Friday, 28 September 2012

some later day cancellations

Some of these cancellations are difficult to find especially good clear strikes. They are arguably more rare than some of the older and more well known postmarks. I do not have a good selection and they will be replaced eventually as I find better examples.

The Airport P. O. Jesselton cancellation was in use between 1966 and 1968 and was the only cancel of that time without "Sabah Malaysia" in its setting.

This Semporna D2 was in use for more than 10 years from 1951 but still it is not a postmark which is often seen.

Not a good example of a Sipitang D4 used between 1962 and 1963. Its older brother, the D2 which was employed 1910-17 is one of the most elusive of NB cancellations and is priced accordingly.

Again a poor example of a Tuaran D1. I am not sure whether dark violet is the usual colour.

Cannot fault this one, the Tamparuli D2 with star which was in use for less than a year from end of 1962. Why D2? Is there supposed to be a D1?

This Lahad Datu D15 was used between 1955 and 1963. The D16 is also a star cancel but much more uncommon and in use between 1962 and 63.

Tenom D14 with star dated SP (19)60 which was in use between 1955 and 1963.

This Papar D3 is the most common of the first 4 Papar cancellations as it was used for more than 10 years from 1951.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Stamp hunting in Amsterdam

Recently, I spent a few days in Amsterdam and with the consideration of the spouse was able to combine sight seeing with looking for NB stamps. I had high hopes as we know there was a very strong Dutch presence in North Borneo in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Click on Marcel to see what he wrote about his experience a few years ago on his blog. I was lucky to have a few days as one of the shops also sent me away to come back a couple of days later. It was a strange way of doing business. But in general, the Borneo countries are not popular in Holland. All 5 shops except one that I visited mainly has Nederlands and its colonies in stock.
In addition, there are also 2 street stamp markets a week on the part of Nieeuwezids Voorburgwal street just behind the Dam. The stamp shops are also all clustered around, a few minutes away.

We arrived on the Saturday afternoon when the street market was in full swing. Actually, there were about 7-8 stalls in the open air and a few collectors milling around. The first stall only had coins and paper money. The next  stall looked more promising as it clearly indicated it has commonwealth in stock. There were very few Borneo stamps. There were 7 NB stamps in his collection. One has a familiar blue smudge of a postmark. I could not believe my luck. I was feeling really hopeful but the rest of the stalls had nothing of interest to me but good stocks of  NL stamps and postcards. Saw a German guy there who also collected NB. So glad that I got there first.

The shop owner was probably a wholesaler. He has boxes and boxes of stuff. Even though he had no other customers, he asked me to go back 2 days later on a Monday. Come that morning and to annoyance of my spouse, we were asked to come back in an hour because he was on the phone. I was not going to give up that easily. It was all very disorganised. The stamps were randomly stored in sheets, envelopes, plastic bags etc in a folder. There were no postal history of note ( no Silam cover!). There were some nice stamps which I selected. I had to buy one of the sheets for a few stamps there, the rest being CTO. He seem to have priced the CTOs the same as normal cancellations. Not as good as I had hoped for but not bad overall in retrospect. Some of the stamps are shown below.

The popular blue smudge of a Silam Post Office cancelled stamp! Can just about made out the negative image of the letters "P" and "O" at the top and also the head and the front limbs of the lion. Got this at the street market. Pure fortune!
You can see my other 2 Silams here in the August post last year. Also in December, I "borrowed" a wonderful collection of Silam which included the much coveted orange red. You can see it here.

A double ring fiscal Sandakan D10, again on a 3c stamp, probably the levy paid on a fishing, hunting license etc. Note the nice Maltese cross. I am still looking for the Kudat and Jesselton versions of this BNBC strike.

                         A Sandakan D4 cancellation with the date Jan (1)89(inverted 2).

Also got this from the street stall. I think the cancellation is rather attractive and has been applied at least twice judging from the 3 rings visible. The cancellations are in deep blue. I think it is a Jesselton postmark on a Labuan stamp, not that uncommon. Suggestions would be welcomed.

Two stamps with thick bar cancels which look like Mempakuls but are actually the Labuan 9 bar K3 cancellations.

They both have the Sandakan K1 13 bar cancellations, the first indigenous postmark of NB to be used. It came into being in January 1884. SG1 was issued prior to 1 March 1883. What markings were they using at the beginning? pen cancels? AC cancels?
The second stamp also has a red Sandakan ?D3 and a violet fiscal cancel. We do not know much about these early fiscal cancels. It makes one wonder what sort of process this stamp might have gone through.

Here we have part of a Sandakan K4 19 bar cancel. I only noticed since coming back to UK that the overprint has the bottom part of "cent" missing, not an uncommon variety of this overprint and yet some dealers tried to charge a premium.

A Semporna D1. Are they always in violet? Note that the outline of this postmark is intact unlike the similar temporary cancel of Papar which often has wavy lines. These handstamps together with D1 of Keningau were made of rubber and yet only the Papar has the pretty wavy lines. The most probable reason was the Papar handstamp was cleaned using the wrong type of solvent which degraded and softened the rubber.

