Thursday, 25 June 2015

Recent acquisitions

These are some recently acquired material from fairs, ebay etc. They are not uncommon but still should be interesting to some collectors of our areas.

This is Sandakan D10 which was mainly used for fiscal purposes between June 1900 and November 1904. It is not uncommon but is a good looking cancellation. This is the best one I have so far.

I bought at the same time as the Sandakan D10. This is a nice Singapore cancel on a Labuan adhesive and probably represented paquebot use.

On the top left corner is, I am fairly sure, a boxed Paid cancellation from Kuching, Sarawak. The significance of this cancellation remains uncertain. With the manuscript part signature on this adhesive, it looks likely that it also had a fiscal function.

I can never get enough of these Retour covers. This one is not that ancient and dated from 1950. It was sent from Brunei to Brisbane. It has various nice postal markings including INCONNU NOT KNOWN.  There is a Dead Letter Office cancellation in red which is possibly uncommon. It was sold to me by a good friend in the Sarawak Specialist Society.

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Rare overprints on the first Labuan postal stationary card

The first post card of Labuan was issued in 1881. This was the 4c green on buff card. It bears the head of Queen Victoria similar in design with the concurrent stamp issue. 

In 1891, the card was overprinted 3 CENTS  when Labuan joined the Universal Postal Union on 1 July 1891 and the overseas rate was reduced to 3c. According to Higgins & Gage, both genuine used and unused copies are rare and counterfeits exist. However, the latter's existence has not been proven and almost certainly no forged copies have been seen or classified as such. So what we have here is quite likely to be the real deal. Commercially used copies are definitely going to be expensive.

On 1 November 1907, the administration of Labuan was transferred from North Borneo to Straits Settlements. Evidently, some of the original stock of the 1881 card were around. These were overprinted for use in addition to the contemporary 1c+1c and 3c+3c cards. The overprint used can be seen above. The overseas rate was 3c. All three cards are difficult to find especially when commercially used. The above card should the rarest of these three cards. I dare not speculate how much a properly used copy would cost as it would also be very desirable to Straits collectors.  

Thursday, 11 June 2015

A Brunei Locals Pead cover

The 1895 issue of Brunei stamps were not without controversy. It is is now generally accepted that they were genuinely issued but were only eligible for local use as Brunei was not part of the Universal Postal Union. But there were also clear money making reasons for their issuance. 

The Pead and Parker covers on 22 JUL 1895 were part of a mass posting to cater for collectors. This was soon after the stamps were available and constituted some of Brunei earliest covers. Pead was an associate of Parker and some said he was a clerk in Parker's office. Parker was a well known commercial outlet or agent for most of Labuan's and North Borneo's CTO output.
The total of covers posted had been estimated at 400, 200 for Pead and 200 for Parker. The registration numbers would have started with 900. The above number is 905 which means it was probably almost the earliest of this batch of 400. Cover 903 was sighted but there is no visual record. The Parker covers probably started with a registration number of 1101. There are likely to be less than 150 of these covers still in circulation.
There is a 18c Labuan stamp which covered for the passage to London. The Brunei stamps were only eligible to Labuan and most of these covers were significantly over franked. When buying early Brunei covers, do make sure the adhesives are tied to the envelope by the cancellation as fake covers exist. 

I have shown the first item previously. See my posting here. The other two were recent acquisitions. The middle adhesive has a partial manuscript inserted date. They all have the same date of 4 AUG 1895 which was a Sunday. Sunday was probably a working day in an Islamic country like Brunei and Friday the normal rest day. The hand writing is different which meant that there were at least 2 postal clerks working at that time. I think they were hand stamping whole sheets for the philatelic trade and felt obliged to clarify some of the unclear cancellation dates.

Thursday, 4 June 2015

North Borneo 1909 18c with Jesselton and Tenom cancellations

The 1909 pictorial set was issued in August with an 18c value. However there was not a need for this value at prevailing postal rates. It was withdrawn within a month and the remaining adhesives surcharged 20c in red. 20c would have been the rate for a registered half oz letter to a foreign country ie 10c+10c. Apparently, 5000 copies were sold to the philatelic trade and a similar amount retained at Sandakan. A small number were dispatched from Sandakan to the other post offices.

So most used copies would have a Sandakan postmark. Used copies from the other post offices are uncommonly seen. Even the Sandakan copies were mostly philatelic as there was little use for this stamp alone. This Jesselton cancelled copy has a clear date of 3 Oct 1910 and is possibly philatelic as I have seen a multi franked cover with this stamp. But it is still quite uncommon.  

This is a little treasure that I found at Europhilex recently. Tenom square circle cancels are uncommon generally. On this 18c stamp I would consider it quite rare. The year of 09 as seen would suggest that it was likely to have been commercially used probably with an additional 2c stamp to make up the rate. I wonder whether I will ever find one with a Beaufort, Lahad Datu or Tawao cancellation or even Mempakul!

There are some copies with a Kudat cancellation in existence including a pair. However this is not one of them. The partial cancel is compatible to a fake Madame Joseph Kuching cancellation.  

A pair of these stamps with the usual Sandakan cds. Most of the used 18c stamps have a small part postmark with just the year visible which I have my suspicions and are most likely cancelled by favour or at worse fake if there is a hint of a prior bar cancel. The two stamps here are in slightly different shades.