Saturday, 17 December 2016

Labuan 1879 SG1 to 4 used with red dots

The earliest postal cancellation from Labuan routinely applied on stamps was a circle of diamond dots. This is the killer cancellation K1 under Proud's classification and was recorded in use between 1864 and 1882. Labuan did not issue stamps until 1879. There was a period of 15 years where other stamps were used on outgoing mail from Labuan. These included the Straits Settlements, India, Hong Kong and possibly Ceylon stamps. The Straits Settlements stamps were officially used in Labuan from 1867 and the stamps from the other countries were probably carried there by individuals but Proud stated that they were stocked by 1864.
Initially, this circle of diamond dots were in black as seen on covers with Indian and Hong Kong stamps. Then it was changed to red with the Labuan first issue in 1879.  And later on with the 1880-82 issue, it was often in black. Even though red is much better looking and preferable, this dot cancellation is more uncommon in black in my opinion. Black was more effective in preventing chemical cleaning and then fraudulent reuse of these postal adhesives.

blue-green 1,520 issued

orange-brown  2,940 issued

carmine  1,470 issued

blue 3,520 issued
I would not say much about this first issue of 4 stamps from Labuan in 1879 except that they were recess printed by De La Rue on white fiscal paper with a large sideways watermark of CA over Crown. The Queen's head design was based on a drawing by Joubert in 1850. 
This 40c of 1894 issue was printed by lithography and also by De La Rue. The result is generally more inferior in clarity and definition as compared to the recess printing. Much of this issue was CTO with the thick 9 bar cancel for sale to collectors. Some of these bar cancels may reflect genuine use but it is almost impossible to differentiate between them in practice. There are some differences between the postally used bars and CTO.
A used example with a good cds like the above stamp or the rest of this issue is not commonly seen or available. SG does list used prices but my research has yielded very few of these used copies. The majority of Labuan Queen heads used after 1894 are from the 1892 issue which are clearer in design due to the recess printing technique.
The lithographs are inferior but were cheaper to produce. It was carried under the administration of North Borneo which commenced in 1890. So the likelihood was this issue was made largely for philatelic purposes. It was very probable that little or none of the issue was sent to the Labuan post office. Whatever used copies or covers which are in existence were from stamps sent there by collectors.
According to SG, the date of issue was April 1894 and a month later in May, the 1894 pictorials were issued. So this was another reason why these litho Queen head stamps were not required in Labuan.


  1. Now this is some new information for me and I always welcome such posts as they give me chance to learn new things. Thanks for sharing it with us

  2. I am glad to be helpful. I will to update any new info. Thanks.