The Saumarez Cover - The Earliest Known Cover from Labuan!


The cover to Behold - the De Saumarez Cover

The Earliest Cover from Labuan!

It was only a few months back that we were discussing about the Saumarez cover, and now here it is appearing with all its glory! It is of course a great pleasure to see one of the philatelic treasures of North Borneo/Labuan - the coveted De Saumarez cover! Until recently, very few people have heard about the cover save the experts from the SSS; and fewer still, have ever set eyes on the cover with all its colour and luminosity. This cover is, of course, the earliest known cover from the island of Labuan, being posted in July 13, 1864. This makes the cover comparable to the three early covers from Labuan, known as the Stafford covers, all of which were sent in 1864 as well.

This stampless De Saumarez cover was carried by private ship to Singapore, showing two impressions of red-ink "LABUAN" double-ring cds (Proud's D1) along with boxed "SINGAPORE/SHIP LETTER/1864 AG 4/BG ____" with manuscript of "2as" indicating that 2 annas was charged in Singapore on arrival. If I'm not mistaken, Aug 4, 1864 is the arrival date in Singapore. According to the auctionner, an endorsement on the inside flap reads "72 dollars being charged for bringing the store which came by the 'Rainbow' from the beach to the store close by? - Ask Major Elphinstone to show you the Labuan agents abstract for June".

From  1861-1867 the Straits Settlement (incl. Singapore) was administered by the Burma circle, whereby according to the Indian Post Office Act (1837), letters carried by a private ship is to be stamped with black-inked box that reads "SHIP LETTER BEARING___". This is in contrast to the 3 Stafford covers where stamps from India and Hong Kong were used, the former being supplied in Singapore. One of the covers is franked with Indian stamps ammounting to 8As.

The Stafford Cover with 8As India Stamps

The Saumarez cover above is up for an auction at an estimated price of £ 6,000 - 8,000. It would be interesting to see the hammer price on this great piece of philatelic gem, which would be known after 12 Jul 2011. Comments are appreciated.


Anonymous said...

Hello Marcel,

The auctioneer had once again erred. This is the second earliest cover from Labuan. The earliest recorded is the 1858 Mrs Harvey cover which predates this by a good six years and five months - recorded by non other than your good self on this very blog spot!

Notwithstanding, this is the earliest Labuan cancel in red. We can give that to the auctioneer.


Marcel said...

Hello GE,

Not only that, the auctioneer put the year wrong in their online catalogue saying the cover is 1834 rather than 1864. The Harvey cover may certainly be the earliest but since there is no official confirmation, the issue remains in limbo. Perhaps you should write about the Harvey cover in the journal for the rest to read and judge, afterall you know a great more stuffs about Labuan and North Borneo than the rest of us... :)


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