (1987) and the Chinese Opera set (1992).


  • Mail sorting (1)

  • Unloading parcels from a mailboat

  • Air Mail Centre at Kai Tak Airport

  • Parcel handling