Happy New Year 2011!


Happy New Year 2011!

2010 passes with good and fond memories. As we usher the new year, may it brings prosperities and endless joys.
Happy Hunting and Have a Great New Year 2011!

Cover: WWII illustrated cover from Labuan to England sent by a soldier on active service in Labuan. Shows the red Maritime Mail mark and the circular cachet inscribed Post office. On lower left aspect shows the shield-shaped censor mark in violet.

Stamps Hunting: Amsterdam and Athens, Greece


Amsterdam, Holland

First off, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 2011! May it bring prosperous and joyous year to you! So for my winter break I went to Amsterdam and Athens for one week. I finally get a break from busy schedule in the hospital everyday. The holiday is definetely a good excuse to escape the bitterly cold winter in Ireland where pipes get blocked or even burst. My visit to Amsterdam was very brief as it served only as a transit to Greece. Nevertheless, I had about one full day to spend in the city. Finding a stamp shop was one of my primary motives in Amsterdam as I've enjoyed all the fun in the city including the notorious red light district and the breathtaking windmills when I visited the city 2 years ago. This time I was determined to look for another attraction the city has to offer.

Stamps shop Amsterdam

Amsterdam on the 20th December was covered in snow. This made walking a bit difficult, slippery and wet. Finding philatelic shops without prior knowledge of the street was like finding rare stamps - you only find it if you are lucky. Fortunately I managed to find some 3 stamps shops in Nieuwezijds Voorbugwal Street after a long walk. The bad thing about stamps hunting in Christmas time is that many shops are closed and it was good enough that one of the three shops was open.

I went in and was duly greeted in Dutch. Then, realizing that I was clueless in Dutch the old man asked me "hello, how may I help you?". I said to him that I was looking for Borneo stamps and he then asked me "you mean Sarawak, Labuan, Brunei and North Borneo?" "Yes that", I replied, slightly amazed to the fact that he knows about the British Borneo. "Well I have some covers, postcards and some stamps, but unfortunately my assistant is not around today, he's usually the one handling that area of specialty, but you can come back again tomorrow...". I explained to him that I will be in Amsterdam only for the day and that I have to fly to Athens that night, so I requested to just see the collection, but unfortunately he didn't know where exactly the stamps were and insisted that I come back the next day.

After many futile attempts, I gave in and asked him whether he would take my email, but then being a traditional seller and IT-illiterate he said that he had no email and that he's not very familiar with selling stamps online. In the end, all I got was a picture of the shop :( The moral of the story is, plan your visit and stay longer in any one city.

Athens, Greece

Temple of Poseidon

I stayed in Athens for about a week visiting some Greek Islands, the ancient Greek ruins and temples. It was a fascinating country with beautiful panoramic scenes. But stamps-wise, it's no better than Amsterdam. I only started to look for stamps shops on Christmas eve which was of course pretty silly as many shops were closed. Finding a stamp shop in Athens was slightly more difficult than in Amsterdam as I didn't know much of the Greek letters, only relying from my vague Maths and Physics symbolisms. I had to look up in the internet so as not to waste my time wandering the many streets in the vast city. Nonetheless, I managed to find 2 stamps shops, both of which were closed. Both were situated in Stadiou street (10 and 39) between Syntagma and Omonia square.

Stamps shop in Stadiou 10

There are of course many other stamps shops in Athens but I didn't bother to visit them as I know they're closed. Even the philatelic museum in Fokianou street was closed around Christmas time. Many other shops were closed as well, but I still get the chance to visit some interesting shops selling antique stuffs such as old coins and banknotes. Although I'm not a big fan of collecting these, I ended up spending hours looking at the old Greek currencies from one street to another. They're just interesting with varying designs incorporating the ancient Greek gods and mythology. My personal favourite was the old coin depicting an owl, which resembles closely to the current 1 Euro coin from Greece.

