Thursday, 30 May 2013

Some more cancellations of the NB 1961 issue

I originally posted some interesting cancellations on this issue in October and December 2011. You can see them again on the links here and  here.

Both strips of stamps show the star cancel D23 of Kudat which is unusual in having the star towards the bottom of the datestamp. It was used between 1955 and 1963. There is also a more uncommon Kudat cancel with the star located at the top. Somehow, it is not classified in Ted Proud's book. You can see it on the link here.

The Papar D3 in the strip of two should not be uncommon as it was in use for more than 10 years between 1951 and 1963. The star cancel D4 is more sought after. I got it for a couple of ringgit in KK recently. Not a bad bargain. It was used between 1961 and 1963. Actually, the date above of 15 OC 63 is exactly a month past the latest date given in Proud's book.
You can see my nice but weathered Papar D4 cover here.

A relatively uncommon Semporna D2 on this issue with a period of use between 1951 and 1963. 

This is a clear example of Sandakan D37 which was used for under 2 years between Jan 1961 and Oct 1962.

I have no qualms in posting this superb Tamparuli D2 again. It was apparently in use between November 1962 and September 1963. But we have a faint date here of 2 OC 63.

The Jesselton D37 is probably the most attractive of the star cancels. The star here characteristically has a hole in the centre. It was used for over 2 years between 1961 and 1963.

This is the more uncommon Jesselton star cancel D38 which according to Proud was used for about 3 months between June and September 1963. However, the date here of 13 JU 64 does extend the period of use significantly.

A bit of geometry can help in distinguishing between the the 2 different datestamps. As can be seen, a line drawn from the letter "E" through the star falls on different places at the rim, on either side of the letter "B" in Borneo.

This second type of the so called "Australian" cancellations can be quite uncommon. This is Jesselton D39 which was in use for less than a year from November 1962 . It is no wonder that I do not have similar quality cancels for the other towns. This one has a adjustable plug for the time of day which is not usually present in other similar datestamps.

This is not clear but I think it is the "Australian" cancellation for Keningau. It should be fairly uncommon and was used for about 10 months from December 1962.

It is a definite pity that this is a very faint Australian type Mobile P O D2. The dates of usage is given as  between late 1962 and September 1963. However, the date here looks like 08OC63.

There are also registration cancellations on this issue. This is the Labuan R7 which was used between 1949 and 1963.

This Australian type Tawau registration cancel is not listed in Proud's book. The date here is 2MY63.

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Some fiscals

Some of the most interesting adhesives and cancellations are found among the fiscals. I have not shown any for some time now as good items are not easy to come by. Anyway, over the past many months, I have found some interesting items worthy of sharing.

A part of a large company fiscal cancellation that should read " Chartered Bank of India, Australia & China"  and in the middle would have been " Mansfield Bogaardt & Co / AGENT"

The Chartered Bank seal on a cover from Kuching.

An example of a fiscal cancellation on an early adhesive. Unfortunately, in most cases, they are are too faint to be identified. There must be quite some early markings of this type which are yet to be recorded. The item was further marked by 2 lines to prevent reuse.

A very early "The Magistrate Court /Sandakan" fiscal cancellation. There are some other letters as well which reads "SAND/STRA". Note there is a large tear on one side. I have some other early fiscal adhesives with similar tears. This was to prevent reuse.

You would have to agree that this is a rather handsome part cancellation of "R. Lorentzen & Co Sandakan" who were commercial and shipping agents as well as merchants in Sandakan.

I think this is a latter day Magistrate's Court mark with a nice company crest on a pre WWII adhesive.

Anyone who can decipher the 3 separate fiscal cancellations here deserves a prize! There are two in black and one in blue.

This one should be rather special. Some of the sifus out there maybe able to enlighten me. It is a used REVENUE perfin on a 1909 24c adhesive. This particular value is not listed in part 3 of The Stamps and Postal History of North Borneo nor mentioned in the Sarawak Journal which leads me to conclude that it is very very uncommon.

Thursday, 16 May 2013

A contrived Sabah Kembalikan/Retour cover

Some postal history items definitely go beyond the purely philatelic! I obtained this item recently on account of the various interesting and rarely seen markings(postmarks!) which does tell a story.

