Thursday, 31 December 2015

Papar D1 FDC

I generally do not collect first day covers as by implication they are philatelic in origin. However, I have a weakness for this cancellation. Its imperfection and distorted nature makes it all the more appealing. 

This is a FDC of the 1949 UPU issue showing a full set of the stamps cancelled at Papar. I do not like large empty spaces on a cover and the the front part of the cover is nicely filled with addresses both in English and Chinese.

A few more examples of this cancellation on piece and stamps. I have trying to work out whether there were different periods when the postmark was in violet and black and concluded that they were used concurrently. 
Another mystery is why the two rings of this cancellation are distorted. One view was that the wrong type of cleaner was used on the rubber temporary handstamp. But then it would have been perfect to start with like the similar ones from Keningau and Semporna. But I have not seen an non distorted cancellation of Papar D1. Was the wrong sort of rubber used which did not set properly? 
The bottom two examples are intriguing. They looked damaged but does not appear distorted with wavy lines. This implies that a different handstamp was used giving a Papar D1 type 2 cancellation.  

Thursday, 24 December 2015

Some very uncommon North Borneo cancellations

Something more to enjoy for Christmas. If you do not have the following two cancellations in your collection, keep on trying. Sooner or later you will find them at an acceptable price.

This Labuk & Sugut cancellation has to be one of my favourites. It is so well constructed. This came courtesy of a friendly dealer. It helps to make friends with them. Apart from being knowledgeable they can help with your collecting in the long run.

The Gantian cancellation is bit more uncommon than the L&S as it was in use for less than a year from December 1899 to about August 1900. The office became obsolete with the founding of Jesselton. Any reader who would like more information on Gantian and early Jesselton cancellations should seek a recent article in the Sarawak Journal.

This festive season gives me a chance to share another collecting interest. I bought this in Paris at their street market a few years ago. I prefer cancellations other than black. Christmas Is cancellations are very uncommon and commands good prices whenever they appear on sale. On cover, they are hardly ever seen. 

Thursday, 17 December 2015

Another North Borneo Singapore paquebot cover

Continuing on this festive season display of maritime mail, this is another prewar paquebot cover which used a North Borneo 1931 50th Anniversary issue stamp.

There is no indication of which town in North Borneo it originated from. If it was commercial mail, the letter would have been written on board ship or at least posted while it was in North Borneo waters bound for Singapore. It has a clear transit Singapore cds date of 16 NO 1931. The paquebot cancellation is a commoner type from Singapore. But with a North Borneo stamp on cover, it is still not that easy to find.
The ship involved here was most likely the SS Darvel. It arrived at Sandakan on 7 November and sailed on the 9 November bound for Singapore via ports eg Kudat, Jesselton and Labuan. The other 2 ships which also served this route were the SS Kajang and the MV Marudu.

Thursday, 10 December 2015

Sandakan Singapore paquebot postal stationary card

Another desirable Christmas present! Very few of this type of postal history are in existence especially when commercially used like this one.

This card was in the Hosking collection. I believe it was used in the illustration of the back of the 3rd edition of his book on paquebots. This card was posted on the ship on its way to Singapore. The ship involved would have the SS Tringganu which left Sandakan on the 24 Nov 1908 bound for Singapore. It would seem that it took 6 days for the journey. The SS Tringganu plied the route between Singapore and Jolo via Sandakan.
The card bears a transit Singapore cds as well as a non box paquebot cancellation on its way to Zurich in Switzerland. It was quite likely to have passed through Brindisi in Italy.

As seen at the left bottom part the card was written in Sandakan on  the 24 November 1908. The message in German was written to his parents about an order of a magazine or book. Meier-Rotsehil mentioned was probably Mayer Rothschild, the German banker and founder of the Rothschild banking dynasty.

Thursday, 3 December 2015

A Kudat paquebot cancellation

The X'mas season is upon us once more. I am sharing with you this uncommon cover that I hope will show that Kudat did have a paquebot cancellation. This was originally in the Hosking collection.

