Thursday, 5 May 2016

A very desirable Labuan/Straits cover

When I showed this at one of our Sarawak Specialists' Society meetings, there were a few admirers. So I supposed that it must be desirable as these senior members have seen a lot of very good and exceptional material in their time. So that is why members locally or overseas should tried to attend our meetings once in a while. You would not believe the things that has been shown many a time.

Okay, back to this cover. It was sent during the period when Labuan was administered prewar as part of the Straits Settlements after 1906. Straits adhesives are normally used and hence the interest from a much wider audience. This is a neat cover without much defects. It is what I would call "well constructed" because the features of interest are distributed evenly. The front of the cover is especially nice as most blank spaces have been used up by the various markings in additional to the address and the stamp.
The postmark is a good Post Office Labuan cds with time code A. The various time codes have been shown previously here with the time code E the most uncommon and difficult to find.  Time codes A and B are the most common. This is D8 on the Proud classification with usage between January 1910 and August 1913.
It was franked by mistake with 4c for imperial post instead of the 10c rate for USA. The underpaid mark is UP2 (1894-1934). It attracted a US 5c postage due on arrival and was duly paid as shown by the cancelled 5c postage due on the back. Generally the penalty for underpaying would attract a charge which would have been double that of the deficit. By convention, the charge was expressed in UPU gold centimes with a varying exchange rate. For example in GB up till 1940, one old penny was equal to ten centimes and then gradually less as the British currency lost its value.
There is a backstamp for Singapore. It took 4 days to get to Singapore and then another 33 days to arrive at New York. This is also an official envelope which originated from the Government House in Labuan.

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