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!


Anonymous said...

My friend has a letter dated 1830 and the stamp
was handwritten in red ink and the price was 12 1/2.
Is this worth anything? I told her they had to have
a lot of these around but I can't find any information
on the internet.

Marcel said...

Dear anonymous,

Thank you for your kind comment! I would certainly love to see the picture of the letter, if available. You may send the picture to my email: for discussion.

Best Regards,

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