A visit to Mediterranean Greece was supposed to be an escape of the Irish winter. Although a year back, we heard of a violent riot in the city against the police, the city was actually quite peaceful during my visit. Nevertheless, I've seen some remnants of vandalisms on public buildings and facilities - the post office included. A post office just facing the Syntagma square had its window broken and smeared with red paints. Its kiosk vending stamps was burnt to the point of non functionality. But overall, the city was pleasant enough that I would consider coming back again, that time perhaps I would hunt for the awe-inspiring Hermes head stamps of Greece!

Old Greek coins in Monastiraki area

The Greek Postboxes in Syntagma

To err is Divine: Labuan Inverted Centre


Inverted centre

Inverted Centre

Philately is similar to fine art - it is the satisfaction, appreciation and understanding that count. In general, collectors have a special interest in rarity. Perfection is not the only big thing in collecting stamps, quite the opposite, freaks and errors also generate equal if not more interests.

The picture above shows a Labuan stamp with an inverted centre. This is basically an 8 cent postage due stamp of 1901 issue, with CTO mark on top right. Reportedly, less than 40 of such stamps exist, with a catalogue value (SG D6ba) of £ 9,500. It is currently auctioned in an auction house from US and has a bid of $6,500.

Labuan Stampless Cover 1858: A New Discovery? or a Fake?


The Cover

The cover above appeared in ebay on 6 December 2010 with an opening bid of GBP9.00. A day after being listed, the seller ended the auction (without bids). I emailed him asking the reason behind it and here's what he replies "...just because due to its scarcity, I realized that eBay was not the best place to sell it maybe I will hand it over to Feldmann or another auctioneer".

The cover itself, from a quick glance, is not any attractive than the other earliest Labuan covers. In fact, there are no stamps found and apart from the postmark and the handwritten address, the cover is virtually void of any appeal. Nevertheless, from a more detailed inspection, the postmark shows a date of FEB 24, 1858 which means that the cover is probably one the earliest known covers from Labuan!

The Postmark

I'm not sure whether there's any reference about this particular cover or postmark in the literature or not. I have seen a number of early Labuan postmarks similar to this one, but typically show the year of 1864 or 1865 and may be strucked with either red or black ink. Proud mentions that a datestamp was ordered on 15.09.1851 with sliding dates plus ink pad and post office seal, but no other detailed note. The earliest Postal Regulation of Labuan was introduced in 1849 and free delivery to Singapore is only granted to letters on the public service (sent or received by authorized officers) and letters of non-commisioned officer, soldiers, seamen or marines.

Mr. Harvey of Borneo Co. Limited

The cover is addressed to Mr. Harvey of Borneo Co. Limited (BCL), Singapore. Mr. John Harvey was the then managing director of the company and one of its board members. BCL was founded in 8 May 1856 in London as a joint stock, limited liability company, doing import and export business including the formation of a shipping cartel. Singapore was the headquarter of the company in the Far East with braches in places like Borneo, China, Hong Kong, India, Java etc.

Note: Please read a further discussion on the cover HERE by the members of the Sarawak Specialist Society.

Land Ordinance Documents with Perfinned Revenue Stamps 1920


The Perfinned Revenue Stamps

Both documents show the use of perfinned stamps with the word REV / ENUE, arranged in 2 lines of 73 holes. The perfins may be upright or inverted as seen in the second document (although sideways perfins are also recorded). Stamps from both documents are cancelled using the "Land Office, Jesselton, B.N. Borneo" oval double ring cancel in 16 June 1920. I think both documents are related to the transfer of land ownership. All stamps are faulted (as usually the case for revenue-related use) but in general, perfinned stamps from North Borneo are quite rare. These stamps appear only very rarely in ebay!

Similar But Not the Same


Cover A

Cover B

Similar But Not the Same

Both covers are similar in many ways: they are both franked with a complete set of 1894 stamps from 1c. to 24c, they are both sent from Sandakan to Germany and tied with the same cds. Both are registered mails with reg. no 36 and 26 respectively, and both are philatelic in nature.

The main differences are the franking style, the cover used, and the address. Cover A is clean, fault-free cover with the address printed, definetely with philatelic market in mind; whereas cover B is handwritten with slight fault on top, but with a feel of genuine postally used cover.

