Wednesday, 24 December 2014

25c "Triple P" and $1 "Albino stop" 1901 British Protectorate stamps

Christmas Gift 3

This is a rather unusual item with duplication of part of the overprint. Two extra "P"s are seen clearly on either side of the overprint. So we have a largely albino overprint on the left whereas the one on the right would be found on the next stamp. It is not listed in any stamp catalogue that I know of.
In addition, we have a rather nice fiscal cancel from Darby & Co. W G Darby was the most wealthy and influential of the expatriates working there. He literally had a finger in every pie. He later on sold out to Harrisons & Crosfield but still retained overall control. He imported the first car into North Borneo, a Chevrolet Baby Grand, in 1914 to take the few miles from his home on Bukit Merah to his office. This was before the Governor had an official motor. There were only a few miles of metaled road which were probably started around 1910.
There is a date for New Year's eve of 31 DEC 1906. Have a Happy Happy New Year!

I was really excited when I found this. Unfortunately it is not an unlisted missing stop variety that I had hope. Instead there is a "stop" or period which is largely albino with an indentation seen at the back just above and to the left of the star of the dealer's mark. Some of these dealer's marks are really interesting.

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Two very early Jesselton items

Christmas Gift 2

The following two items from Jesselton have probably the earliest dates recorded from this post office for a adhesive and postal history respectively.

Here is a very clear Jesselton D2 with a date of 26 SEP 00. I have seen one for October but otherwise this is the earliest date that we have so far. Proud gives an EKD of 27 OCT 00. The district officer transferred from Gantian on 10 SEP 00. The treasury moved on 22 SEP 00 and I think this was the date when the post office was opened rather than the earlier date. The post office was an integral part of the treasury in the early days.
There is another later D3 cancellation of JUN 1904 which intrigues. Fortunately it seems to overlay the earlier cancellation. One possible explanation was that this high face value adhesive was on a fiscal document that was later re-endorsed after a loan was paid off.
Please note that I have called this an adhesive rather than a stamp. By definition, a stamp in philatelic terms is an adhesive that had passed through the postal process and "stamped" by a postally valid cancellation.

This is fortunately more straight forward. This postal stationary card was sent from Sandakan to Jesselton with a Christmas and New Year greeting. Fortunately the initial cancellation was not clear and the receiving postal clerk found it fitting to add an arrival postmark. The date of 19 DEC 00 is the earliest date that we know for a Jesselton cancellation on a cover or card. Also note the day 19 is eccentric in this cds.
See another way, this is one of the earliest Christmas card from North Borneo. Merry Christmas!

Thursday, 11 December 2014

North Borneo 1916 4c on 6c with raised inverted "S"

Christmas Gift 1

In the next few weeks I shall try to do my best to dig out some interesting stuff for viewing.

raised inverted S

Lars Pasboro's copy at Spink sale 2007

Stanley Gibbons lists a variety of this 1916 4c on 6c provisional as 187b and is described as S inserted by hand. It is only known used. However, an image of this variety is very rare as it hardly ever comes up at an auction. This also implies that it is very scarce and the valuation in SG is at best a low estimate. 
After much research, I was able to trace a copy which was sold by Spink in 2007 for a sizable sum. This was from the estate of Lars Pasboro who was from Sweden. He was a very knowledgeable collector of North Borneo philately as well as a keen supporter of the Sarawak Specialist Society. He wrote monographs on the earliest issue of North Borneo stamps as well as the postal stationary cards. The image of his copy is shown above and is used as a reference.
My copy has a part Kudat cancellation with a date of 30 JUL 1924. It is important to note that the cancellation overlays the overprint as fakes are known on used stamps especially of the CTO variety. In contrast to SG and also part 3 of The Stamps and Postal History of North Borneo, I would described this as a raised inverted S rather than hand inserted, the mechanics of how it happened is open to speculation. It would seem to me that the plug was damaged and displaced upwards. The position on the sheet should correspond to that of the normal inverted S. On a block of 50, it would be position 65 and 70 for this value. You can see my other stamps of this issue by clicking here.

