On 1 May 1900, the postage rates in Kiautschou changed to the German domestic rates, reducing the postage required to send a postcard to Germany to 5 Pfennig. This change quickly caused a shortage of 5 Pfennig stamps, forcing Tsingtau postal authorities to resort to provisional measures until they could be resupplied. The first provisional issues were overprints of 10-Pfennig values from the German Post Offices in China. The stamps are overprinted with a new denomination and a blue line to obscure the original denomination.
The stamps were overprinted at the Missiondruckerei Tsingtau (Tsingtau Missionary Printers), and due to a lack of typesetting pieces, each half-sheet of 50 (10×5) was assembled using multiple type styles. Twelve different printing types occur on each half-sheet of 50, three main types — Type 1 (x17), Type 2 (x20), & Type 3 (x4) — and nine subtypes (x1 each).