The question is, if you were to choose from one of these covers, which one would you choose? Cover A or Cover B? I like a clean, fault-free cover but I also prefer a cover with a feel of genuine postally used rather than purely philatelic in nature. But what do you think? Cover A or Cover B and why?

Or follow the discussion in Stampboards here

The Pen Cancels of North Borneo


2 cents stamps with 8 cents surcharge pen-cancelled with "Silam"

Pen Cancels

Pen cancellation is relatively common among the North Borneo stamps but currently there is a limited reference or study done on the subject. This resulted in very few attention or interest on the subject itself. If looked carefully, some pen cancels are actually quite interesting and possibly rare.

Most pen cancels are seen in revenue or fiscally used stamps. The cancels can range from a simple meaningless scribble to something describing the date and town, and in some case, the initials of the postmaster.

Pen cancels with Chinese characters?

Pen cancels are usually associated with fiscal or revenue stamps, however, in some instances it may be used as a substitute to handstamp on postally used stamps. It is not certain whether North Borneo ever necessitated pen cancels because of the shortage of handstamps, however in some countries a shortage of handstamps may be solved simply by using the pens. Nicaragua for example exclusively used pen cancels for seven years after its first stamps issue due to unavalability of handstamps.


Of course because of the nature of the cancellation, pen cancels worth significantly lower than handstamped collection. Even a CTO stamp may worth more than a pen-cancelled stamp. It is probably the less desired cancels of all and some people even attempt to remove the cancels to make the used stamps appear mint.

A variety of pen cancels on fiscally used stamps

Nevertheless, pen cancel is still unique in its own way, and clearly someone has to do a research or study on the topic. It would be nice to know whether there is a regulation or guideline issued by the North Borneo Company on how to pen-cancel a stamp.

Buyer's Premium: A Rip Off?


Buyer's Premium

Anyone participating in an online auction should notice this - the buyer's premium - an additional charge levied by the auction house to the successful bidder in addition to the final hammer price. This 'small' charge is paid by the bidder to the auctionhouse but not passed or shared with the vendor.

The majority of the stamps online auction charges this at 15%. Usually this also includes a Value Added Tax (VAT) but some auctionhouse charges separate VAT (eg. Stanley Gibbons), which makes the successful bidder pays more.

It is strange that we have to pay an additional amount just because we have the privilege of buying things from them. If we go shopping in a supermarket and buy a $1.00 pen, this 15% additional tax means we have to pay an extra 15c - but for what? For the pleasure and privilege of shopping in that shop?

A Rip Off?

So what do we get for the additional tax we pay? Certainly nothing because we don't get any extra service apart from the basic email correspondence and we don't get free catalogue either. The auctionhouse charge it only because they can and they'll make more money out of it.

AuctionhouseBuyer's Premium
    Stanley Gibbons    15%
David Feldman15%
Status Int16.5%
Cristoph Gartner19%
Some buyer's premium from common auctionhouse

Surely they should charge the seller (or vendor) more because they are the ones using the service from the auctionhouse. For example if a consignment of stamps is received from a seller, the auctionhouse has to research for the stamps, revalue them, making estimation, take pictures and publicise them in a catalogue and then advertise the upcoming auction in stamp magazines or internet etc. So it is reasonable to charge the vendors a good percentage of the final price, but why charge the buyer?

The only reason I could think of is that they are taking the advantage of the fact that no two collections are the same. Scarcity is the keyword. Buyers would go an extra mile just to get hold of rare and good collections, and some buyers of course wouldn't mind paying a little more as long as they can get their desired items. This simply reflects the basic tenet of supply and demand. In order to get a quality supply, the auctioneer would not overcharge the seller, but because there is a strong demand in philatelic materials, they feel they should make full use of it by charging the buyer as well (and make them 15% richer).

A buyer's premium, as cool as it may sound, is simply a rip off. Nothing else. It is used by many auctionhouse elsewhere and not limited to the stamps business.