I had always wanted the train postmark on this NB train stamp. This one has been difficult and to find one in Amsterdam, of all places! It fits D10 rather than D9. But it has a year of 1957. Either D10 was in use earlier than 1962 or D9 in Proud's book is not accurate. I have a few other train mail stamps which do not fit either D9 or D10.

Last but not least, the other prized stamp of this expedition. A good clear "Elopura" on a good stamp. This has the setting which is shown in Proud's book with P, month, day and year which is probably the more uncommon version. Curiously, all the ones that I have seen with this setting has the year 1889. This item has only 2 numerals for the year. The aim is to get a "proper" one which should be dated 1884 to 1885 but I suspect these are mostly on cover and not tied to the stamps.
You can view my previous posts on Elopura here and here.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Ha Buey Hon

Ha Buey Hong (1871-1947) must have been responsible for the existence of hundreds or more of postal items of Sarawak. These included postal stationary, postcards and covers. Normally, philatelic items like these are held in low regard. Due to the sheer variety, interest and depth of his material, it has become a specialised area to collect within Sarawak philately.
This sole item that I have and probably will have, does give a lot of insight into his life. The front has an address for Bavaria, Germany. He literally corresponded with anyone around the globe who had a need for his services. The left bottom corner has his name and beneath it "C.C.C. 2724" in violet. This was his membership number for the Cosmopolitan Correspondence Club in Milwaukee. This club had over 6,000 members around the world who sent each other postcards.
While still working as a clerk for the Borneo Company, he was also trading as a stamp dealer. He became a skilful photographer and was personally responsible for much of the reproduction of his postcards. He used a very attractive cachet in violet with the address of his place of work. It was unusual that he was allowed to use his employer's address for his own private enterprise. It might have been that they hoped that he would be able to bring along extra business with his worldwide contacts.
The message shown demonstrated his line of work. I do admire his hand writing and a very fine signature to top it all. Thank you Mr Ha Buey Hon!

Update 6 June 2014. Thanks for the interest in this post. As a bonus I am adding this posthumous cover presumably sent by a family member after his death to fulfill a prior arrangement? It is also the only HBH cover that I know which has the very collectible AV2 cachet. The details of this cover is available in an issue of the Sarawak Journal last year.
If you are keen on collecting AV2s, try finding one on a non registered cover which are relatively rare.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Introducing Sarawak

Recently, I have accumulated a small collection of covers and postmarks of Sarawak. Rest assured that the bulk of my energies and resources will still be focused on NB. The history of Sarawak is arguably more interesting and has the romance of the white Rajahs. And also Sarawak did not have the sheer quantity of issues, overprints, varieties and CTOs that beset North Borneo stamps. Sarawak stamps are, however, lacking in interesting pictorial content. The postal history and postmarks are the strong points of collecting Sarawak. Being a neighbour in British Borneo, it is only natural to stray a bit into this territory.

This is the Kuching K1 cancellation of parallel bars on SG1 which was in use between 1864 and 1872. There was a question as whether it constituted 9 or 10 bars. This example does show clearly that it was made of 10 bars even though the bottom bar was shorter. It was thought that the hand stamp was made of ivory and through use the bottom bit broke off. However, there are examples on cover which shows a clear 9 bar cancel. So it was possible that there might have been 2 types of K1 type cancellations which were in use. It has also been argued that 10 bars is more symmetrical and would make a more perfect square. However there are stamps cancelled with a perfect well defined and complete 10 bars and these are invariably forged cancellations. Interestingly, the K1 illustrated in Ted Proud's book shows 11 bars.

Reference: Sarawak Journal

A partial K1 cancellation on a 1871 SG2 stamp, possibly a fake. It is very rare to find it on this issue of stamps as the use of the K1 was finished by 1872. K1 may also be found on stamps of the East Indies.

K2 with a "S" within a diamond of parallel bars. There are 10 bars here but it is of a different shape to K1. The ones in deep violet are more uncommon. They were in use between 1875 and 1892. The difficult task would be to try to find this cancel on Straits, Hong Kong or possibly Indian stamps. Its use on SG1 was also very uncommon.
The example on the left is possibly a fake with thinner lines with more squared proportions.

I rather like this one with its design and generous proportions. This is the D1 in Proud's classification. It should  be very nice on cover or on a strip of stamps. It is in black but there is at least one record of it in violet. On SG1, it would be extremely rare when genuinely used. 

This "PAID" PD1 marking shows that there is still a lot to be learned about postmarks and cancellations. It was used for about 6 months from December 1876 according to Proud but on a gold medal display in Stampex, it mentioned 1871 to 1877. The status of this mark is still open to question. It was thought that it was used to mark outstation mail arriving at Kuching destined for overseas. There is also some indication that it was employed as a form of registration mark.

Reference: Sarawak Journal

Got this smudged Lawas cancellation on piece for £1 from the recent society packet round. It is more interesting than I initially thought. It has a date of 9 JAN 16. 

I wondered why it was cancelled twice. On turning it the other way up, one can see JAN 61. It would appear that this was the initial cancel that was applied as it has more ink. When the postal clerk realised that he has inserted the year slug the wrong way round, he corrected it. He then applied another cancellation with the correct date and also the right way up.