Thursday, 26 July 2012

"Meiji" issue. Japanese Occupation 1943

                                           4c Mt. Kinabalu from the sea

                                         8c native prahu and travellers palms

This is a continuation to the posting in June 2011.
Despite the classification in the stamp catalogues, these were not strictly North Borneo stamps. In common with  the other JO stamps of Northern Borneo, they were issued for use throughout this region which was under the control of the Japanese Army. Kalimantan was under the control of the Japanese Navy. The confusion might have arisen due to the scenes depicted in the stamps which had been used in one form or another on previously issued North Borneo stamps.
The issue date was 29 April 1943 and they remained valid till the end of the war. They were printed in Batavia by G Kolff & co in sheets of 200 with numbers at the margin for each line. The numbers went from 1-10 as the original sheet of 200 was divided into 2 panes of 100 (10x10). On the left side the numbers are in ascending order going downwards with the reverse on the right margin as shown above.
Used stamps of this issue were normally postmarked at Kuching or Sibu as evident from surviving covers, the majority of which are philatelic in origin. There was probably difficulty in supplying the rest of the territory due to communication problems. Those stamps or covers with genuine Brunei or North Borneo JO cancellations should deservedly command a significant premium.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Air Mail hand stamp

A very clear airmail hand stamp from Jesselton dating from 2-3.6.1930. I think it was from Jesselton based on the shape of the propeller even though it is not an exact fit to the one in Proud's book. Similar hand stamps were used in Kudat, Lahad Datu, Sandakan and Tawau. The latter two, for whatever reason, are the most valuable.
These were used to mark mail carried on a series of well documented flights around North Borneo in June and July 1930. These North Borneo RAF survey flights of the coast were carried out by two Flying Boats of the 205 Squadron.
The majority of covers were philatelic but are nonetheless very sought after. They constituted a specialised area of collecting for North Borneo.
Update: Over the past 12 months, I have been able to examine a number of of covers posted from the various towns with the cachet. The conclusion is, after discussion with colleagues and despite what has been written, the same cachet or cachets were used on all the flights. I think there were one or possibly two handstamps which were carried on the planes themselves. It was likely that they were constructed locally with either rubber or a local hard wood. I favour the latter due to the clarity of the cancel above and also has to be durable enough to survive the war. Rubber would have degraded after a number of years.
I have yet to see a non philatelic cover from this series.

Somehow this 1930 Jesselton hand stamp survived the war. The post office in Jeselton was the only building in the area to remain intact. It was used specially to mark the first flight by Malayan Airways from Jesselton to Singapore via Labuan and Kuching. It took place on 7.6.1949. The covers were postmarked the previous day at Jesselton. The postal rate was 25c. The name of  Thomas Tai is not infrequently seen on philatelic covers of that period which were sent to Kuching. Apparently, he worked at the post office.
The old post office in Jesselton/Kota Kinabalu is situated on the northern end of Gaya Street is now the local tourist office.

I have included this nice philatelic item bought for very little money. It has an attractive fancy type airmail cancellation which can be found on some USA and Philippines covers. In addition to the airmail hand stamp, there is also a Houston Texas cancellation in red violet. It transited in Galveston on its way to Chicago.   

There is a series of these philatelic Java-Borneo airmail covers posted from Balikpapan. This one has the appropriate stamp.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

The 2, 4 and 10c provisionals of 1916

The reason for these overprints may be due to supplies of these values running low as well as a further consignment lost at sea due to enemy action as part of WW1. The surcharges were carried out at the Government Printing Office at Sandakan probably around February 1916.
The variety inverted "S" occurred on stamps 20, 65 and 70 on a sheet of a hundred. 25 stamps were surcharged at a time. The stamp on the right has the error. But also note the thinner numeral and letters. The letter "e" also seems to form a complete circle.

Here we have a used pair on piece with the one of the pair with the error, almost certainly cancelled by favour. It has been recorded that a rogue employee of the printing office was using the error surcharge on single stamps on purpose. Therefore stamps in pair with the normal surcharge are most likely to be genuine whereas single stamps can be suspect. The 2c stamp with the thinner surcharge could well be one of these.
The normal p15 stamp is actually more uncommon than a p14 inverted "S" stamp. The p15 also exist with inverted "S" but it must be quite hard to find. The surcharge of the stamp on the right also seems to be a lighter shade. It has been written that that the 4c and 10c surcharges were carried out in both carmine or vermillion but the colour differences are probably not that clear cut.

Here we have a mint block of 4 with the top right stamp having the inverted "S". Lastly, there is also a variety of the surcharge where the letter "S" has fallen off and was later inserted by hand. This exist for both the 4c and 10c surcharges. They are very rare and I have yet to have sight of one. 
But the most valuable stamp of the group is the 2c double surcharge. I have seen one stamp so far but it looks more like an offset rather than a true double.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Airport/Lapangan Terbang post office

Definitely the most recent of the covers posted on this site. This philatelic registered cover bears the LTA postmark for Lapangan Terbang Antarabangsa/ International Airport at Kota Kinabalu. The post office was not busy as far as mail was concerned.

This is the Brunei Lapangan Terbang/ Airport D5 postmark with a B prefix. Readers might have noticed the name of Brian Cave. He was a very distinguished editor of the Sarawak Journal as well as a past president of the society.

A purely philatelic cover but attractive for several reasons. It has a clear Singapore Airport B cancellation of  5APR65 on two Sabah overprinted stamps. These stamps were eligible for use due to the then recent formation of Malaysia. Singapore was an initial and short term member.
It has a nice red cachet marking the first Lufthansa flight between Singapore and Frankfurt but posted to Athens. It did not make it to its destination due to a inadequate address(?on purpose) of "general delivery, Airport, Athen". It was marked Retour in red for return mail.

The back has many markings but it is mostly Greek to me! There seems to be an airport cancellation for Athens with an arrival date of 6th April 65. There are another 2 types of Athens cancellation for dates of 13th and 15th of April, one of which was possibly from the dead letter office. Strangely enough there is also a cachet in violet from Frankfurt Airport where it was retained for 3 days before returning to sender. It is difficult to know where this letter ended up eventually as there was no sender's address.

A stamp that was posted before to confirm that it was indeed the Singapore Airport postmark on this Sabah stamp and looks like it has the Airport A cancellation.