The question is, is it legal? Well no one has challenged the practice before so it could be legal. However, because the buyer gets nothing for the 15% charge (or whatever the rate is), it can be considered a "levy" or "tax" or "extortion" which is illegal by the standard of the European law. So maybe somehow someone would bring this matter into the attention of the European court and outlaw this shameful practice. Just my 2 cents...

Interesting Stampless North Borneo Covers


Early cover from North Borneo?

Saw this cover in ebay sometime ago but I'm not sure what exactly it was. The heading says "THE BRITISH NORTH BORNEO COMPANY" similar to the government official cover eg. OHMS. The only postmark on the cover is the red ink London Paid postmark, 7 Dec 1890. No other postmarks from North Borneo. Is this kind of cover commonly used by the company in 1890s? Has anyone got any information about this?


Jesselton 20c Paid Postmark

Another interesting stampless OHMS cover from North Borneo to Denmark. It is marked with Jesselton 20c Paid postmark dated 22 Feb 1956. The lower left corner of the cover is also strucked with violet cachet of the Department of Posts & Telegraphs, Colony of North Borneo, Jesselton. There is certainly no reference on this postmark in Proud's book, which makes it a nice collectable.

The Hunt for Great Postmarks II



Imagine you are given the task of presenting the essence of your country's philatelic history in one-page stock card. What sort of postmarks or stamps would you put and why?

A quick glance into this collection gives you that sense of historical appeal, capturing the very essence of North Borneo's rich philatelic history and not to mention the thrill of looking into some of the rarest North Borneo postmarks!

It appeared in an online auction site (not ebay) about 2 weeks ago and ended in 2 Nov 2010. The site's estimated price was way undervalued at £180-£220 (of course the final price was way beyond that range).

The rare Postmarks

Generally speaking the collection presents a nice mix of old and new postmarks. Some of the most notable postmarks are:

Gantian simply means a "replacement" or "substitution" in Malay. The town is so named because it was used as a substitution of the earlier settlement in Gaya island after being burned down by Mat Salleh. The Gantian cds in the collection is struked in black ink and shows a date of 13 FEB 1900, consistent with the D2 type postmark. Although there is a slight fault in the year on the postmark, it can be overlooked considering the fact that it is generally an excellent cds of this extremely rare town.

Equally interesting postmark on the horizontal pair of violet 3 cents of the 1887-1892 stamps. The cds is strucked in black ink and shows the upper half of the cds. The date is not visible although the "B" code on top of the date can be seen (not sure what it indicates). The numbers of letters received or dispatched from the post office are not known but from Nov 1886 - Jan 1887 only about $ 24.50 of the stamps sold.

Mempakul town still exists today. It is situated on the shore of Brunei Bay facing the Labuan island. It is about 3 hours drive from Kota Kinabalu towards the more well-known town of Menumbok due to ferry service to Labuan. The Mempakul postmark in the collection is struked in black ink on the 5 cents stamp of 1892 issue, showing the right half of the cds. The date is 25 MAY 1897, consistent with the D2 type postmark. In general, there are 3 types of Mempakul cds, all of which are very rare.

Elopura postmark is used from 1884-1885 before the name Elopura being reverted back to Sandakan. Prior to 1884, oval of bars postmarks were used (or doted postmark). Even though the official usage of the above postmark was from 1884-1885, it is presumed that it was used unofficially to cancel some high values stamps up to 1890. The year in the Elopura cancellation in the lot is unclear, it could be the genuine postally used cds or that of favoured cancels.

There are two Lahat Datu cancels in the lot. The first one, which is probably the more notable one is the one with the blue ink bull's-eye cancel. The date is 2 APL 1903, consistent with the D3 Lahat Datu cancel. The second Lahat Datu cds is struked in black, dated 10(?) MAY 1908 which is also the D3 type.

There are many more postmarks worth mentioning such as the nice TAWAO cds, the PAPAR, HONG KONG, SANDAKAN, BEAUFORT etc.

P/s: Comments are welcomed!

