Saturday, 24 December 2011

Christmas treat 3. 4c carmine Maltese cross overprint sg204a

Two used examples together with the unlisted perf 14-15 stamp. This should be my final posting for 2011. I would like to wish all readers a very good Christmas and New Year.
Update Note all my 4 copies ( plus 2 mint copies in June 2011 post) of this stamp with P14 has the overprint in more or less the same position on the right side indicating that they belonged to the same sheet of a hundred. They were overprinted in 2 rows of 10 at a time. Three of the stamps are probably from the same 2 rows. The P14.5 stamp has a slightly different position. Is this stamp unique as there is no record of another copy?
Update I have found another copy of the P14.5. It was catalogued but unpriced in last year's SG but we may get a price this year. It should be 2-3x that of the normal.

William Clarke Cowie with the Sultan of Sulu and his court. Also present at the porceedings were Baron Gustav Von Overbeck, William Hood Treacher and William Burges Pryer, though not in the picture, should be somewhere in the background.
For readers who are not familiar with the history of North Borneo, Von Overbeck and his party managed to persuade the Sultan of Brunei to cede the part of NB under his rule towards the end of 1877 . To complete the process and with the help of William Cowie, he met up with the Sultan of Sulu at Jolo a few weeks later in early 1878. The Sultan who has been under constant siege by the spanish was happy to sign away the eastern part of North Borneo for a yearly rent before he loses everything to the spanish. 

Update The other European male person in the picture apart from Cowie was Alexander Cook, later to be treasurer general of North Borneo. Some said he might have been responsible for the "AC" cancel on the earliest of North Borneo stamps. Both these two pictures were probably taken a few years later in 1883 in Sandakan during a visit of the Sultan.

 Treaty with Brunei Sultan

Treaty with Sulu Sultan

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Christmas treat 2. Madame Joseph GPO cancel

I paid a premium for this item. Quite irresistable, I think. Good 1899 4c overprint with the narrow spacing, the much more expensive $10 stamp. Also note the change of the usual month of August to June in the date stamp.
Proven and good quality Madame Joseph fakes can command higher prices than the genuine article. The literature refers to a fixed date cancellation of  22 AUG 1911. This marking has the month of JUN. I wonder whether there is such a thing as a forged Madame Joseph GPO postmark.
For more information, may I refer you to my initial post in August.

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Silam negative and residency seals. my friend's collection

I thought this would be a very good Christmas treat. When I first saw this, I was filled with a mixture of joy and depression. What a wondrous sight and yet I know that I will probably be unable to assemble such an exceptional collection.
For more information, please read my original post in August.
Enjoy and thank you.

Monday, 19 December 2011

Mobile PO part 2

Railway TPO postmark. A pity that I do not have the cover intact. This date stamp which preceded TPO1 and TPO2 was in use between 1962 and 1964 on the last of the North Borneo stamps.

More Railway TPO on piece.

Nice Railway TPO1 and TPO2 on piece. The start of the Sabah stamps. Also a Sarawak TPO1 with a star cancel.

Friday, 16 December 2011

Mobile PO

Railway Travelling Post Office for mail between Jesselton/Kota Kinabalu and Tenom with drop points along the way. TPO1 was in use between 1963 and 1979. 
This is a CTO cover which despite the name and address, never went through the normal postal process. Moreover, the rate for a light letter to GB was 35c from 1957.
Correction: 20c was in fact the correct rate for surface mail rate in 1965 but I would still maintain these 2 TPO covers were both CTO due to the lack of other markings etc.

TPO2 was used from 1964 to 1977. There is obviously an overlap with TPO1 and TPO2. They were used on the same route. I am not sure why they have different numbers.