It is rather strange that up till now that no paquebot cancellations were recorded from Kudat. It is after all a coastal town with a wharf and a regular stop for ships travelling from the east to the west coast and vice versa.
The above non boxed PAQUEBOT. cancellation was classified by Proud, wrongly in my view, as Jesselton SL3 based on another similar cover which somehow missed the Kudat cancellation and received the Jesselton K2 loose mail cancellation instead. The above cover was correctly endorsed by a Kudat D17 postmark. This is faint and should read 7 JAN 1936. It is very rare to see a Straits stamp with a North Borneo cancellation. By convention, the ship should have been registered in Singapore (part of Straits Settlements) and the letter posted in international waters. But I doubt whether these rules were strictly followed.

The back of the envelop was back stamped at Jesselton the day after. Apparently, it traveled on the SS Kajang. According to the BNB Herald, the SS Kajang left Sandakan on the 6th Jan 1936 on its way to Kudat. There you have it, the only prewar paquebot recorded for Kudat. I have not seen a post war Kudat paquebot either, I think. Rather strange is it not?

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Some Brunei covers

Brunei covers and especially the commercial ones, should be much more uncommon than those from Sarawak and North Borneo. However, there is no price premium due to less demand and fewer collectors of this country's philately.

This 1922 cover to Kansas, USA probably has the right rate of 12c+12c for a registered item even though this was also the 1923 rate. No postal rate changes for Brunei between 1908 and 1922 were published. It has the registration cachet R1 and Proud D5. The first 2 digits of this cancellation is very often missing contrary to what is shown by Proud. It also looks peculiar as the year digits seems to be pushed to the right side.
The back stamps tell a clear story of the journey. It went to Labuan and then Singapore before making its way to USA. There is a nice clear Labuan D10 with an A time code. It took a total of 46 days to reach its destination.  

Our well known friend, Paul Kiderlen, was sent this cover. But this not his usual Ulm address in Germany. Instead it was sent to Schwabish Hall (the short form Hall was used on the cover) in Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany. Almost all covers to him would have been addressed to him in Ulm in the same state over 120km away. Kiderlen was very active between 1890 and 1910. This is actually a rare Kiderlen item during a time when he might not have been active dealing in postal history.
This is a large envelope bearing the rate 12c first oz + 6c for an additional oz + 12c registration fee. It also has Proud D5 and R1. There is a high probability that this was a commercial item enclosing  a 2 oz stack of documents. As normal, it went to Labuan and then Singapore before going to Germany probably via Brindisi in Italy. The Labuan cancellation is a D9 with smaller letters for Labuan as compared to D10 or D11. The receiving chop for Schwabish Hall is very likeable. 

A desirable but slightly defective Brunei MBE 1922 cover. The rate of 5c+12c was probably underpaid by 1c even though we have no idea what the rates were in 1922. It did not attract a T mark and a postage due which was a pity. It also has Proud D5 and R1. There is a Labuan transit cancel with D10 with a C code. The Singapore arrival cancel is unclear but from the other 2 covers, we know its journey would have taken about 5 days.

A cover showing the 1935 rate of 12c ordinary mail to USA. It has a clear Proud D7 cancellation and the moderately uncommon cachet for the Brunei Post Office.

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Some North Borneo Chinese fiscals

At the SSS auction in October, I acquired a small collection of fiscal cancellations. Among them were some with Chinese  writing or the names of Chinese companies in English. Little is known about this particular area of North Borneo philately.

I found this one really attractive. I will have to get some help from one of my learned Hong Kong friends to decipher this one.

Either this is part of a strip of stamps or the other part would have been on some kind of document. What I can not understand is who gets the payment for using stamps this way? If it was some kind of tax or custom duty, where is the official endorsement? It was probably a business levy which was paid by buying stamps from the post office before hand in anticipation. 