Pan American Airways Trans-Pacific Clipper Service (1935-1941)


Map showing the Trans-Pacific route of the Pan-American Airways (PANAM-14 and PANAM-19)


Terms such as trans-pacific, trans-atlantic, China clipper, Pacific clipper covers, Pan-American airways etc are very confusing to me; so I decided to read up on the topic and skim through the vast resources in the internet. These terms are quite important to know because many interesting and unique pre-WWII covers bear these words and not knowing them means you'll miss some of the greatest things in collecting postal history.

Brief History of the Trans-Pacific Clipper Service

Trans-Pacific and Trans-Atlantic are just two of the many routes in the Pan American Airways service. The Pan American Airways (PanAm) was the premier American air carrier from 1920s before its collapse in 1991. "Clipper" simply refers to a 19th century sailing ship but the term is very synonymous to the company because they named their aircrafts with the word "clipper" (e.g. China clipper). This is probably to show the image of sailing through the blue sky to exotic and distant destinations.

The China Clipper passes over the San Francisco waterfront at the start of the inaugural commercial flight across the Pacific Ocean.

China clipper is the name for one of the company's aircraft, and is esentially a Martin M-130 flying boat. Only three M-130s were built: China clipper, Hawaii clipper and the Phillipine clipper. A fourth flying boat called the Russian clipper (designated M-156) was built for the Soviet Union. The China clipper, being the first of the four flying boats of the company, is important because it was the first airmail flight across the Pacific. On November 22, 1935, China clipper 'sailed' from San Francisco for Manila. This event marked the first trans-pacific airmail flight.

A cover sent to US President, Franklin D. Roosevelt from the trans-Pacific first flight

The Trans-Pacific Route

The first trans-Pacific route was designated FAM-14 (Foreign Air Mail Route). From 1935-1939, FAM-14 served as the only route connecting USA to Asia. However, as the World War II seemed inevitable and fears of normal delivery being attacked, the volume of mails carried in the Pacific clipper service began to increase. This prompted the Pan American Airways to open another route in the Pacific region, designated FAM-19, connecting the US and southern Pacific with Auckland as a base.

Cover from N. Borneo to USA on 3 November 1941

When Italy joined the WWII conflict in 1940, all existing Mediterranean routes for airmails were esentially stopped. This means letters from Asia could not be delivered to western European countries through the Mediterranean routes. As a result, two-oceans airmail service was developed, the trans-Pacific, trans-Atlantic route. In general, the Pacific clipper service was much safer, faster and reliable, but also more expensive. This explains why covers flown in the service are usually franked with high values stamps.

North Borneo and the Clipper service

The Pacific clipper service only became available in Singapore in May 1941. Several covers from North Borneo were sent using the service. This is usually characterised by high-value frankings and absence of incoming postmark (eg. Singapore). The last flight of the China clipper left Singapore on November 30, 1941 and arrived Manila the same day. It departed Manila on December 1 and arrived San Francisco on Dec 6. For only a brief period of availability, covers from North Borneo, Sarawak, Malaya etc flown via the clipper are considered very rare.

The rates for the service with regards to North Borneo depends on the service used. From May 26, 1941 ½ oz. letter to Europe via Egypt costs 55c, Europe destination with air to NY and then by sea costs $1.45, while with air throughout (i.e. trans-Pacific, trans-Atlantic) costs $2.05. US and Canada destinations costs $1.45 however, on July 3, 1941 the rate was raised to $1.55 per ½oz. Postcards have lower rates. In addition to the standard clipper rates, 2 cent War Tax stamp (for non-domestic destination) is also usually charged.


China clipper = Name of first flying boat Martin M-130 across the Pacific from USA
Trans- Pacific = Can be FAM-14 or FAM-19, routes of airmails across the Pacific
Trans-Pacific trans-Atlantic = Two oceans service crossing the Pacific and Atlantic oceans by air throughout



$3 Million British Empire Collection in ebay?


$3M collection of British Empire Collection?

