Thursday, 3 May 2018

Some RPPCs from North Borneo and others

I am showing some postcards on this occasion. Little is known about the publishers of quite a few of the postcards from North Borneo. RPPC or real photo postcards are very collectible and are relatively scarce due to the limited numbers of each card published because they were more expensive to produce in comparison to their photogravure printed counterparts. 

This postcard has a pencil written clue on the back. It was almost certainly taken on the west coast of North Borneo. The location would most likely be near Kota Belud. The subject material of this series of real photo postcards mostly depict scenes on the west coast. It has a divided back in common with postcards post 1906 and a triangle at the upper right corner. 

This postcard is from the same publisher and it shows the old part of Jesselton with Gaya Street and Beach Street. The Atkinson Clock Tower which can be seen on the extreme right side is a good landmark. The railway is seen to go all the way into Jesselton. The sea is also noticeably much nearer and nowadays with reclamation and development, it is at least 3 blocks away.
Again there is the triangle where the stamp would be placed. In Chai Foh Chin's book Early Picture Postcards of North Borneo and Labuan, these cards were believed to have been published by a group of Japanese photographers based in Singapore. 

This is another postcard from the same publisher and the triangle has been covered by the stamp, as was intended. I think it shows a nice sunset somewhere near Jesselton. 

This is another RPPC and it shows native female porters. The native man was holding an umbrella probably for the benefit of his "Tuan". In the colonial and chartered rule period, government overseers traveled between stations and their belongings and supplies were carried by bare footed native potters, whose diminutive size belies their strength and stamina.
It was sent in October 1939 and has the censored cachet from Jesselton. The publisher is unknown but it has the name Gevaert at the bottom of the dividing line. It would indicate that the brownish photographic printing card was from Gevaert Ltd which is now part of Agfa-Gevaert, a Belgian corporation. But originally this card also has a triangle at the back as shown on a similar card in Chai's book.

This is an SPG card based on one published by Funk which was in black and white. There were 3 such cards depicting natives of North Borneo published by the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts. Clearly post 1906 due to the presence of the divider. The convention of writing on the address side was accepted by UPU from 1906. These SPG cards probably dated from the early 1910s. They were not sold in North Borneo.

This is a very nice S W Singapore postcard from the 1960s which I recovered from my wife's schoolgirl collection recently. It shows the curious rock formation at Batu Sapi, an area in Sandakan named after this rock. Batu Sapi translates into Buffalo Rock rather than Cow Rock as cows are not indigenous to North  Borneo. But long ago it was referred to as Batu Gajah or Elephant Rock. The local Chinese simply called it Three Leg Rock. I am afraid it is no longer the idyllic scene as shown above. It used to be a fun picnic excursion site.

My expert contact in Singapore has informed me that there are similar RPPCs with a triangle at the back from Malaya and Singapore which were a collaboration between the Japanese publishers in Singapore and some Chinese photographers of The Federal Rubber Stamp Co. It is not known whether these same photographers took the pictures for North Borneo.

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