Silam Postmark (1888-1896)

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This article is no longer maintained. An updated version on Silam Postmark may be found in my new North Borneo stamps site.



History

Silam was a small town in the Eastern part of North Borneo, situated west to Lahad Datu. The BNB company Agricultural Research Station was established around 1884 here. The postmark was used from 24 June 1888 to 14 February 1896.

Blue ink was used from 1888 - 1892, and replaced to red ink from 1892 - 1896. When the government transferred the postal service to Lahad Datu in 1897, the postmark was used from 27 May 1897 to 6 December 1897 (blue ink).

This particular postmark is unique among the other North Borneo postmarks due to the depiction of a lion at the centre, signifying the company's crest. Generally speaking this is one of the most sought after postmark of North Borneo and is considered to be among the rarest.


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This cover bears the rare Silam postmark dated 6 Nov 1897 adressed to Belgium from Lahad Datu. The stamp used is the 10 cents surcharge on $1 (SG 88) consistent with the UPU rate at that time (10 cents). It was auctioned by a German auction house and ended in 19 February 2010. Guess how much it was sold for? €1250!
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Cover picture taken from Proud's postal history of North Borneo. Shown is a registered cover from Lahad Datu to Château de Fabrègues, France. Franked with 18 cents, 10 cents being the standard postal rate and another 8 cents for registration charge. The stamps are cancelled using the Silam blue seal.
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Another cover picture from Proud's. This 1888 cover from Silam was sent to UK and franked with 12 cents stamps. Two Silam postmarks were used to cancel the stamps, certainly a cover to behold!
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1897 envelope registered to Barcelona, bearing 1895 10c. on $1 and 1897 pictorial stamps. All three are clearly tied by blue-ink circular Silam postmark (Type K1). Also Sandakan registration h.s. (Type R3), Lyon to Marseille t.p.o. Ex-Patrick Cassels collection.
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1897 envelope to USA bearing 1895 10c. on $1 clearly tied by circular intaglio of blue Silam post office mark. Ex-Patrick Cassels collection.

Related Topic
North Borneo Postmarks

This article is no longer maintained. An updated version on Silam Postmark may be found in my new North Borneo stamps site.

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