Last week, a Russian seller listed this lot in ebay. It didn't sell the first time he listed it and had it relisted again. In the description, it says that the collection covers the British Commonwealth countries, organised from Aden to Zululand.

There are 3 parts in the collection, the first part consists of mostly of mint stamps from 1840-1955 in 90 volumes of album. This is estimated at £1.55 Million based on Stanley Gibbons 2010 catalogue. The second part is the used stamps particularly strong on the Queen Victoria, North Borneo and Western Australia and is estimated £0.32 Million. The third part consists of postal covers and stationaries said to be from as early as 1720-1955, and is estimated at $0.4 million.

Is this valid?

Now to the most important question - Is this whole thing a reliable business or is it just one of the biggest scams ever attempted in ebay? The seller put a but it now price of $880,000 and starting the bid for $800,000. But from the seller's feedback of merely 9 and the fact that the owner would not ship anywhere and requires the buyer to go to Moscow for local pick-up, raise some suspicions to say the least.

The owner provided about 10,000 pictures here. I only looked at the North Borneo, Labuan, Sarawak, Brunei and Malaya stamps and to be fair, the stamps are just perfect and some are exquisitely rare! It is possible that somehow, someone in Russia really has such a great collection, but who knows what would happen once you click the "Buy It Now" button and send your payment? This particular auction has also been discussed more thoroughly in Stampboards.com.

What About The British Borneo and Malaya Collection?

I don't know much about the other countries collection and I'm only interested in the British Borneo and to a little extent, the Malaya. So I went to look for these countries among the collection. There are literally thousands upon thousands of pictures provided and if you have an old computer, you'll risk crashing your machine in no time. Anyway, here's some of the pictures for the North Borneo and Labuan collection:

To look for more pictures click below:
1. Mint North Borneo & Labuan collection starting here.
2. Used and CTOs N. Borneo and Labuan starting here.
3. All other stamps in the collection here.

So what Now?

I've been waiting since last week to see if there's any wealthy bidder or buyer who has a spare $800,000 for this collection but nobody bided so far. I certainly don't have that much fund to begin with unless I can steal the CT scan or the MRI scan in my hospital and sell it in ebay for a fraction of it's original value. :) But then again, even if I manage to get the money, I'll still be hesitant to bid for the lot...So I'll stick with what's normal rather than an unpromising venture.

Most Wanted August & September 2010


"Most Wanted August &September 2010"
The list is back again for the most wanted philatelic materials of North Borneo on August and September. September was particularly exciting with hundreds of interesting items listed in ebay. Many rare covers, postcards and postmarks were listed and reached very high hammer prices.



Full set of 1925-28 North Borneo stamps (Perf. 12½) from 1cent - $10. MNH.

Ended 23.09.2010

SG Cat price


4 bids



Black and White Postcard showing Labuan Bazaar Wharf, bearing 1 and 3 cents stamps of Labuan. Dated 24 June 01 and addressed to Bruxelles, Belgium (rare destination). Arrived Bruxelles on the 29 July 1901.  Written in French: "Bonjour ma petite Eperie, Je t'embrasse fort, Leon" (T/L: Hello, my little Eperie, kisses [and hugs], Leon).
Ended 14.09.2010

SG Cat price


13 bids


Back of cover

2 separate registered covers bearing the  N. Borneo stamps overprinted with black "Red Cross | Two Cents" from Jesselton (4 Jun 1919) to London, England. Philatelic but highly sought and valuable.

Ended 08.09.10

SG Cat Price

3 bids



Full set of 1939 stamps from 1 cent to $5. MNH. Highly valuable and rare especially the $1-$5.

Ended 06.08.2010
SG Cat Price

17 bids



 Generally a vast collection of North Borneo stamps from the first issues to 1960s. Most stamps are in mint condition but some are used.
Ended 04.09.2010

SG Cat Price
27 bids



North Borneo 1918 Red cross $10 MNH. Generally in very good condition although with some perforation defects.

Ended 22.09.2010

SG Cat price


1 bid



Interesting Salvaged mail of the Comet crash near Calcutta in 2 May 1953. Note the wrong spelling of "Galcutta". More details on this cover here.

