Thursday, 28 August 2014

Some postmarks of the 1931 Jubilee issue

The advantage of these stamps which are larger than normal is that it can accommodate and show some of the larger cancellations quite well.

This is one of the largest of Jesselton cancellations which was used for registered mail, R11 on the Proud classification. R11 existed in 2 forms. This is the significantly bigger version.

This one is in violet which is quite nice. R11 has recorded usage dates of just less than a year and seem to coincide with this jubilee issue of adhesives.

Both of these are also R11. The parcel post cancellation is a similar size and format but much more difficult to find from my own experience on this issue. I have it on other stamps.

A recently acquired item with part of  a dark blue R11 on the 12c Kinabalu stamp. I quite like this scene even though it is not strictly accurate.

The Sandakan parcel post looks about the same but it is not easy to obtain clear cancellations in good condition. Parcels tend to be more roughly handled.

Might have shown this one before with a Singapore arrival cancellation.

This should be the star of this lot. It is a Jesselton loose mail cancellation. It was used for an extended period but not often seen on this issue of stamps.
This is just a very small selection of possible cancellations. The others of note includes the Train Mail and town cancellations.

Thursday, 21 August 2014

North Borneo 1883 SG2

To possess a genuine SG2 is like achieving the holy grail of North Borneo philately. We are not talking about a very expensive stamp here but it is very rare to find a genuine example and there are serious uncertainties about the vast majority of similar items on the market.
It has to be from the first lithographic printing known as transfer A and 12 on the perforation gauge. The details and background is well explored in part 1 of The Stamps and Postal History of North Borneo. In addition there are also doubts as to whether it should exist in mint as it is believed by well respected authorities on this subject that the surcharge was hand stamped at the post office as the need arose. Of course that would not prevent some enterprising individual from acquiring them personally from the post office in mint condition and not using them through the post. The other question was whether the surcharge was carried out at Kudat or Sandakan or both? Logically, I would chose Kudat as the printing facilities for the BNB Herald was there in 1883.
I can not plate this item with absolute confidence but I think it is stamp 36 of transfer A or A36 with the coloured flaw above second "O" of "Borneo". More important is the nature of the postal markings on this stamp. The crayon line was used to mark used stamps before the first postal cancellers for North Borneo arrived in early 1884. Some believed that it was used by companies to deface used stamps on envelope to prevent pilferage. But there was a strong possibility it was applied at the post office as similar markings were in use for many years universally.
We also have the Singapore K22 cancellation to signify overseas mail to that destination. More important than anything else is the relation of this and the crayon marking to the underlying "8 cents." surcharge. Having examined it closely, I am content that the crayon cancel overlies the surcharge and on top of it was the Singapore K22. It is also possible to have a genuinely used SG1 with a fake surcharge.
Update 5 12 2015 With the help of Lars Parsbaro's book, this is correctly plated as A32 of Transfer A and therefore is a genuine used example. This book cost £25 from the Sarawak Spceialists Society and should be consulted before buying a "SG2" from any dealer or auction. All the examples in recent major auctions were fakes.

On initial inspection I would not be happy with this adhesive which is on offer by a well known auction house. The perforations are the real giveaway. For some reasons, generally the perforations on transfer A stamps were very good compared to transfers B and C. This can be seen when comparing it with the first stamp above. As always there are exceptions. Secondly, with the lithographic transfer process, more flaws would appear in subsequent transfers. Transfer B would have more than A and C more than B, all perforation 12.
The above stamp has many defects in the printing process as highlighted. One can not be entirely sure but it is probably stamp 15 of transfer C or C15. Therefore it is a forgery. It comes with an old certificate for what it is worth.
Update 5 12 2015. This is B17 of Transfer B and therefore a fake. Bad perfs = Transfer B.

This adhesive has very poor perforations. There are many flaws that can be seen on this stamp. I have not attempted to plate it but it is almost certainly from transfer C. Therefore it is a forgery. Generally, it is very much safer to buy a good used version of this stamp with good perfs and clear postal markings in relation to the surcharge.
Update 5 12 2015. This is definitely B9 of Transfer B and definitely a fake.

On the other hand, this mint stamp could be the real thing. It was sold for US $2000 some years ago. This is a clearly printed item with good perfs all round which implies that it was probably from Transfer A. In addition it can be plated as stamp 34 or A34 with "broken frame of scroll to right of Postage". But if one is skeptical could this be a fake on a good copy of mint SG1 from Transfer A? Yes, a used copy is safer.
Update 4 12 2016. With Lars Parsbro's book, I can safely plate this as C32 with white spot top right side of "B" and 2 colured dots after "2". In addition, the part of lower circle of "8" is missing. This is therefore a fake surcharged adhesive using a Transfer C stamp with good perforations. Quite a few of the C stamps have good perforations. No genuine mint Transfer A SG2 is known to exist.

Thursday, 14 August 2014

1931 Jubilee Issue colour samples 2

It is more than possible to just specialise in collecting this set and the associated artist's sketches, die proofs, progressive proofs with or without corrections, plate proofs, colour samples, stamp-timbres cards etc. It would constitute a prize winning exhibit but would only be financially possible for a very few. You can see my $5 imperforate proof by clicking here.

The Sunda clouded leopard stamp is the favourite for many of this set. It was already elusive in those days and is probably threatened with extinction at present. It is the largest cat in Borneo and can weigh up to 25kg which is really not that big.
The printer sample is in a combination of black and brown which is not as good as the actual stamp in black and violet.

The $1 value in a combination of black and plum as compared to black and yellow green with the main subject of the classic BNBC shield with lion passant guardant, two arms, one native and the other European upholding the flag and a native prahu but no motto.

The combination of black and bronze green here is not as good as the black and chestnut in the stamp. Here we have the complete arms of the company which also includes two natives on either side, one with a native shield and the other an exaggerated native parang. Beneath is the company motto of pergo et perago for "I proceed I strive and I accomplish".

The $5 stamp is also the favourite of many. Both the colour schemes are equally appealing. The printer sample has black and blue as compared to black and purple for the stamp. All very stunning I think. The quality control in printing this set is so high that no recognised varieties or flaws has yet come to light.

Reference: The Stamps and Postal History of North Borneo part 3.
Lots and lots information on this set and others. If you need a copy, enquiries to the publications officer at the Sarawak Specialist Society.

Thursday, 7 August 2014

1931 Jubilee Issue colour samples 1

The 1931 Jubilee set is regarded by many to be the most visual appealing of North Borneo stamps. What we have here are the printer samples in pairs which were printed in different colours to the postal set. A normal corresponding stamp is included for comparison. Despite what was inscribed, these are not actually specimen stamps as those were the overprinted actual stamps sent to various postal agencies.
This set has punched holes of 2 mm in diameter but it also exist without holes which is probably more uncommon. All the values of the set was engraved by John Augustus Charles Harrison at Waterlow & Sons. He was also responsible for the superb George V sea horses set of stamps.  

I think the colour scheme used in the sample is more visually more stunning in this Murut design which is my favourite of the set. It has been described as a combination of black and bright scarlet but it looks more like burgundy to me.

This printer sample has a brown vignette and a bright violet frame and is also known to exist with a black vignette instead. Unfortunately, my set of 8 pairs is incomplete because of this.

The Dyak printer sample in brown and green but again it also exist in a combination of black and myrtle. Yet another one to find to complete the set. Strange choice of subject here as Dyaks are more common and indigenous to Sarawak. But they did serve well in the NB constabulary.  

This is probably the least attractive of the printer samples with a combination of black and bright rose. But otherwise it has a most impressive scene with Mt Kinabalu in the background ? view from Ambong Bay.