I have found further information that may explain the origin of this variety. As evident on a sheet of the 10c on 12c sold by Spink in 2003, the right margin of the upper 2 stamps ie stamps 60 and 70 were folded over at the perforations so that when the surcharge was applied, the "S" was missed as it was applied on the folded margin. The missing "S" was inserted by hand with a handstamp having a solitary "S". On the 4c on 6c, not only was the "S" inserted in an inverted position, it also missed the baseline of the surcharge by about a mm.

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Shades of North Borneo

Why are these two 1889 3c stamps having almost the same slate colour as the 5c? Were they unrecorded colour trials or washed or changed chemically? But the bar cancellations look very fresh and would have affected if chemicals were used.
The Fournier and Carame forgeries are usually of a different shade of colour but I am fairly sure these are not forgeries as the corner ornaments are well centred and there is a tiny gap where the right side of the scroll for Postage & Revenue  which does not touch the frame below. There is no gap with the forgeries.

And what about these different shades for the 1889 2c stamp? These 4 fulfill the criteria for genuine copies with good 14 bar cancels. It is impossible to tell whether they were CTO or postally used.

How about these two? Fresh specimens with almost full gum at the back. There can not be more than 1 sheet with this lighter shade. Worth looking out for in my opinion.

PS I have added an update on the Kamigata forgery of a NB/Labuan stamp in a previous post. You can read it by clicking here.

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Some old maps of Borneo

Some of the old maps that I have accumulated over the past year.

I have a date of 1880 when it appeared in a book or magazine. It was a map of Dutch Borneo and Celebes by G L Funke in Amsterdam and is very probably a lot older than 1880 and probably early 1840s. This is very interesting as it shows the areas under Dutch, Brunei and Sulu influence or rule. Should be pre Brooke as no separate country for Sarawak. It also showed the mythical lake to the east of Kinabalu. Sandakan Bay was noted but no Sandakan on Pulau Timbang. It was probably too small a village or more likely not in existence as the earliest mention of Sandakan town was in the 1870s.

This old map here was about 1840. This is a very detailed missionary map. Again there was only Sandakan Bay noted. So was Sandakan really the "place that was pawned"? It seems unlikely if it was originally the name of the bay. Further south, Mt Madai, Mt Budsilan and Giong Bay were recorded.
On the the west was Abai, Ambong Bay and Pulo Gaya etc but no Tawaran even though this was a very early settlement. Looking carefully, we also have Kina Balu Lake. The Sulu influence on this map extends much further south into Kalimantan including Tarakan. North Borneo would have been very different if Tarakan was included because of the rich oil deposits there.
Of interest as well is the island of Taganak off Sandakan Bay. This was a favourite picnic site for the ruling classes in colonial times. But it was returned to the Philippines even though it is part of the Turtle Islands chain. On a clear day, it can be seen from the Grandview area of Sandakan. 

Somehow have a year of 1862 for this Borneo map of French origin. It was obviously from a magazine as there is a French article on the back about Dyaks and Rajah Brooke. Only a few places of North Borneo are noted here. There is a place called Paytan in the north? The mountain ranges are well demarcated and again looking carefully, there is the lake again, lying just south east of Mt Kinabalu. 

This old French map dates from 1848 and has a lot more names of places especially on the west coast. It also showed a non existent lake near Kinabalu. Sandakan was noted but I am not sure whether it referred to the settlement or bay.  Further south the "Ghioung" area is rather bare. On the west side, "Taouaran" is noted as well as Tampasouk", "Kimmani", Gaya and others which I have not heard of.
The rest of the 4 maps including Labuan, Brunei, Sarawak and Kalimantan are also very interesting. Note the differences in spelling as compared to the modern names.

Update 26 5 2016 Found another old interesting map dating from late 19th century.

Update 17 2 2017 Got this copy of an original map in a museum. Could be 17th century I think.