Ended 06.09.2010

SG Cat price


11 bids



North Borneo Pacific and Atlantic Clipper cover 24 Nov 1941. The cover has the handwritten endorsement "By Trans-Pacific-trans-Atlantic / By Air Throughout" indicating Pan American airways two - ocean airmail service to the UK. Very likely to be carried by the last flight of the China clipper. Also has the red triangle censor mark "NORTH BORNEO PASSED FOR TRANSMISSION 20"

Ended 18.08.2010

SG Cat price


5 bids



North Borneo 1918 Red cross $5 MNH. Very good general condition.

Ended 22.09.2010

SG Cat price



2 bids



Another wonderful collection from nystamps. Literally hundreds of old and 'new' stamps of North Borneo and British Malaya. Notable postmark include Papar (D1) and Jesselton and Sandakan.

Ended 23.09.2010

SG Cat price


32 bids

The selection criteria for this list include (a) stamps/philatelic items of North Borneo appearing in ebay, (b) must be available internationally and (c) must be on auction format only. Currency conversion to Euro based on exchange rate in 08/10/10.

Check out the previous months:

Curious Postmarks


Postmark 1

Only "UL" and possibly "A" can be seen from the cds.
Could this be the "TANGKULAP" postmark?

Postmark 2

This postmark appeared in ebay. Interestingly, there are 3 different
postmarks on the stamp. (1) The blue ink oval for "AC" (2) Black
double ring Singapore P.O and (3) Very faint violet postmark vertically
that possibly writes "ABRAHAMSON", the letter "A" is  vaguely
visible on top of the ship.

Postmark 3

Not sure what postmark this is - Double ring mark with fairly visible
"ITTS.  N" (??) letters.
Postmark 4

Another curious postmark with a boxed red ink.
Can't see any letters or symbol...

All stamps appeared in ebay sometime ago.
Comments are appreciated!

Review of the Spink Singapore Auction 2010: Stolz Collection



In September 26, 2010, Spink Singapore held an important philatelic auction on collections from British Southeast Asia. This includes rare items from Malaya and states, Singapore and British Borneo. A total of 795 postal histories were auctioned and 466 were sold (329 remain unsold). Of these, about 11% represent postal histories from North Borneo and Labuan (86). Some of the collections are very important and have appeared in many standard handbooks, publications and journals.

Cumulative price realisation (excluding buyer's premium) was £584,827. The most expensive item in that auction is an entire, bearing the earliest recorded use of the India 4 annas in the Straits Settlement (1854). It managed to push the price to a jaw-dropping hammer price of S$200,000 (£96,340).

The Spotlights:

1. 1854 India stamps used in Penang

Sold for: £96,340
Description: 1854 (19 Dec.) entire ex the "Heard" correspondence to Canton via forwarding agent, S.M. Lord, in Hong Kong, bearing a magnificent 4a. 2nd. printing pair with part rosettes at foot and wavy lines, or part thereof on three sides, both centrally cancelled by diamond of dots, rated "1/-" and showing, on reverse across join, framed "penang/Paid" d.s. and Hong Kong arrival c.d.s. (1.1). A magnificent cover and a major exhibition item.

2. 1854 India Stamps used in Singapore

Sold for: £38,936
Description: 1854 (22 Nov.) entire letter from Batavia to Greenock, bearing 1a. (4, three touched or cut-into on one or more sides) and 4a. (cut-to-shape), all cancelled by circle of dots (Type K1, one of two recorded) which was applied in Singapore, showing framed "india paid" and London Paid transit c.d.s. (22.1) with, on reverse, framed "singapore/Paid" d.s. in red for December and light arrival datestamp. A very rare and magnificent franking, and a major exhibition item.

