Sunday, 15 May 2011
North Borneo 1939 postage due used and "Fu Kan Shi" official seals
A very expensive set if genuine. I have been informed that the 2c is suspicious and I am not certain the rest are authentic postmarks. The 4c has a nice registration cancellation. The 8c and 10c postmarks are too similar for my liking. This is the danger of buying rare used NB.
I have included a scan of Japanese Occupation "officially sealed" labels for priority mail with a japanese overprint on this postage due issue that excluded the 10c stamp. The japanese characters "Fu Kan Shi" can be translated as "paper seal" both in japanese and chinese. They were originally thought to be used for sealing official secret letters. Any unauthorised opening of such letters would have resulted in death as punishment. Quite a believable hypothesis considering how cruel and savage the occupational forces were. This was not true as civilian letters were also found with these seals. They were used to seal special mail such as registered letters containing valuables like cash or postage stamps usually at the flaps of the envelope. However, none of the 4 stamps shown above were ever found "used" on envelopes apart from the NB war tax 1c stamp with similar overprint. The evidence was mainly based on similarly overprinted stamps of Sarawak.
As they are not valid for use as postage stamps, they tend not to be listed. Still they are quite collectable. I bought them for a few dollars in Sandakan in my youth. I gather they might be valuable.