Thursday, 20 November 2014

A few nice fiscals

These are some of the bits and pieces I got this year.

An uncommon block of 4 x $2 reversed JUDICIAL perfins.

This has the rather unusual fiscal stamp of (Sh)ip not respons(ible)/ Tawau whar(f).

I think this is rather beautiful for a Chinese fiscal manuscript cancel.

And this one with part of signature and a date.

Why was there a tax required at the dispensary?

Thursday, 13 November 2014

North Borneo BMA with Labuan AFPO 234 cancels

These cancellations on North Borneo BMA stamps are rather unusual and perhaps uncommon. It is rather faint in violet and should read AIR FORCE P.O. 234. They were from Labuan.

From the 2 enhanced montage of stamps, one can probably see most of this cancellation. The date was 1 FE 46 and towards the lower part one could see a 234. This would correlate with the Labuan Air Force P. O. 234 cancellation and according to Ted Proud and Stephenson Stobbs was used between 12 JU 45 and 1 AP 46. Proud gives this 350 points in terms of value and that of course that depends on the quality of the cancellation. The concurrent Air Force Post Office No 56 cancellation which was probably only used in September and October 1945 is very rare and has been allocated 2000 points by Proud.
Further research shows that AFPO 234 is probably not that uncommon as various covers are recorded as well as cancellations on Sarawak BMA stamps as well. Most of these are probably philatelic in origin, as with this short set. We can assume that most of these material would naturally reside in Australia.

Bristol Beaufighter planes 93 Squadron

The first landing by the Australian Army occurred on 10 June 1945. Due to the lack of suitable ground, the first aircraft of 93 Squadron RAAF did not arrive until July 1945 and the remainder came to Labuan on 5 August 1945. One of the unfortunate consequences of their actions was the sinking of Mia Moanai, the private yacht of the Rajah of Sarawak. There were further mishaps and the squadron was downgraded towards the end of December 1945 and then transferred by March 1946 to Japan. The squadron was disbanded on 22 August 1946.

Thursday, 6 November 2014

1892 1c on 5c slate with raised stop

This would constitute a new finding and is not described in any catalogue that I know off. These provisionals were issued due to low stocks of the 1c which was used for local postcards as well as those postcards to Labuan and Brunei. According to part 1 of The Stamps and Postal History of North Borneo, 20,000 copies were surcharged around July 1892 and there were 4 settings of the surcharge on the 5c stamp.

This is a mint copy and the "stop" or period is clearly raised. Do take a note of the position of the "1" in relation to the "n" below.

Here we have a used pair with a clear Sandakan cancellation. The stamp on the right has the raised "stop" which I did not noticed initially due to the red postmark. The position of the "1" in relation to the "n" below is different to the mint copy. This means that this raised stop variety is present in at least 2 of the 4 settings used in this overprint.

This is from my mint sheet of 50 and is from position R5/2 ie the second stamp of row 5.  Again, this is different setting especially the adjacent stamp in contrast to the used pair which means the raised stop is probably not that uncommon and is present in at least 3 of the different settings for this overprint that we know of. You can see my sheet of 50 in a previous posting by clicking here. 
I would concur that the art and joy of philately would include the uncovering of errors and imperfections.

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Sarawak Sibu Linotype

I bought this short BMA set at our recent society auction. It is clearly philatelic with a combination of corresponding values from North Borneo and Sarawak. The British Military Administration looked after Brunei, Labuan, North Borneo and Sarawak as a single region. The BMA overprinted stamps were eligible for use throughout the area. No Brunei were overprinted in this way. It was said that there were no spare sheets of mint stamps left after the war which I do not think was true.

You can see the setting is the reverse of that for Sandakan. There are 3 main subtypes of this linotype. This is type 1 and is quite common whereas types 2 and 3 are difficult to find. Type 2 has smaller numerals and has a slightly different setting. Type 3 does not have the year and both day and month are in numerals.
We have a clear common date of 17/DEC. 1945 and in fact this is the date on cancelled for favour sets and covers. The above is rather unusual and attractive with combinations of NB and Sarawak adhesives on piece.

