The earliest known picture postcard sent from North Borneo was dated 3 Feb 1903. The card and the scene depicted was from the Philippines. This was originally in the Cassels collection.
The following 2 foreign postcards consisted of one outgoing card from the Dutch Indies but used in Kudat and one incoming postcard from Italy.
But there were probably more than one Van Houten. F Van Houten was the planter and G was probably a relative in Holland. Confusingly, there was also a J Van Houten given as manager of the Langkon estate in a newspaper advert in September 1906. I presume J was the same person as F.
The Langkon estate was originally planted with tobacco under the ownerhip of Houten. This was absorbed by the bigger public company of Langkon North Borneo Rubber Ltd in 1906 with Houten appointed as manager.
There was a glowing report of his competence in the initial company meeting in June of that year. However, by the fifth general meeting of the shareholders in November 1911, he was severely criticised and a new manager was in post.
In March 1911, F Van Houten was mentioned as the manager of Tungud Rubber Estates Ltd. in Labuk. Apparently, he was appointed to run the estate the previous year but had to close due to the lack of funding as he overextended the initial expenditure provided. He asked the governor for compensation unsuccessfully and was bankrupted.
Some old photographs from the Langkon Estate. One has the impression that estates like this were mini self sufficient towns and communities.
It was originally postmarked in Sinalunga, Siena with a nice square circle cancellation on 11/8/07. It was sent by a Cav. Ferrari, but not the same as Philip von Ferrary who was said to have owned the most complete collection of postal rarities in the early 20th century including the Treskilling Yellow of Sweden and the 1856 one-cent "Black on Magenta" British Guiana.
We have the clearly dated cancellations for Jesselton and Sandakan. The GPO was located at Jesselton which was the main centre for incoming mail except for mail from or via HK which went directly to Sandakan when bounded for destinations on the east coast.