Friday, 28 October 2011

MBE 1922 part 5 - examples of varieties other countries

Straits MBE with various errors better seen in pairs with and without. 

Small "A" error in MBE 1922 overprinted Trengganu.

Kedah MBE 1922 with raised stop after exhibition.  I really like this set. 
For years these varieties were not listed properly but mentioned in a few sentences. This was probably due to the controversy when these overprints were made as mentioned in the first part of this series of blogs. Many stamp catalogues of the day ignored this whole group of stamps completely.

MBE 1922 part 4 - misc

error BORNEQ. 69 copies recorded. This one is easily missed and probably quite a few languishing in collections unnoticed. 

error EXHIBITICN with stop. 69 copies recorded.

20c with red and blue overprints. The more common red overprinted 1c also comes in blue. The red overprinted 16c instead of blue is very rare. The above blue overprint stamp is significantly smaller and the paper has a blue tinge.
Update The coloured postmark on the red overprinted stamp maybe pretty but I have just realised it is fake because this type of cancellation came into use many many years later.

Fake overprinted 1925 20c perf 12 stamp with missing "M" , not a recorded error. Actually, this fake overprint is very well executed except for the numerals 1922.  The ink is in the wrong shade of blue. Just imagine an improved version of this overprint without the missing "M" in in blue on perf 14 1c and red on a perf 14 16c. Those stamps are worth thousands.

Unknown postmark probably another fake.

CTOs at Jesselton during 1922. The 5c elephant has a Kuching cancellation, possibly a fake or it was used in Sarawak while they did not have any MBE stamps.

Monday, 24 October 2011

MBE 1922 part 3 - specimen stamps

The stamps were either overprinted diagonally in red or black. I prefer the red. Specimen stamps can also come with the "stop after exhibition" error.

Friday, 21 October 2011

MBE 1922 part 2 - "stop after exhibition"

The commoner error "stop after exhibition" seen better in pairs with and without stop. Long ago, I bought a set with a lot of these but in singles.
In part 1, I alluded to the possibility that the errors were manufactured. However, there is  letter from the postmaster general of the time, CFN Wade dated 4th July 1922, that stated the errors were not intentional and the rush to get the stamps ready prevented their discovery and subsequent sale. He also stated the following numbers for the " stop after exhibition" stamps: 1c - 160, 2c&12c - 550, 3c to 24c - 275, 25c&50c - 104. This error was said to occur on the 7th stamp of every second row.

Reference: The stamps and postal history of NB part 3.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Malaya Borneo Exhibition 1922

It is good to take a little vacation from postmarks to look at the controversial but interesting issue of overprinted stamps that marked the 1922 Exhibition which was held in Singapore. Six of the countries taking part decided to commemorate the event by overprinting their current stamps. These included North Borneo, Brunei, Strait Settlements, Kedah, Kelantan and Trengganu.
When the announcement came out, it was met with derision by the philatelic press. It was regarded as a philatelic opportunity to make money for the countries involved. At that time North Borneo had a very bad reputation for excessive issue of stamps and overprints together with the use of the much maligned bar CTOs for the retail trade. 
The overprints were done in a hurry due to the short time scales. The exhibition was opened for 17 days between the 31st of March and the 17th of April 1922. It was intended that the stamps would be available for sale during the event.
As a result, there were a lot of interesting printing errors. This occurred especially during the overprinting of the NB stamps which was carried out at the Sandakan government printing offices. Whether much of it was intentional, I shall leave it for readers to conclude. It covered all values of the then current 1909 set together with the 25c and 50c of 1911.
The errors included wrongly used letters, different colour overprints, double overprints and varieties like different shades and perforations. Some of the varieties are rare and very expensive. The most accessible are the items with stop after Exhibition. The 1c  tapir stamp has the largest range of varieties. This set is now one of the most sought after of the NB issues. I very much doubt whether any one individual would have the complete set with all its varieties and errors.

Reference: The stamps and postal history of North Borneo part 3 by Shipman and Cassels which can be obtained from The Sarawak Specialist Society

HRH Prince of Wales at the opening of MBE 1922.

Lead tickets for the exhibition now worth hundreds of pounds!

Monday, 17 October 2011


May I remind returning readers that my posts are constantly updated with new information and scans. Latest updates include:
a second Gayah stamp!
a second Silam stamp!
Singapore & HK paquebots
chinese fiscals
early Kudat postmarks
bars cancels part 3
Jesselton R8
poor quality markings
I have noticed the JO (jap occ) posting is very popular. I will strongly advise you that this area is a complete minefield and any new acquisitions especially if expensive have to be seriously mulled over. There are so many good quality forgeries. I shall endeavour to help with future posts.