Thursday, 23 October 2014

North Borneo BMA set with Sandakan Linotype

These few weeks I will try to include things that I shared or bought at our recent annual meeting. This set of BMA stamps which is mostly in pairs was a lucky break. I really should not get into the details how it came about. It was part of my short display at the meeting.

The Sandakan Straits Linotype cancellation is by no means uncommon but it would be rare to see a full BMA set with this cancellation. There are 2 main sub types from my recollection and it is to do with the position of the 3 lines with each other. Sandakan is probably the commonest of the linotypes from North Borneo. The others are Kudat, Lahad Datu, Tenom, Beaufort and Jesselton. The last 3 are rare and Jesselton is available only as a proof copy.

These cancellations were used as a temporary basis while awaiting the more sturdy cancellers which are the so called Australian types to arrive. The linotypes were assembled in Singapore and the replacements were presumably made in Australia. According to Proud, the range of use for Sandakan was between 31.12.45 to 21.6.46 . The date on this cancelled by favoured set is MAR. 1946/20. The stop or period after the month is not shown in Proud's book.

This is a much clearer version from my collection but alas the stamp is imperfect.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Two North Borneo newspaper wrappers

I feel that I owe readers a good post this week. And thank you for your support meanwhile. One of the wrappers below is fresh off the auction at our annual meeting of The Sarawak Society last weekend in Bournemouth. It was very enjoyable meeting a good number of members with similar interest and attitude. And the auction, which is the main draw, offers a wide variety of items from our territories of Brunei, Labuan, North Borneo and Sarawak at sensible prices. This is because we only have to pay a 3% buyers premium as compared to 20% for most auction houses. No worries about forgeries. The members would see to that.

Really if one is serious about collecting these areas, it is definitely easier to progress by being a member of the society. I have only been an active member for the past 5 years. The annual fee is held at 15 pounds sterling which really does not cover the cost of the 4 journals that we send out. A member is also allowed to partake in our auction, write for the journal and of course join us at our Spring and Autumn annual meetings where you will be made to feel very much at ease.

Alright, back to these 2 newspaper wrappers. You would have noticed that they were addressed to the same person which was my main reason for buying the bottom item last weekend. There was competition but I was prepared to go much higher than anyone else. I believe the second version is much more uncommon.

The first issue of The North Borneo Herald and Official Gazette was printed and published on 1st March 1883 by Thomas James Keaughran at Office No.1 Dent Road, Kudat. This was the first capital of North Borneo. By the time of the issue in April of 1885, the name has changed slightly to The British North Borneo Herald and Official Gazette. It was then published at the Government Printing Office at Sandakan by William Jacob Rozario. The capital had moved to Sandakan at the end of 1883 or early 1884.

By 1892, the Borneo Official Gazette was published separately as the back pages of The BNB Herald became popular with advertisers. It was a pity because a lot of information was present in the Gazette especially official announcements and appointments. These two news sheets were sent out separately as seen by the above examples. Earlier wrappers were endorsed for postal passage by the uncommon Lion cds and subsequently the undated circular Lion 1 cent cancellation. Examples will not be shown here due to a recent attempt at forging the latter cancellation on cover which fooled even some experienced collectors.

Ps I have updated one of my recent post. You can read it by clicking here.

Update Just some information on Alleyne Ireland Esq (1871-1951). He was an American commentator who visited the Far East early in the early 1900s. From the observations of his travels, he wrote a book The Far East Tropics. Chapter 3 was devoted to North Borneo where he was critical of some aspects of government as well as the building of the railway. This was mostly the responsibility of the board of directors in London. However, he was full of praise for the ability and dedication of the various officers.

