Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Papar and Semporna part 2

This Papar D1 cancellation has to be one of the foremost candidates for the best looking postmark of North Borneo. It is best struck in violet but also available in black. It would be interesting to know why these 2 different colours were used over its life span. And whether different inks were used in different months as I have only seen violet examples for December 1949.
This temporary hand stamp was made of rubber and needed replacing at regular intervals. With use, it gradually degrades and produces wavy lines which adds to its desirability. The 8 point star shows up very well in this example.
The small part cancel in black on the left margin is most probably a Jesselton Australian type transit marking. The mail were sorted at the General Post Office(GPO) in Jesselton before being forwarded towards their destination .

As the rubber date stamp deteriorates, an unattractive smudged cancel is produced. This one is in black ink and is most certainly another Papar D1.

This is the Semporna D1 temporary cancel and is much rarer than Papar D1. Even though SON(socked on nose), it would be preferable if it were on a larger stamp like the UPU (Universal Postal Union) issue to capture all its features. It was manufactured in the same way and has the same layout but somehow it is not as attractive as the Papar violet cancel. I think it is probably down to the different ink that was used. The waviness of the outline is also less pronounced.

This is either a Semporna D1 or a Keningau D1 or even a Papar D1 postmark as they are all temporary hand stamps with the same basic design. Papar D1 was in use for less than a year while the other two went on for 2 years.
Part 1 of this topic was in September 2011.
I will be travelling in the next few weeks. Posting will be rare or at best erratic.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

early japanese occupation 'English' cancels

Continuing from the previous war time topic. This stamp has a post date of 11 Mar 1942 which was during the early part of the japanese occupation of North Borneo. The japanese landed in Labuan on New Year's day of 1942. Jesselton fell by 9th of January and the governor in Sandakan surrendered on the 19th January.
The then current unoverprinted stamps  and hand stamps were allowed for postal purposes until the invading force had their system in place. This state of affairs continued until the English pre-war cds were phased out by October/November of 1942. The Train Mail cds were in use for a bit longer.
It is not surprising that these stamps are uncommon. A number of years ago, the full 1939 pictorial set with 1942 postmarks was sold well in excess of catalogue prices. I assume that most of the values of this set would have had philatelic cancels.

This is a Train Mail war tax stamp with the date of 17 Oct 1942. The 2 in the year is faint but I am fairly sure it is there. The train service was obviously still functional. The use of the train mail cds during occupation apparently ended on the 12th December 1942.

This is not strictly a war time stamp being dated 3 Nov 1941. This is just before the outbreak of the war. But there should not be many of these stamps around as most of Europe was already at war and not much mail would have made it there. Whatever were used locally were probably mostly destroyed during occupation or allied bombing.

Reference: The Sarawak Journal

Friday, 16 March 2012

An update on Jesselton R3 cover

We have an update on Lim Keng Fatt who was in his late 20s in 1919 when he posted this cover. My thanks to Bartholomew Chua and Justin Sunam Wong  of  the North Borneo History Enthusiasts society in Kota Kinabalu(formerly Jesselton) for providing further information. Such is the power of the internet.
Lim Keng Fatt was part of the Kinabalu guerrilla movement led by Albert Kwok which was trying to overthrow the Japanese occupying force in the second World War. The attempt was a failure. Lim Keng Fatt was captured and beheaded. He was 51. A fuller account is available in the following blog:
I have found further information in this book, Stories from Sabah History by F G Whelan:
But we need to clarify some dates here.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

A changeling or colour trial?

A prettier colour in comparison to the original. I can not find any reference to this shade. I have to conclude this is a changeling even though I have seen it offered without the overprint as a colour trial at a national stamp fair.
There is a slight defect in the bottom margin which would have affected its value. So somewhere along the line, the colour has been altered in an effort to enhance  interest. It goes to show as a mug like me paid way above its intrinsic value.
Apparently, by using solvents like methyl ethylene ketone MEK or toluene, it is possible to selectively dissolve yellow and red pigments leaving behind the blue shade.
What puzzled me initially was that the stamp has almost full gum. This is because no water was involved and so the gum was left undisturbed.
Despite doubts to its authenticity, I have enjoyed looking at it and it has its space in my album. There are a couple of anomalies with these 2 stamps that readers may have observed
Update: There is a mint single 1924 2c postage due stamp in the Royal Collection in black and turquoise blue which has been classified as ? changeling ? colour trial. There is also mention of a pair of the same stamps by Agas in the Sarawak Journal. So I feel the jury is still out with regard to the status of this stamp.

