Tuesday, 31 January 2012

A most attractive Lim Keng Fatt cover with Jesselton R3

Something to lift the gloom that usually follows the recent winter festivities. I was initially hesitant to acquire this cover due to the suspicious looking double ring Jesselton postmark. But the rest of the cover seemed authentic enough and the price was very reasonable. I realised its value following the advice of a friend who is a fountain of knowledge in matters NB.
Firstly, we have 20c in 1909 stamps arranged in an attractive fashion franked by Jesselton D3 postmarks. This handstamp was in use between 1907 and 1914. Somehow it was used late in 21 NOV 1919 on this envelope. By this time, the handstamp has become worn and distorted with the letters of the town indiscernible. As a result, the postal clerk had to apply it with force and that created the double ring effect.
There are transit markings for Singapore 10am 28 NO 1919 and London 3 JA 1920. The latter is a registered mark in red.
The most eye catching is the red cachet at the centre of the envelope for Lim Keng Fatt of  7 Bond Street, Jesselton. Bond Street was later renamed Gaya Street during the post war rebuilding of the 1950s. Lim Keng Fatt was part of the anti Japanese resistance in WWll.

The front of the cover looks very plain. There is a red registered cachet. The registered mark is very faint but it has been pointed out to me that this is probably the Jesselton registered mark R3. Amazingly, this could be the second copy of this marking to be recorded. Proud gave only one sighting with the date of 27.5.19 in his book. It is ironic that the most valuable part of this cover is also its least attractive.
There is a very faint R within an oval with the number 1578 which is possibly an arrival registration mark of Sweden.
This is a philatelic item bearing the correct rate of 10c for foreign mail plus 10c for registration. Mr Thor Edward Quintinus Allard was a well known stamp collector in Linkoping between 1920 and 1960s. This is according to the dealer that I bought the cover from.  He collected widely and specialised in air mail covers. This was an item from his estate.
I really want to know more about Lim Keng Fatt if readers have any information. His name has been seen on philateic postcards and covers. Bond Street was the business district of prewar Jesselton. My guess is he was a middle man who benefited from having a knowledge of both Chinese and English. The philatelic covers were probably just a small side line.
Update I have taken measurements of the registered mark. It measures 46mm by 18.5mm as against Proud's R3 of 45mm by 18.5mm, very different from R2 or R4. The postmarks could be D6 or D8. I can not see even the faintest trace of BNB or Jesselton on all 4 postmarks. That does not matter.
R3 may not be so uncommon after all. There are 3 Oswald Marsh covers available to be bought, with similar looking registered marks.

Bond Street 1900s

Bond Street 1914

Bond Street 1930 

view from Bond Street

 present day Gaya street

Sunday market

Friday, 27 January 2012


Progressive proofs 1939 $5 with full gum.

Proofs of the 1939 issue with um full gum. These are pre-prints which were used for colour and quality evaluation before full production. Other similar items for each issue of stamps could include essays, printers' samples including composite sheets, sample cards, presentation sheets, die proofs, progressive proofs, completed proofs (as above) etc etc. It gets very involved both in time and costs. Thankfully, not all issues would present the same challenges.

  1931 $5 imperforate frame proof on ungummed paper with security hole. 

Sunday, 22 January 2012

miniature sheet

This miniature sheet of 9 on paper without gum is based on the 8c Dhow of the 1894 issue. It was also printed in another 2 bicolour combination but I am not sure whether they are also in sheets of 9. I find this one has particularly attractive colours. They were used as trade samples by Waterloo & sons Ltd and has a security punch hole. They were not specimen stamps in the sense of being sent to countries belonging to the Universal Postal Union as they were not postage stamps.
It is difficult to know how rare they are. My guess is that they are tightly held by being quite desirable especially in NB and thematic collections alike.  

Saturday, 21 January 2012

fake japanese occupation Showa overprints

I knowingly bought these fake overprints in order to study them. The mint 6c orange and 5c red are authentic and are there for comparison. The immediate giveaway are the japanese postmarks which can also be seen on the not overprinted 10c stamp.
These fake overprints were very well executed. I do not think they are hand painted as they are too consistent. I think they used a laser printer. There is an obvious difference in the thickness of the strokes. The second character is very different especially the top part. Looking closely, there is also a stray dot a small distance from the upstroke of the third character. There is definitely a lack of indentation at the back.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

some more fiscals

Mansfield Bogaardt & Co. type 2. The handstamp had been applied twice. This was a shipping company which used Sandakan as a port of call.
Found this interesting information in "Engines of Empire: Steamshipping" : Th.C. Bogaardt was an enterprising Dutchman who became partner in Mansfield & Co in 1872. An Office was established in Sandakan in 1891. He managed the company from 1883 to 1894 and participated in the "pilgrim" and "coolee" trade.
In the above stamp, one can see clearly a small mark near to the "T" in NORTH. This is a very important secret mark that distinguishes it from forgeries of this issued stamp.

