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.


Anonymous said...

Hi Marcel,

Thank you for your hard works.


Anonymous said...

As fake as the SG3 strip of three with one inverted ovpt currently on ebay.

Marcel said...

Do you mean that the cover is a fake?

Anonymous said...

All Stafford covers are canceled in red. No receiver. Brigadier De Saumarez's entire has a boxed Singapore receiver. Bottom of first 8 is broader than last 8 in year plug.

Anonymous said...

Oh, BTW, your comments on Borneo Co and Mr Harvey are readily available on internet. Not coincidental that his name was used.

Marcel said...

Thank you for your comment!! I know the Mr. Harvey part is just too good to be true and of course the information about him and the company is also readily available on the internet. And thank you for the nice observation on the postmark, I didn't know it was a fake until you point it out! :)

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