Thursday, 16 October 2014

Two North Borneo newspaper wrappers

I feel that I owe readers a good post this week. And thank you for your support meanwhile. One of the wrappers below is fresh off the auction at our annual meeting of The Sarawak Society last weekend in Bournemouth. It was very enjoyable meeting a good number of members with similar interest and attitude. And the auction, which is the main draw, offers a wide variety of items from our territories of Brunei, Labuan, North Borneo and Sarawak at sensible prices. This is because we only have to pay a 3% buyers premium as compared to 20% for most auction houses. No worries about forgeries. The members would see to that.

Really if one is serious about collecting these areas, it is definitely easier to progress by being a member of the society. I have only been an active member for the past 5 years. The annual fee is held at 15 pounds sterling which really does not cover the cost of the 4 journals that we send out. A member is also allowed to partake in our auction, write for the journal and of course join us at our Spring and Autumn annual meetings where you will be made to feel very much at ease.

Alright, back to these 2 newspaper wrappers. You would have noticed that they were addressed to the same person which was my main reason for buying the bottom item last weekend. There was competition but I was prepared to go much higher than anyone else. I believe the second version is much more uncommon.

The first issue of The North Borneo Herald and Official Gazette was printed and published on 1st March 1883 by Thomas James Keaughran at Office No.1 Dent Road, Kudat. This was the first capital of North Borneo. By the time of the issue in April of 1885, the name has changed slightly to The British North Borneo Herald and Official Gazette. It was then published at the Government Printing Office at Sandakan by William Jacob Rozario. The capital had moved to Sandakan at the end of 1883 or early 1884.

By 1892, the Borneo Official Gazette was published separately as the back pages of The BNB Herald became popular with advertisers. It was a pity because a lot of information was present in the Gazette especially official announcements and appointments. These two news sheets were sent out separately as seen by the above examples. Earlier wrappers were endorsed for postal passage by the uncommon Lion cds and subsequently the undated circular Lion 1 cent cancellation. Examples will not be shown here due to a recent attempt at forging the latter cancellation on cover which fooled even some experienced collectors.

Ps I have updated one of my recent post. You can read it by clicking here.

Update Just some information on Alleyne Ireland Esq (1871-1951). He was an American commentator who visited the Far East early in the early 1900s. From the observations of his travels, he wrote a book The Far East Tropics. Chapter 3 was devoted to North Borneo where he was critical of some aspects of government as well as the building of the railway. This was mostly the responsibility of the board of directors in London. However, he was full of praise for the ability and dedication of the various officers.


  1. It is always nice to read your articles although I don't collect BNB or Sarawak. Keep up the good job!

    Johnson Sau