Thursday, 19 November 2015

Some North Borneo Chinese fiscals

At the SSS auction in October, I acquired a small collection of fiscal cancellations. Among them were some with Chinese  writing or the names of Chinese companies in English. Little is known about this particular area of North Borneo philately.

I found this one really attractive. I will have to get some help from one of my learned Hong Kong friends to decipher this one.

Either this is part of a strip of stamps or the other part would have been on some kind of document. What I can not understand is who gets the payment for using stamps this way? If it was some kind of tax or custom duty, where is the official endorsement? It was probably a business levy which was paid by buying stamps from the post office before hand in anticipation. 

It says Received payment with thanks Kong Hiap Hin. The proprietor of this Jesselton business was Li Chi On who was of Hakka origin. His father, Li Shiong Kong, was an early settler in Kudat who arrived in 1888 as a leader of a group of Hakka Basel Christians. Li, the elder, did well in business but passed away in 1921 at the age of 76. The son, Chi On branched out to Jesselton successfully to form one of the largest companies in North Borneo. 

Another fiscal chop from Kong Hiap Hin & Co. and this time applied in green. Li Chi On was educated in English which gave him a clear advantage. He was initially employed as a clerk by BNBC but later on resigned to set up Kong Hiap Hin with Chin Sam Loong. The firm engaged in trading and wholesale as well as acting agent for shipping, insurance, tobacco and liquors. He was a member of the Chinese Advisory Board which represented the interest of the Chinese community as well as a prominent member and philanthropist of the Basel Church. For many years, he was also the secretary of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce.   

Ban Guan & Co. was basically a well known Jesselton trading firm in durable goods such as whiskey and cigars. It was run by a proprietor of the same name. It was regarded as quite a reliable firm. The Kinabalu expedition by Major C M Enriquez in June 1925 used them as suppliers. They were also well known as sponsor of the Ban Guan Cup for the races at the Jesselton Turf Club.

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