It was posted in France on 17-1-89 addressed to a Mr Dyak in a non existent street in Jesselton, Sabah , North Borneo. Of course, no such person exists with this surname and by 1989, Jesselton has been known by its more modern name of Kota Kinabalu for many years.
The sender has clearly included his details knowing full well that it will be returned. Towards the bottom, the cover has been endorsed on 1/2/89 with " alamat 'dak lengkap" which is Malay for "incomplete address". But it languished in the post office until 16FEB89 when it was decided that it should be "Retour". This can be seen by the Kota Kinabalu N7 datestamp.
In addition, we have the violet "return to sender" cachet which is also present faintly on the front of the cover. Bellerive-sur-Allier is a very small town in central France. Probably, there is not a lot going on there apart from farming. Collecting postal history would have been a good hobby for some.
This is an interesting aspect of postal history. Just as a reminder, my previous posts of "Retour" material include:

 posted April 2012 click here.

 also posted April 2012 click here.

 posted July 2012 click here.

Sunday, 12 May 2013

What is a postmark?

You might have noticed that I rarely uses this term to describe my material. We all refer to datestamps as postmarks. Actually, a datestamp is a type of postmark. Postmark is an all encompassing term to describe any markings on an item which has gone through the postal process. This would include datestamps, killer bar cancellations and also all the extraneous markings indicating routing, directory service, postage due, censorship, registration, special delivery, forwarding, carriage by special transportation and many others.
Datestamps are postmarks which show the date and sometimes the time of posting as well. Cancellations are those portions of the postmarks which marks(cancels) the adhesive to prevent it from reuse. A purist would also not describe an adhesive as a stamp until it has been cancelled (or stamped!) after passing through the normal postal process.
Therefore there are no such things as mint stamps and more usefully described as "adhesives".. It also follows that a CTO item can not be consider as a stamp either because it was purely manufactured and has never passed through the mailstream. A cancelled by favour item may or may not have passed through the mailstream which will make it difficult to be pedantic. Postage dues are sometimes described as "labels".
It is all very interesting and confusing. At the end of the day it does not really matter so long we derive pleasure from whatever we are collecting.

Thursday, 9 May 2013

A variation in the "British Protectorate" overprint

The 1897 issue of stamps were overprinted with "British Protectorate" between 1901 and 1905 for the various values with the $5 and $10 being the last to be overprinted. Recently, I noticed some significant differences in the setting of this overprint. However, it was well recorded in part 2 of the NB handbook that such differences were found on the 1c, 2c, 3c, 4c, 6c, 8c and 10c adhesives.
The main reason for this overprint was to create yet another set of stamps for collectors. The official reason was to publicise the granting of protectorate status by the British Government in 1888 to the Borneon territories in an effort to control the competitive land grab between North Borneo and Sarawak from Brunei. 

My measurements are slightly different from the handbook. There is about 1mm in difference in distance between the words of the overprint. The stamp on the left also has the double ring Sandakan BNBC cancellation, most commonly found on the 2c which may reflect fiscal use for some sort of minor license fee. It has a faint date of  13 FEB 03.

We have a similar diffference here with the postage due stamp. Note that both stamps on the right were CTO.

The specimen item has the same setting which would imply that the wider setting probably came first.

Both the stamps here have the same wider setting. There is a nice Lahad Datu D3 datestamp as shown.  It would seem that the wider setting came first and when the stamps were prepared later for CTO at the London printers, the narrower setting was used for this particular value.
The handbook records 3 different settings of the overprint for this value of 11.5mm, 12mm and 12.5mm.

These two postally cancelled stamps have slightly different setting as well.  The handbook records 2 different settings of  12.5mm and 13.5mm.
The left stamp has a very attractive but faint blue Lahad Datu cancel. I thought it was a possible "Gayah" cancel from a distance but that would have been a very very late usage. We also have a very nice blue Jesselton cancellation, D2, but it is not possible to make out the date.

Again, we have different settings for both these used stamps. The first stamp also has a D2, this time in black. The date of 31 OCT 07 is quite clear.
Here we have a specimen stamp with the wider setting which again implies that this was the initial setting that was used.