3. 1864 Labuan letter with India stamps

Sold for: £38,936
Description: 1864 (3 Nov.) envelope "Via Singapore paid" to Nelson, New Zealand, bearing India 1856-64 4a. black horizontal pair each neatly cancelled with circle of dots (Type K1) with superb "labuan" c.d.s. (Type D1) in red below, showing framed "mis-sent to/melbourne.victoria" h.s. in blue with Nelson arrival c.d.s. (30.1) alongside, the reverse with Melbourne transit c.d.s. (18.1) in blue; a couple of small imperfections though an attractive and very rare early franked cover, being one of only three items bearing Indian stamps used in Labuan.

Check out the auction catalogue here.

Historical North Borneo Covers Auction: Spink Singapore Auction


The Auction

On 26 September 2010, Spink Singapore will be auctioning some of the most exquisite and exceptional postal histories from North Borneo and the rest of British South East Asia (S.E.A) as part of the "Stolz" collection.

Most of the covers are not only extremely rare but also appear in Proud's book under North Borneo section. Some of the notable postmarks include the earliest Labuan cds (type D1) and circle of dots (type K1), Gantian cds, Gayah cds, Labuk & Sugut cds, Lahad Datu blue cachet, Sandakan Postage Paid mark etc.

Some covers are estimated at a mind blowing price of S$80,000-S$100,00. Other covers with small town cancels such as Keningau, Papar, Semporna and Sipitang have mush lower estimated price but still relatively expensive compared to what you would normally be offered in sites like ebay.
1. Labuan Cover (Estimate - S$80,000 - S$100,000)

Note: 1865 (4 Mar.) front to Manila, bearing India 1856-64 4a. black (3) in combination with Hong Kong 1862-63 8c. yellow-buff (3), all neatly cancelled with circle of dots (Type K1), showing superb "labuan" c.d.s. (Type D1) at foot alongside Manila "2" rate mark; a few faults in places though unique, being the only known combination franking of Hong Kong and India stamps used in Labuan.

2. Labuan Cover (Estimate - S$40,000 - S$50,000)

Note: 1864 (3 Nov.) envelope "Via Singapore paid" to Nelson, New Zealand, bearing India 1856-64 4a. black horizontal pair each neatly cancelled with circle of dots (Type K1) with superb "labuan" c.d.s. (Type D1) in red below, showing framed "mis-sent to/melbourne.victoria" h.s. in blue with Nelson arrival c.d.s. (30.1) alongside, the reverse with Melbourne transit c.d.s. (18.1) in blue; a couple of small imperfections though an attractive and very rare early franked cover, being one of only three items bearing Indian stamps used in Labuan.

3. North Borneo Cover with "Gantian" cds (Estimate: S$40,000 - S$50,000)

Note: 1919 (15 Feb.) registered envelope back, bearing 1897-1902 2c. vertical strip of three, a pair and three singles all cancelled with "gantian" c.d.s. (Type D2) and the only recorded example of a crude registration label numbered "106", also showing Labuan c.d.s. (Type D6) for 16 February (showing year date as "19"), 21 February (showing year date as "00") and small part Singapore c.d.s. A remarkable franking and a very early date of use of this rare datestamp.

4. North Borneo Cover with "Labuk & Sugut" cds (Estimate: S$15,000 - S$20,000)

Note: 1906 (12 May) local rate envelope to the S.P.G. Mission at Sandakan, bearing 1901-05 British Protectorate 2c. cancelled with fine "labuk & sugut" c.d.s., arrival c.d.s. (14.5) on reverse; the envelope a little truncated at left and with crease at foot, neither of which significantly affect the appearance of this exceptionally rare envelope, being one of only two covers recorded from this short-lived office.

5. North Borneo Cover with blue seal "Lahad Datu" cachet (Estimate: S$2,000 - S$2,500)

Note: 1897 (Dec.) envelope registered to France, bearing 1897-1902 6c. and 12c. sharing a good "silam post office/Lion/b.n. borneo" intaglio seal h.s. (Type K1) in blue with Modane A Paris T.P.O. c.d.s. (29.1) in red alongside, Sandakan registered h.s. (Type R3) at left, Sandakan (9.12) and Fabregues arrival c.d.s. (30.1) on reverse. A fine and early registered franking from this office.

And many more...

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