Thursday, 26 March 2015

The "Star in the Crown" variety


The North Borneo 1939 prewar set was overprinted in the final quarter of 1947 with obliterating bars and a crown to signify the change in status to a crown colony. Prior to that it had been run as an enterprise by the North Borneo Chartered Company from 1881.
There are a few flaws with this overprint including Broken Bar, Broken Crown etc. The following flaw is unrecorded and can look quite striking.


As can be seen clearly here, there is a Star in the Crown impression due to a defective overprinting device. It is certainly obvious when one looks for it in this red version of the overprint. At this moment, I do not know whether this is a constant finding or its position on a sheet of 100. 


In contrast, the overprint on the 4c adhesive is almost invariably perfect and can be used as a true reference.




These other 4 values are perhaps less convincing examples of this Star in the Crown flaw. In addition, I have also noticed Empty Crown and Split Crown flaws which I may show at a later date. I also have a few different values with the Broken Crown flaw which is known to be located for the 1c stamp at position R6/6 on a sheet. You can see it my previous posting by clicking here.

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Additional Postal Cancellations on North Borneo Stamps


I find arrival cancellations very interesting. Here are some from my collection. The GB, HK and Singapore ones are the most common.

I am really happy and proud with this one as I have resided in Robin Hood country for the past 20+ years. It shows an arrival cancel for a registered item to Nottingham. There is also a faint postmark from North Borneo.

This is from HK with a nice clear date of  OC 7 95. This is earlier and more uncommon than the Victoria Hong Kong cds with killer bars. These cancellations possibly indicated paquebot mail.

The USA is another area where additional postal markings are common on North Borneo adhesives. It is almost certainly an arrival postmark. There are not enough visual clues to be certain as the Philippines was an USA possession and also used similar killer cancellations. It was initially postmarked at Sandakan.

This is quite an early postmark from Singapore. Was it an arrival cancellation or was it paquebot use? That is the limitation of a solitary stamp without the cover. The later postmarks from Singapore are easier to find.

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Some early North Borneo forgeries


The most common forgeries of North Borneo were those from Francois Fournier at Geneva(1846-1917) and Rene Carame in Paris of the 1889 postage & revenue issue. They have been shown previously and would not be mentioned here any further.

The item on the right is a Fournier forgery of the 1894 $1 adhesive with the letters FAUX  or false in black. This was obviously well produced and comparisons can be made with the genuine stamp on the left.
Firstly, the lion is different with a straight tail with a blunt ending. There are less dots around the lion. The motto Pergo et Perago is smaller with letters c instead of g. There are a few other minor differences as well. This item was probably lifted from one of the reference sheets of Fournier forgeries. I am not sure whether there are perforated examples of this forgery without the FAUX overprint.

These forgeries of the 1886 issue are ascribed to the Italian forger Nino Imperato(Genoa) or more likely Erasmus Oneglia(Turin). It was thought Imperato acquired his stock of forgeries when Oneglia retired in 1920.
The cancellations and gauge of perforation would correspond to documented examples of some Oneglia forgeries. Most of his forgeries were produced singly from a lone die and would have to be perforated and cancelled individually. Note how the Chinese characters for 2c remain the same for all the values of this forged set. These forgeries are more difficult to find than the genuine stamps.


Two Kamigata forgeries with different colours to the original stamps of the 1894 set. I can confidently ascribed these type of forgeries to Maeda Kihei of the Kamigata-Ya shop in Tokyo, a Japanese dealer in the 1890s and 1900s who forged stamps from about 27 countries, mostly Asian for sale. These are collectively known as Kamigata forgeries. They are generally crude and lithographed. Some are cancelled with partial circular cancels bearing the letters IMITATION.
Reference; The Fakes, Forgeries & Experts journal vols 5 Varro E Tyler.

Thursday, 5 March 2015

Two uncommon early company fiscals


They are both probably rare rather than uncommon. Most examples would be too faint or incomplete to be deciphered easily. That is where photoshop becomes invaluable.
The following were truly two of the pioneering business companies in the very early days of British North Borneo.




This 1891 6c surcharged adhesive shows a faint fiscal cancellation of what should have been that of the British Borneo Trading and Planting Company. They extracted timber on a large scale in the Sandakan area.
The company was formed late in 1886 and started building a sawmill in early 1887 on a site on Leila Road a mile from the centre of Sandakan. The early years were financially quite a struggle and only became profitable in 1898. The name had been changed to North Borneo Trading Company Ltd the previous year. It was widely referred to as NBT and continued trading until 1989.


The China-Borneo Company Ltd was formed in November 1888 to take over the business interests of E E Abrahamson and Company. Abrahamson was an old hand in early North Borneo having arrived there in 1883. They also built a sawmill along Leila Road. He was in charge until he was dismissed in July 1891 for alleged irregularities. W G Darby was left in control and later became the most prominent expatriate business person in North Borneo. The company was eventually wound up and sold to Harrisons and Crosfield at the end of 1919.
It was very unlikely that Abrahamson was responsible for the AC cancellation that is often seen on North Borneo SG1 and SG3. He arrived in 1883 after some years in Sumatra and Malaya and was initially appointed as manager of the firm Messrs. W. F. Garland and Company Civil Engineer and Surveyors. He later became a partner. He went into business and by 1886 established Abrahamson & Co (BNB Herald July 1 1891). The AC cancellation was primarily used in 1883 and probably early 1884 as well before the official cancellers arrived. The treasury general Alexander Cook was the most likely candidate.