Thursday, 2 May 2013

A study in sepia

Well, this week, I would not be showing any stamps or covers for a change. The following images were taken during my recent return to my old home. One of the most interesting aspects of philately is its connection to local history. Each stamp can potentially tell a story. The more markings there are the better. Consequently, the more untidy and unattractive a stamp looks, conversely, the more interesting it could be. Obviously, the great advantage lies with covers, postal stationary and used postcards.
What follows is an attempt to evoke old memories by utilising a modern photographic technique. Colour photographs can be so glaringly obvious and leaves little to the imagination. It can also make them less interesting.

 St Mary's Primary School in Sandakan, mea alma mater, is the oldest school in Sabah dating from 1883.

 St Michel's Anglican Church, a short distance away, is the oldest stone building in the state. Construction started in 1893 and took 30 years to complete, a labour of love by the very Rev William Henry Elton.

 The English Tea House on Red Hill Top used to be a colonial residence.

 Agnes Keith House, free entrance for all Malaysians over 55!

 Inside the house, the pic is blurred 'cause the place is haunted. That 's my excuse.

 William Pryer's memorial in a historical setting in Sandakan. Just showing the top part as the bottom is somewhat overgrown with weeds.

 Another memorial nearby.

 The inscriptions are self explanatory. The original monument was commissioned in 1885 and this looks like a more recent replacement.

 The iconic building of Harrisons & Crosfields, the largest trading company in colonial North Borneo in its heyday.

 Sam Sing Kung, the temple of the three saints by the padang, is the oldest structure still standing in Sandakan. It was built in 1887.

 Next to the temple is the Sandakan Recreation Club or SRC, was the haunt of the elite in colonial times. It is looking forlorn and in need of some TLC. Alongside is the Singapore Rd which was the original Chinese residential area. I have many fond memories of this area. Towards the back of the SRC complex was a very old and huge Kayu Hantu or Ghost Tree which straddled the road and was home to a large number of noisy birds. It was removed when the road was widened. It used to fill me with awe and gave a rather mysterious atmosphere to the area.

 Looking South West from the temple on the hill, Puu Jih Shih.

 Looking South from same location where years ago would have been full of logs and sawmills.

 This time looking South East.

 Going to the War Memorial Park in Sandakan was a very moving experience especially when looking at the displays in the small museum. 

This was part of the steam engine used to generate electricity, sometimes covertly to power the secret radio transmitter of the interns.

 Part of an old bulldozer used in construction by the prisoners.

 The gardens are tranquil and well maintained.

Onto Tanjung Aru in Kota Kinabalu where we were successful in going to Tenom via Beaufort by train mostly and back the same day. It normally takes 2 days due to the quirky train time table. There is a way to do it in one day but that is another story.

 This is the luxury train for rich tourists but it only goes as far as Papar and then back.

This bone shaker including wooden seats and natural ventilation for the journey between Tenom and Halogilat probably has not changed since the last time I was on it 38 long years ago. All changed at Halogilat for another train to Beaufort otherwise one is headed back to Tenom again as had happened to some tourists.

 Riding alongside the gorge of the Padas river with many a torrential rapid. The water has the colour and the consistency of a good cup of Teh Si which is a delicious local tea sweetened with lots of evapourated milk.

 Some parts of it are calmer but never a drop of clear water.

 A popular photo taking opportunity on any train.

 More rapids.

 Hotel Gaya Sixty3 on Gaya Street which was base during our stay in KK. A place to see old photos of North Borneo which were used to adorn all available wall space.

 The old post office on Gaya Street, a very attractive building, is now a tourist office.

 Jesselton Hotel on Gaya Street looking good.

 The Atkinson Clock Tower as viewed from a side lane of Gaya Street.

 View from observatory platform towards the south with the clock tower among the trees.
Update Found this image of Jesselton from a similar aspect taken probably early 1900s. The change is very interesting in the amount of land that has been reclaimed since. Gaya Street was next to the sea!

 Looking north west. Pulau Sepangar in the distance.

Mt Kinabalu as seen from the departures level of the new airport.

Magnificient! Residents of KK are so fortunate with such beauty by their door step. However, being biased, for its rich history, the quietude, the seafood and the beauty that is not so apparent, I still prefer my "lao jia" of Sandakan.