Wednesday, 6 January 2021

A very intriguing German Brotzen postmark on the North Borneo 1889 1/2c stamp

An interesting facet of philately is that it often involves mystery and detective work. Some years ago, I acquire the following item which has a foreign postmark on a genuine 1889 1/2 postage & revenue stamp. As we should know, there are at least 4 types of forgeries of this stamp by Fournier, Carame etc

It took me quite some time to work out this cancel. It is not straight forward as the postmark had been applied twice with the second one rotated clockwise about 30 degrees. Logically, I thought the cancel was from neighbouring Dutch East Indies/Indonesia. But I was unable to identify it from the list that I have. Recently, I decided to reconstruct the postmark. And then I realised that the postmark is similar to that on some of my late 18th and early 19th century German stamps.
The Germany & Colonies Philatelic Society has been very helpful in confirming that the village of Brotzen was part of Prussia and there was a small postal agency but no information on any postmarks. What are the caveats here? Firstly, the date of 4 7 1911 is quite late for this stamp but from the information that I have, this issue of stamps were valid till 1935. Secondly, how did this stamp end up so far from its place of origin? However, there were thousands of such stamps available in Britain just across the English Channel. And Paris, Brussels, Berlin etc would have this for sale in their stamp shops as well. And also prior to WWW1, there were quite a few Germans working in North Borneo on plantations, ships and so on.
Brotzen in Prussia is now Broczyno in north western Poland and was part of Prussia prior to 1945 (wikipedia). I found a Brotzen registration label on Ebay and this would be some evidence that this office did exist. This is possibly one of the most uncommon postmarks from prewar Germany.


It has been suggested that this stamp was possibly used to uprate a returning reply postal stationary card from North Borneo. As mentioned above, there were Germans working in North Borneo and one of them might have corresponded with friends or relatives at Brotzen.


Thursday, 24 December 2020

Labuan 1894 2c and 3c pictorials with re-entries


Recently, I saw some Labuan stamps on Ebay with re-entries. Looking through my spares, I found these two. In re-entries, one sees extra lines or features due to repairs done to a worn plate used in the printing of the stamps. Most of them seem rather trivial but for these 2 particular stamps they are definitely more striking and obvious.

There are extra lines to the right of the deer's antlers in this picture, more obvious on the lower part. 

Here in this part of the stamp, extra lines which are quite prominent extend all the way right to the tip of the deer's antlers. In addition, the lines on the upper outline the deer's ear are also duplicated.
According to the Stamps and Postal History of North Borneo book 2, these re-entries are present on stamps 4, 5, 9 and 75. The pattern seen on this stamp is in keeping with stamp 4. 

There are 4 parts to a line which is seen to the right of the sago tree trunk which extends to below the right lower branch of the plant. There are re-entries on stamps 10, 72 and 80. This is either 10 or 80 which are both very similar.