North Borneo cover sold for $26,670!

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A US$26,000 North Borneo Cover

It is amazing how this cover reached a surprising final price of HK$207,000(US$26,670)! The initial estimate for the cover was HK$ 1,500 - 2,000. It was auctioned in Hong Kong on 9-10 March 2012.

The cover was sent from Sandakan to Austria and franked with North Borneo 2¢ red brown (SG38) paying postage to Singapore and Straights Settlements 8¢ orange (SG52) paying postage to Austria, both are tied by oval grill killer with Singapore AP 6 90 transit alongside. Two May transits on reverse.

The top most aspect of the cover is printed with "Noord-Borneo Tabak Maatschappij" (North Borneo Tobacco Society). Below, the capital "AMSTERDAM" was scribbled and "Sandakan B.N.B" inscribed in its place. The cover is addressed to Anton Frank Esq, Vienna, Austria.

Tobacco Estates in North Borneo

Tobacco plantation played an important role in North Borneo's economy in the early 1900s. In 1888 alone, there were about 70 private-owned tobacco companies in the whole state with a total of approximately 600,000 acres of land acquired. Forty of these companies were based in Sandakan Residency, mostly owned by Dutch entreprenuers.

Noord-Borneo Tabak Maatschappij is one of the bigger tobacco companies, producing its own coins for payments to the labour worker:

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