It says Received payment with thanks Kong Hiap Hin. The proprietor of this Jesselton business was Li Chi On who was of Hakka origin. His father, Li Shiong Kong, was an early settler in Kudat who arrived in 1888 as a leader of a group of Hakka Basel Christians. Li, the elder, did well in business but passed away in 1921 at the age of 76. The son, Chi On branched out to Jesselton successfully to form one of the largest companies in North Borneo. 

Another fiscal chop from Kong Hiap Hin & Co. and this time applied in green. Li Chi On was educated in English which gave him a clear advantage. He was initially employed as a clerk by BNBC but later on resigned to set up Kong Hiap Hin with Chin Sam Loong. The firm engaged in trading and wholesale as well as acting agent for shipping, insurance, tobacco and liquors. He was a member of the Chinese Advisory Board which represented the interest of the Chinese community as well as a prominent member and philanthropist of the Basel Church. For many years, he was also the secretary of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce.   

Ban Guan & Co. was basically a well known Jesselton trading firm in durable goods such as whiskey and cigars. It was run by a proprietor of the same name. It was regarded as quite a reliable firm. The Kinabalu expedition by Major C M Enriquez in June 1925 used them as suppliers. They were also well known as sponsor of the Ban Guan Cup for the races at the Jesselton Turf Club.

Thursday, 12 November 2015

Brunei 1908-22 3c Type 1 and Type 2

I seem to be fortunate with my purchases. This pair was bought mainly because I like the Temburong D3 cancellation. But imagine my surprise that the two 3c stamps were significantly different from each other. The 1908-1922 set was issued over a few different years using 2 slightly different plates for printing.

The stamp on the left has the Brunei D4 cancellation but looks like the last 2 digits of the year is missing. This 1908 3c stamp is also Type 1. The second stamp has a very nice large part Temburong D3 cancellation and also is the more uncommon Type 2 stamp issued in 1916. Temburong used a district postmark like Labuk & Sugut and Bangar is the main town.

In Type 1, the lowest line of shading on water is dotted using 2 different plates in the printing process, one for the vignette and a separate one for the frame. This was in the initial printing of the 3c which was issued in 1908.

With Type 2, a single plate was used. It was possible because this is a monocolour stamp. The dots at the lowest line shading are no longer present in this plate. This was a subsequent printing and the stamp was issued in 1916. This is the more valuable type and worth 30x more used. With a Temburong cancel, it is very fortunate.

Thursday, 5 November 2015

Labuan D11 cancellation

Showing a bit more Labuan. These are from part a sheet of D11 cancellations that I showed at our SSS meeting during Singapore 2015 World Stamp Exhibition. Usage of D11 (July 1930-November 1941) was when Labuan was part of the Straits Settlements.

Nice pair on piece as well as 2 different stamps which were alongside each other originally on a cover. D11 is very similar to D10 but has an actual time instead of the time code.

I am lacking one value here to make a very nice set. The 1935 Jubilee issue has a very attractive design. Some collectors accumulate the omnibus issues from the various commonwealth countries.

This is also part of an omnibus issue. I am lacking 2 values here but both this Coronation and the Jubillee Straits stamps with Labuan D11 are not easy to come by.

Thursday, 29 October 2015

Some interesting postage dues

What follows are the variations available of two fairly common postage due stamps with the British Protectorate overprint. Somehow one has the feeling that they were contrived. BNBC was up to their tricks again. Nonetheless, nowadays these less common varieties are highly collectible.

The normal stamp has POSTAGE DUE overprinted in the middle as seen. However, this one here is perf 16 rather than 15 and therefore carries a significant premium.

These 2 has the overprint towards the top of the design. The upper item has  part of a Lahad  Datu cancellation and was bought cheaply at the recent SSS auction. The second one on piece has a faint Sandakan cancel. It is highly likely most of these seemingly used items were actually cancellled as favour to dealers and collectors.

Count myself very fortunate with this valuable postage due with a vertical type overprint which has an uncommon nearly full on Tawao cancellation with a full date of 2 OC 1903. There are 5 different stamps of this British Protectorate postage due issue with a vertical overprint and this is the most valuable.