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Essential resources in collecting NB

Simon Palmer has joined this blog as a follower and is asking for advice in collecting Malaya and NB. Welcome. I suggest the following resources:
1.A stamp catalogue such as Stanley Gibbons especially the concise version covering Brunei, Malaysia and Singapore. However, the latest edition came out in 2009 and so the prices may be out of date.
2. Edward Proud's books on postal history.  very good for postmarks but are expensive. It is better to get a second hand copy for less than half price sometimes.
3. Join the Sarawak Specialist Society. They have a web site. They cover all areas of British Borneo. The back numbers of their exceptional journal is available on CD. They have published detailed handbooks on North Borneo and Sarawak.You can also buy wonderful stamps at their annual auction.
4. The Malaya Study Group of UK specialise in the Malayan states and Straits Settlements. I have just obtained their CD of the back numbers of their journal for £10.
I hope this is useful to everyone else besides Simon.

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Bintang postmarks

These little star town postmarks of the late 50s and early 60s are not easy in the sense that it is difficult to find stamps with clear well proportion cancellations. They are best appreciated on piece or on cover. These postmarks are dainty delicate looking little things that graced most of the towns during that period. Even Tanjong Aru had its own as well as Tamparuli. The star is located in a prominent position above the postdate except in the case of Kudat where it is located below as shown on last stamp above.
There are even Bintang paquebot postmarks from Labuan, Lahad Datu, Sandakan and Tawau. Jesselton has 3 different Bintang cancellations and among the prettiest in this series is the Jesselton D37 as shown as on the 6c stamp. Bintang is the malay word for star.

As usual Linda1983my has been kind enough to add material to this topic. I specifically asked for Tamparuli and Tanjong Aru as they must be the rarer ones and is pleasantly surprised. The Beaufort and Labuan stamps and cover are very nice as well. Many thanks!

Poor quality but interesting markings

The marking is very faint and does not show up on this scan. I can make out ..gistrate of the S... I think it could be (ma)gistrate of the S(andakan court)

It looks like a registration cancellation but is bigger than any of those illustrated in Ted Proud's book. On the other hand being light blue, could it be fiscal? It could be another magistrate court marking.
Update It is a larger version of Jesselton R11, fairly rare as in use 1931-1932. linda1983my has provided much much better example as above.

There is a faint "R" in the centre of the image. The postmark corresponds with the cancellation Sandakan Parcel Post. These postmarks are rarely seen. I hope to be able to replace them with better looking specimens in the future
Update It is Sandakan Parcel Post PP3, rare and used between 1931-1932. Again linda1983my has a good example as above. Where and how does one get this stuff???

1918 Two Cents overprint multiple

A brief interlude from postmarks. The overprint on this corner block of four seems to be consistent except for the last letter "s". They all looked slightly different from each other in the bottom part.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

"inverted date" postmarks

Inverted month in a Sandakan D3 marking.

click for a larger image
Very beautiful long strip with a Sandakan D5 postmark with inverted "2" in the year. This  image came with the courtesy of my friend linda1983my and I have to stress it is not in my collection. I wish it were. This is the first attempt at collaboration in showing our interesting items to a wider audience. I hope to persuade some of my other friends to join in. I know they have some absolutely terrific gems that is a shame to be kept under wraps.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Madame Joseph Kuching postmark on 18c Banteng

Plausible Kudat cancel at first sight with the discernible "KU" but somehow the position of the date does not fit. My complaint is why this forger could not do a proper job of it. The black line at the left top corner is also not encouraging.
There is a quest for a used postmark on this stamp other than Sandakan.  This is because the 18c stamp was withdrawn soon after it was issued as there was no postal requirement for a stamp of this value.  Apart from Sandakan, probably very few mint copies of this stamp made it to the other post offices in North Borneo.
Update I am pretty sure this is a fake Madame Joseph Kuching postmark with the date 12 MAR 90.

An act of vandalism

Got this recently for a few pennies for its nice blue Jesselton  cancellation. This was probably part of a horizontal imperf pair. I hope the postal clerk was responsible rather than some schoolboy collector. According to my very old SG catalogue,  a  1925 3c green imperf horizontal pair used was priced at £1100!. Now half the pair, price less than £1. Is that not a act punishable by death in philately?

Saturday, 1 October 2011

more fiscals

Very nice marking of the type 2 BNB Telegraph Office Sandakan.

Marking compatible with the obscure company R Lorentzen & co.
Update: They were shipping agents based at Sandakan for the North German LLoyd steamship company.

Harrison & Crosfield type1, type 5, type 3 and type 3 respectively. The H&C building in Sandakan is in my eyes an iconic landmark in front of what used to be the only roundabout in Sandakan. The business is now sadly greatly diminished and lives in a small part of the building.    

Should be more postal than fiscal. I can not find any reference yet.