A faint blue unknown fiscal cancellation in addition to a 14 bar cancel on a SG10. There is part of the inscription (BO)RNEO at the bottom end. Interestingly, there is what seems to be part of a large numeral 2 above it. Comments would be welcome as to its identification.

Hong Kong & Shanghai Banking Corp Agents either type 3 or 4.

I previously thought this Kudat B.N.B. cancellation which is not classified in Proud's book was a fake. This has been identified in Ivor Moore's booklet on Fiscal and Revenue stamps as a fiscal cancellation which superseded the Kudat B.N.B.C. cancel. Normally in deep violet, it has been recorded as available in black, which I think is more uncommon since I do not have or seen a copy. Note the year is only in 2 numerals.

Chartered Bank Jesselton, a relatively recent fiscal. I am not sure how common these are.

Thursday, 12 January 2012

A stamp with a story

 A nice 1911 $1 stamp with a part violet Tawao D4 cancellation. Note also the blue crayon cancel pointing to fiscal use and also the part date 7 Oct (191)7.

The back of the stamp is the interesting part. On the lower right corner we can see the Tawao cancellation coming through. However, there is evidence of two other cancellations in violet. The large one in the middle has the mirror image of the letters Kudat and the month of Au(gust). It has a double ring and is probably a fiscal Kudat BNBC or the unclassified Kudat BNB postmark.
The marking at the top left hand corner is part of a small double ring marking with large letters of N.B which would be compatible with a Kudat BNBC fiscal cancellation.
My conclusions are this is a wholly fiscal used stamp which has been washed at least once and reused. It was initially used at Kudat and then later at Tawau. The crayon cancel served as a stop to this illegal practice.
A real pity as the unwashed stamp with a good Kudat BNBC hand stamp would have been more desirable and valuable. Still, it is an interesting story.

Gayah A postmark

enhanced image

Update: probably can see better with this image having tweak the colour and contrast.
My apologies for posting this stamp again. There is some new information. The postmark is fairly faint and I did not looked closely enough to uncover its potential. I initially failed to notice it is a "Gayah" and only in the last few days did I realise it is also prefix "A".  The Gayah postmark (1886-1897) usually has a prefix "B" above the date which can be omitted in some stamps.
Gayah "A" is apparently very rare. With this high resolution scan, I can confidently see GAYA(H)  A 15 FE 1886. The day and month are in a different order as the month normally comes first. I have just seen my friend's clearer copy with the transposed date as well.
It seems very likely that the "A" prefix was in use earlier than the "B" from the dates seen. This variation in prefix has much in common with the very rare Elopura "A" and Kudat D2 "P" postmarks.

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Lahad Datu paquebot

It is not very often one come across a local paquebot cancellation on a North Borneo stamp. Most of my paquebot stamps were either cancelled at Singapore or Hong Kong. This resembles a Lahad Datu paquebot which is distinguished by its long tongue to the letter "Q" and its distorted "T". The only date of use recorded in Proud was February 1950 and should be fairly uncommon.

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Sandakan paquebot

A really attractive paquebot cds cover from Sandakan dated 16 MR 74. This was classified by Eric Jefferies as a type B paquebot cancellation in a detailed series of articles in the Sarawak Journal on Sabah postmarks in the early 1990s. He gave an EDS of 16 MR 74. This is the same date as this cover! LDS was 01 JA 75. So it was not used for long and probably uncommon.
Sadly, Eric Jefferies passed away earlier this week at the age of 91. RIP
I had to rely a lot on his knowledge in my recent postings and it is my regret that I have not met him personally to say thank you. 

Monday, 2 January 2012

Papar D4 cover

Got this cover recently from a fellow member of the Sarawak Specialist Society. This is a commercially used item bearing the correct rate of 20c for a airmail letter to Malaya plus 25c for registration. The stamps are well franked with a fairly clear Papar D4 bintang postmark. 
The cover is a bit water stained and weathered which gives it an air of authenticity. It is probably a "flood" cover!

Well, the back of the envelope is even more interesting. Here, we have 3 more very clear Papar D4 bintang cancellations together with transit marks from Jesselton and Singapore. Finally, there is an arrival marking in Penang. The letter was posted on 17th May 1963 and transited in Jesselton and Singapore on the 18th and 19th respectively. It arrived in Penang on the 20th May. It is certain this cover went by air.
Definitely, it was worth paying the extra 25c for the reg label and all those postmarks!

Examining it more closely yielded even more interest. The nice Jesselton star postmark is in fact the more uncommon D38 which was in use for a few months. It was different in being smaller in diameter with the letters of jesselton/north borneo more closely spaced. By drawing an imaginary line by computer from the star touching the outermost of  the year numeral on the right, one could see it  just about touches the o in borneo in D38. The date of 18th May 1963 is also a month earlier than that recorded by Proud.
Thank you Stuart.
Happy New Year!