Kudat MTO6 was a mobile PO. I do not have a date for this one. Attractive envelope with different cachets. The cover left Kudat, transited at Kota Kinabalu and  arrived at Tawau 2 days later.
Update The MTO6 is probably due to an error in the printing of the labels as the letters P and T sound so familiar to the uninitiated. It should have been MPO6 which was the designated MPO for Kudat.
Kota Kinabalu PPB1 was a mobile PO that was used in the 1970s. PPB stands for Pejabat Pos Bergerak in Berhasa Malaysia which translates to Mobile Post Office.
The Mobile PO postmarks and registrations cachets of NB/Sabah provides a potentially rich area for detailed study. There are 33 different town postmarks and 40 registration cachets listed in the Sarawak journal from 1963. I would imagine there would be some more which are yet to be discovered.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Books for Christmas

Just some suggestions of good Christmas pressies for NB enthusiasts. I shall not attempt a review as they are available on google or the amazon website. Stamps are not just pretty colour bits of paper. They do tell a story of the socioeconomic situation of the time. It is good to get some background from reading. Of course, these books only gives one side of the story, the colonialists' perspective.
To this list, I would add:
British North Borneo by L W W Gudgeon
British North Borneo by Owen Rutter
North Borneo, explorations and adventures by Frank & Joseph Hatton
There are some locally written ones which I heard are very good but I have not read them yet. Recently I came across a title, Borneo: The stealer of hearts by Oscar Cook. Supposed to be a good read. Apparently available in bookshops in Kota Kinabalu, I shall have a look when I next visit.
You can also read some of these books on

Sunday, 11 December 2011

foreign postmarks and paquebots

Unfortunately snipped too closely at the top, this 1909 1c has a foreign arrival postmark with the date 25.10.42 8-9N which is consistent with a German postdate format. I would like to know what the 8-9N stands for.
1942 was right in the midst of jap occupation! That is very interesting indeed. I could make out the letters UX and then AVEN which would correspond to Cuxhaven, a coastal town in Lower Saxony, Germany. 
Cuxhaven was a famous site for German rocketry. The first cruise type missiles  were developed there. During the second world war, there were rocket research facilities in Cuxhaven. The facilities, including the rocket technology, were later captured by the British army.    

Can just about make out a smudged London W.P.O. postmark. There are another 2 postmarks here.

A Singapore postmark and probably an arrival franking. Obviously a busy post office with the time of day on the postmark.

A rather interesting paquebot (pronounced pakboo), probably from Hong Kong. There is a part of a blue cancellation most likely to be a registration or parcel postmark but not of NB origin.

A very nice Singapore paquebot, the first that I have seen on this series of stamps. There seems to be very few postwar paquebot stamps around in my experience. Was it because airmail became more common by this time with the building of air fields during the japanese occupation with enforced labour?

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Kudat Bintang postmarks

To continue on a more recent theme, I mentioned in a previous post that Kudat is different in having its star located under the date. Well, I have recently found a Kudat Bintang with the star above the date which is not listed in Proud.

D23 which was in use between 1955 and 1965. Probably unique among the NB Bintang postmarks in having the star below the date.

The star in this postmark is like all the other star cancels of NB. This is not in Proud's classification. Again, I seek the advice of my friends. The information I had was that it was used between 1961 and 1964.

Train Mail D10

D9 and D10 are very similar. This stamp definitely has a D10. This was in use only a few months and so must very rare. Found it looking through my Bintang collection. I must remind myself to look carefully each time!

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

An assortment of high values

A nice red Sandakan D4 with date 1? Oct 1890. It came with a RPS certificate from a SG auction many years ago. The SG numbers have since changed. This is SG 48 or is it a 1886 SG 32?

There is a faint cancel in the the background which is really interesting. My learned friend thinks it maybe a Spanish transit mark. Any suggestions would be most welcome. Note the curved double ring Sandakan postmark.

A rather attractive oxidised version of the 1911 $2 stamp. I think this colour is better than the original.

A nice colour fiscal marking for the District Office BNB Marudu. These cancellations tend to be large.

This is a large fiscal cancellation. Only a small part is shown here but it is compatible with the marking for the Magistrate Court Beaufort BNB.

This is a nice 1911 $10 with CTO bars which I paid a fair price for. I think there was an attempt to manufacture a postmark which we have seen recently on stamps on a well known online auction site.

Friday, 2 December 2011

NB 1961 issue, overlooked but interesting

From the very old to the not so old, the North Borneo 1961 issue and its subsequent 1964 Sabah overprints are very much overlooked but does present some interesting possibilities. It was a breath of fresh air after the disastrous photogravure issues of 1950 and 1954. The designs were actually quite attractive, not classical but contemporary. 
There are a fair few interesting postmarks that comes with these stamps some of which are uncommon. And of course, I have already touched on the Bintang postmarks in October.

