Thursday, 14 March 2019

North Borneo 1891 surcharge issue


The 6c surcharges were made as a result of changes in postal rates. In April 1891, the postcard rate to UK and other countries in the UPU was set at 6c but this only lasted for 3 months before it was reduced to 3c. But also at this later date the normal overseas letter rate was reduced from 8c to 6c. The registration fee was also set at 6c. So these provisionals were well justified unlike so many other overprints from North Borneo. The 8c and the 10c stamps from the 1886 and 1888 issues were used. These were overprinted locally? with a series of errors. I am some way in completing the set with its errors but to achieve it fully is financially not an option. 

The first stamp of this set, SG 54 used the 8c value from the 1886 "postage below" set. Apparently, only one sheet of 100 was overprinted and this accounts for its rarity and the high catalogue value. Beware there are various fakes in existence, some fairly recent. The best way is to compare the overprint with the same one on the cheaper stamps of this set. All the authentic examples that I have seen have full dark ink. The only error on this stamp is the large "S" located on stamp 19 or the 9th stamp on the second row. This is unique and it is the most expensive stamp from North Borneo. I think it was last publicly sold in 1965 by Robson Lowe Ltd, current whereabouts unknown. The most expensive stamp from North Borneo used to be the imperforate in between a horizontal pair of SG1. There are more than one example including an example in the Royal collection, I think and there is no reason for it to be more expensive.  

This is SG 55, the 6c overprint on the 8c from the postage & revenue issue. The used examples show the Sandakan 19 bar, Labuan 9 bar and the Sandakan dotted modified 14 bar cancellations respectively. 

These are the used and mint examples with the surcharge inverted. This error is located on stamp 44 of the sheet. 

This a slightly defective example of the error with "cetns" located on stamp 27. Providence P  K Cassels. 

These are mint and used examples with a large "S" in the surcharge located on stamps 19 and 27 of the sheet of 100.

This is the surcharged 10c from the 1886 "postage below" issue with Kudat A cancel, mint copy and a most unusual still unexplained cancellation.  

This is a mint example of the large "S" in the surcharge, again located on stamps 19 and 27. Mint examples of this set are usually without gum. 

These are both mint examples of the surcharge on the 10c adhesive from the 1888 issue. That issue listed 2 shades, blue and dull blue. The surcharged set only listed the dull blue shade. The second stamp is the unlisted blue shade of this set which surprisingly is also not mentioned in the North Borneo handbook. 

Lastly but not least, this is a mint copy of the error with a large "S", again with stamps 19 and 27. It has a fairly high catalogue value compared to used and is normally without gum. I have shown here almost £9000 of stamps according to the values using the SG 2017 catalogue but one can buy them in real life for a lot less.

Sunday, 17 February 2019

Seals of the residencies of Kudat and Silam


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This was a fiscal seal used on government documents and transactions at Kudat which was the initial main seat of administration of North Borneo until it was transferred to Sandakan towards the end of 1883. It was initially in blue but black ink was used later on. The reason was that coloured inks were easily washed away and the stamp reused again fraudulently. Black inks are more resilient in this respect. This was also the case with the Penny Blacks which were initially cancelled with a beautiful red Maltese Cross. Chalk surfaced printing paper was introduced later for better ink retention.  
The British Protectorate stamp would imply prior and post 1901 usage of this seal in black. The 1883 SG3 which was cancelled in blue raised some interesting questions as it also possesses a clear Straits Singapore type cancellation. This would indicate that this seal was also used as a postal cancel, most probably prior to the arrival of postal hand stamps in early 1884.     


This is the seal from Silam (spelled with 2 Ls) which is in a beautiful crimson red colour. It is very much more elusive than the Silam Lion intaglio cancellation. The pair of 1888 50c adhesives gives an approximation of when this seal was used. If any of you can read Jawi, can you tell me what it says in the inscription at the bottom. It is reconstructed and bound to be inaccurate. And also it is possible that Kudat and Sillam seals have different Jawi inscriptions on their respective seals. Though concurrent, I believe there were no similar seals for Sandakan and Gaya.