Friday, 10 October 2014

Two recent Sabah covers

Here are a couple of covers which I had cancelled by helpful staff at 2 post offices in Sabah recently.
I make no apologies for showing them as someone has to record these modern postmarks. And also I am too busy to prepare anything too detailed. This weekend, we are off to Bournemouth for the annual AGM weekend of the Sarawak Society which would include a very good auction as well as displays from various members.

This is the cancellation for the mini post office at Bandar Kim Fung at mile 2.5 Labuk Rd Sandakan. It should read PPM (pejabat pos mini) Elopura. 

The international airport post office cancellation LTA Kota Kinabalu has remained the same since I last obtained a cancelled cover there 2 years ago. But the postal rate is now $2 for overseas ordinary mail as compared to $1.50 for registered post 2 years previously. You can see my related post by clicking here.

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Beaufort D3 year "9"

From not having any, I managed to get hold of two over a couple of weeks.

Service resumes albeit a bit late this week. I was in Sabah and then Hong Kong. We stayed in Mongkok and watched part of the general student sit down protest at first hand. The air was never cleaner as long stretches of Nathan Rd was closed. The crowds were out as usual.
Well back to these two beauties. The Beaufort D3 only has "9" for a large part of the year 1909. The reason is unknown but perhaps they have lost or ran out of some the numeral inserts. But anyway it was replaced by D4 in Dec 1909.   
It definitely looks unique and interesting. I would like a copy on the 1909 issue of pictorials. We have clear dates here of  20 MAR 9 and 14 JUN 9.

Thursday, 11 September 2014

What really is the meaning of "Pergo et Perago"? I proceed I strive and I accomplish?

It is obviously in Latin and is a popular motto for quite a few educational institutions here in England. Latin can be regarded as one of the mother tongues of the western languages in common with Greek and
The English translation for "Pergo et Perago" is generally accepted as "I undertake and I achieve" but it is probably an over simplistic attempt. Each of these two words can have several slightly different meanings and the essence may get lost in translation. One educational institution has translated it as "Strive to Achieve".
For example, the different meanings for pergo include to continue, proceed, go on with, pursue, press on, make haste etc. Perago could mean accomplish, complete, carry through the end, finish, thrust through, pierce through and so on.
Initially, I prefer "I proceed and I accomplish" as the translation but somehow it does not in my mind convey the complete message. I think a better transcript would be "I proceed I strive and I accomplish".
This is a short bonus post for this week which will hopefully provoke some thought. And also I am off on my travels again to the land of my birth and probably would not submit another post for a number of weeks.
Update A cigarette card issued by Players  around 1912 interprets the motto as I advance and accomplish. You can see it here.

North Borneo 1947 "Broken Crown"

I have had this lower right part sheet for some years. It shows the varieties of flaws of the overprint fairly well and gives an indication to their position on the sheet.

The "Broken Crown" variety is seen at stamp 66 or R6/6 instead of stamp 56 in the Sarawak Journal article. It is also known on the 12c and 20c stamps. It is probably also present in the other horizontal design stamps of this set.
Also on this sheet, one can also see "broken bar" variety on the right in stamp R7/5 and "broken bar" on the left in stamp R8/8.

This is stamp R6/6 with a chunk of the crown missing on the lower left side.

There are a few like this on the sheet with an "empty crown" where the details of the crown are indistinct.

I thought it would be nice to include this recently acquired item from a stamp fair. The "Broken M" is seen on the top left stamp and was written in more detail in my post in February. You can read by clicking here.
The top right stamp shows a "tower" among the trees which is unfortunately not present on the part sheet and so could be part of a one off ink smudge during printing. I have examined a full cypher sheet and is unable to localise this flaw. If constant, it maybe only be present at a certain order and printing of this value.
The record shows the were 4 orders during the life of this issue. For this 1c the orders were 1937 1 million, Aug 1941 1.5m, Sept 1941 2m and Feb 1947 1.5m. There were 3 frame plates and 1 vignette plate used.

Reference: Sarawak Journal vol 35 page page 94-96