North Borneo stamps with Sabah Malaysia postmarks. They are not that easy to come by in the UK. Perhaps there are more at the place of origin.

More Sabah Malaysia cancellations. These Sabah Malaysia postmarks came into use some time in 1964 even though the Federation of Malaysia was formed in September 1963. It was not until 01.07.1965 when the Sabah overprinted stamps were available. Jesselton became Kota Kinabalu on September 30, 1968.
The 4c orange stamp has the interesting Jesselton postmark with a one line date which includes the the time, in this case 8:30am.

An airport postmark but unfortunately not from Sabah. I have been told it was from Singapore. I am not sure whether it was used there (airport paquebot?) or it could have been an arrival franking.
Update Singapore was part of Malaysia from 1963 to 1965. This stamp was probably used locally as stamps of the individual states were valid for use throughout  Malaysia.

A Singapore arrival postmark announcing the postal numbering system to facilitate delivery.
Update Again this stamp was legitimately used locally in Singapor.

No doubt my favourite of these group of stamps. These train mail stamps are much more difficult than some of the earlier ones. This is D9 used between 1955 and 1962. The D10 with the shortened month to 2 letters must be very rare as it was only used for a few months in 1962. The Railway TPO(Travelling Post Office) series of postmarks started in the second half of 1962. I may consider showing part 2 of my TPO collection as a Christmas treat.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

interesting high values

A good looking turquoise Sandakan D5 cancellation which was used for non postal purposes.

An unclear unlisted registration marking, probably fiscal use.

I have posted this one again to show more clearly the D9 Sandakan BNBC postmark which was normally used for fiscal purposes. It has the date 8 OCT 92. This is a rare marking which was used between 1885 and 1900. It is similar to the D10 fiscal postmark but has St Andrew's crosses with dots in the sectors whereas the latter has Maltese crosses.

A faint type 1 Judicial Department Sandakan fiscal marking on a good stamp.

Friday, 25 November 2011

Elopura 2. A postmark study courtesy of a friend

We should all be grateful to my friend who "lent" his comprehensive collection of Elopura postmark variations for our appreciation.

                                               Elopura date inverted

                                            Elopura hand inserted year

                                               Elopura month inverted

                                           Elopura year/date different fonts

Thank you!


                                       an engraving in the Sabah Museum

                                                               William Burges Pryer

William Pryer in 1867 in Shanghai
working as a clerk with Thorne Bros & Co.

When Sandakan/Kampung German was burned down by accident on 15.6.1879, William B Pryer decided to move to new settlement near to the mouth of  Sandakan Bay. This was situated 12 miles from the old settlement which was further inside the bay to hide from marauding pirates. By this time, he had the confidence to do so because he had managed to gain the cooperation of the various tribal chiefs by having a plan to defy outside intruders.
On 21.6.1879, Pryer cut down the first tree at the new site. He named the city he had founded, Elopura, which means Beautiful City. This is the present day Buli Sim Sim area of  Sandakan  today where there was a narrow strip of land between the sea and the heavily forested hillside. It was a clever strategic choice as the township was screened to the north by dense mangrove and then out to sea, the island of Berhala blocked the view from the entrance of the bay. Behind the town were the hills where one could have a look out. With the help of the British navy he was able to consolidate the establishment of the new town. This was important as the Spanish as well as various native chiefs had their eyes on Elopura.
With time, the town  as well as the centre expanded southwards as more land is required. The natives continue to use the old name of Sandakan and as a result Elopura eventually became Sandakan again. At present, Elopura is the name given to   a state constituency centred around Bandar Kim Fung at mile 4 of Labuk Road in Sandakan. I tried to get a postmark there a few months back but it is practically undecipherable.

The postmark on the bottom stamp is very faint. Again it has been in my collection for years, unnoticed. I posted it because it has the inverted month AP in the date. All Ps for pm, no morning postal services in Elopura! 

A sample of Pryer's writing and signature