Cover with Character: 1946 Proclamation of N. Borneo as Crown Colony


Proclamation of N. Borneo as a Crown Colony

I saw this cover/document listed in  ebay several days back. It thought it's a very nice historical document pertaining to the change of status of North Borneo from British Protectorate to a Crown Colony. Along with the declaration of His Majesty King George is a black and white portrait of their Majesties. Apart from the main issue of status change, his majesty also acknowleged the post-war effects (which was essentially the primary factor for the change in status), and finally an announcement about Labuan island as being part of North Borneo.

So what does it mean to be a Crown Colony rather than a British Protectorate? Well, after the WWII, the British North Borneo Company became virtually paralysed financially. The destruction of the towns and infrastucture was so great that the Chartered Company was unable to reconstruct North Borneo. Sandakan as a capital was totally wiped out such that Jesselton was chosen as the new capital. That's when the Company decided to sell its interests to the British government, and in doing so, afforded North Borneo a Crown status on July 15, 1946. Protectorate simply means that the British government is protecting North Borneo both diplomatically and militarily, but the administration remained entirely in the hands of the Chartered Company. So when North Borneo became the Crown Colony, the British government not only controlled the administration but also safeguard North Borneo interests.

The cover/document ended with an expected final price of US$355.50. It is franked with various North Borneo and Sarawak BMA stamps and tied with Jesselton cds dated 15 JY 46. There are also translations of the proclamation in Malay and Chinese according to the seller.

On A Lighter Note...

Silamstar noticed this lot in ebay and everyone starts asking why would these common CTO stamps ended with a very high final price? About a year ago, I sold the exact same copies of stamps (CTOs) and I got US$18 for both. I thought that was pretty ok until I see this one. Perhaps Anthony was right, while North Borneo stamps are getting more expensive in the current market, those who have started collecting long time ago will be rich if they start selling their stamps now. Are North Borneo stamps on the rise?


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