The top item has the overprint in the normal position. The bottom one with the overprint at the top is not that easy to find and probably under priced. Again, it was bought very reasonably at our recent SSS auction. Serious collectors of  these territories are missing a lot by not becoming a member. There is a nice partial Beaufort cancellation here. 

Thursday, 22 October 2015

North Borneo 1893 2c and 6c colour trial

The Philatelic Record of August 1893 page 184 stated that a series of values up to 24c was in the course of preparation but that the colours had not yet been settled. It went on to describe designs selected for the various values. All had the designation "THE STATE OF NORTH BORNEO". These stamps were recess printed by Waterloo & Sons at two operations in sheets of 10x10.
This was going to be the first pictorial issue in 1894 after the conventional classical designs by Blades East & Blades previously.

This is a perforated colour trial as opposed to a printer sample sheet adhesive which would have a small hole as well as the inscription for specimen on it as well as the name of the printer Waterloo & Sons.

Thursday, 15 October 2015

Two Labuan cards same scene

This postcard looks more recent than the RPPC below. The tree beside the building on the left looks more mature and also a building has been erected just behind it. Otherwise the scene is essentially the same. The back of this card is blank and gives no indication of its origin. It is at least 5-10 years older than the card below which was sent in 1908.

This real photo post card was previously shown. It is a valuable and possibly unique item. It was posted from Labuan in October 1908 and unusually franked by a North Borneo stamp. Labuan joined the Straits Settlements at the beginning of 1907 and it would seemed that NB stamps were still eligible for postal usage for a while longer.  

Thursday, 8 October 2015

Labuan SL4 and SL8 paquebots

I will continue to post Labuan material for a while longer. I am slowing building up my collection of Labuan cancellations but my collection still lacks some very significant pieces.

This was one of the sheets that I showed at our Sarawak Specialists' Society meeting in Singapore last month during the World Stamp Exhibition 2015.
The Brunei adhesives represent mail posted on the regular boat service to Labuan. The North Borneo stamps were probably on covers from the south western part of the country where it was more convenient to send mail via Labuan than going north through Jesselton. 
Similarly, there are parts of northern Sarawak eg Trusan or Limbang which are quite far from Kuching compared to Labuan. It would have been faster to send mail through Labuan. These Sarawak stamps are hard to find. The GB and Australian stamps on piece with SL8 were most probably taken from philatelic paquebot covers.    

An uncommon Labuan SL4 paquebot cover franked by a North Borneo stamp. The date is unfortunately unclear. One would assume that the cover was posted on a ship in North Borneo waters on its way to Labuan from somewhere in the south west. SL4 was in use between 1937 and 1941.
Later on today, we shall be on our way to sunny Bournemouth to attend the Sarawak Specialists' Society AGM weekend. There will be displays of material not commonly seen as well as an auction on Saturday morning. It is certainly a highlight of my year of collecting.

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Labuan incoming with postage due

The upper item is among a group of covers which I bought cheaply at a recent auction. It was a very pleasant surprise as it was not listed in the catalogue description. It is uncommon rather than rare. A similar prewar item is very much on my wish list.

So this was an incoming philatelic item which was underpaid and received a T  handstamp and inscribed 6 centimes in old French money as per UPU regulations. This translated to 5c in local money. This was paid before the cover was released to the recipient. Two stamps for a total of 5c was fixed to the back and cancelled. There were no official postage due adhesives postwar. In the previous era, the postage due adhesives were fixed and cancelled on a separate memo. These were flimsy pieces of paper. Not a lot survived and they are definitely expensive. From the dates one could see it took a total of 11 days for the cover to be delivered which is probably faster than nowadays.

This is not a postage due cover. There are quite a few of this type of covers around. They are attractive and there was a variety of adhesives or combinations used making each item slightly different. This cover was carried by one of the two Short "Singapore III" flying boats of No. 205 Squadron under command of Wing Commander T.W.Scott, returning to Singapore from where they had departed on June 22nd.