References: Sarawak Journal vol 29 p 178/179, vol 35 p 17 

Monday, 12 March 2012

An assortment of postmarks

I think this is Sandakan SL7 used between November 1955 and January 1956 according to Proud. It is unusual to see a straight paquebot marking on a stamp as they tend to be applied on an envelope.

A nice partial strike of a Tenom D2 cancel. This is a circle within a box postmark which is identical to the Sandakan D11 cancel. This is also faint evidence of a probable Singapore straits type arrival postmark.

This is the Sandakan D9 BNBC fiscal cancel with the St Andrew's cross. For some reason, it is common to find it either on a 3c or a high value stamp. 3c probably represented some sort of minor duty or license fee in those days.
A fair example of Sandakan D10 BNBC fiscal cancel with the small maltese cross. The size of the cancel and letters are larger than D9. It is also commonly found on the 3c values.

I guess it is not unusual to get an Amsterdam arrival marking on a NB stamp if one buys stamps from Netherlands. There would have been a fair amount of correspondence between Holland and NB in the times when a lot of the tobacco plantations were owned or ran by Dutchmen.

The first 2 digits of the year in the postmark were inverted and interchanged to form 6140 instead of 1940. An anomaly when making up the date plug occasionally happened. Only 2 letters of IL of the cancel can be seen. This is the train mail postmark and is often seen on this stamp. It reflects the then going rate for carriage by this means.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Hong Kong paquebots/arrival postmarks

Bought these four as a group. The 5c looks a bit suspect but is probably authentic. There is also evidence of the same cancellation being used three times on this stamp.

What a beauty! Not only is it a rare paquebot used carmine cross, it has both the straits type cancel and the paquebot marking. This postmark is different from the ones above in having HONG KONG in the top half of the cancel rather VICTORIA, a more uncommon paquebot marking.

I think this is HK, based on the boxed paquebot mark but note the maltese cross in the postmark. This is more typical of a Singapore straits type cancel. 
I find it more satisfying in this type of partial cancels where one has to do a bit of detective work and use a bit of imagination. On the right we have a faint green postmark, probably from Jesselton, having seen similar examples. On the left, again we have a faint cancellation with a narrow bar in the upper part and the letters ON and possibly a small part of the G in the lower part. This would correspond to the Victoria Hong Kong postmark.

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Labuan paquebot

SS Ulysses was a merchant ship of the Blue Funnel Line based at Liverpool. The company was founded by Alfred Holt in 1866. The majority of the fleet were cargo vessels even though there were some limited places for passengers. The Blue Funnel Line came to an end in 1988. Unfortunately, I could not find any information with regard to this ship. There were also other ships with the same name but of a different era.
This is a philatelic item sent to a Gustav Lund, a name which is also seen on other paquebot covers. He published a book on the paquebot marks of the Americas in 1984. 
I would have much preferred  a local stamp but this GB stamp seems very appropriate as Ulysses sailed under the British flag. The franking postmark is a bit faint and a second was applied obligingly, much to our benefit. I think this is SL8 in Proud's book but with a much later date. We also have a bonus straight PAQUEBOT marking. The cover was signed by the captain at the back.

 SS Ulysses in 1914
The back of  this non philatelic postcard carries a nice message. It reads " SS Ulysses near Las Palmas. Returning to Cape Town. Often look back on our great experiences on the tour. Yours G A Peffen " A common inexpensive paquebot item but so interesting.

A 1916 carmine cross 2c used with a Labuan D10 postmark must be really uncommon. Notice the letter "A" above the date. This postmark comes with a prefix, A or B or C or D. It is thought that these prefixes referred to the different postal clerks that were in attendance, each having a particular prefix in his or her hand stamp.
This is a transit cancellation or more probably a paquebot as Labuan straits type cancels were also used on paquebot mail. Labuan was incorporated into the Straits Settlements on the 1st January 1907.