1883 Provisionals: 8 Cents Surcharge


SG 2: Vertical 8 cents surcharge

SG2 with 15 bars red obliterator

SG2 with Sandakan D2 (Genuine?)

The 2 cents stamp with a vertical 8 cents surcharge is among the scarce stamp issue of North Borneo. It is not even listed in Scotts catalogue and at some point in history was thought to be a total fake altogether. It is no doubt however that the issue is genuine and that authentic examples do exist, although a postally used example on cover has never been seen.

The perforation should be 12 and that the overprint should be followed by a full stop.The length of the overprint from "8" to "s" of cents should be 10.5 mm (or to the stop, 11.75mm). The height of the "8" and "C" should be 2.5mm, while the "e", "n" and "s" should be 1.5mm. The letter "t" is 2mm high.

Copies do show some slight variation in alignment and are not usually perfectly vertical. Only stamps of Transfer A were surcharged with this vertical overprint, and that by default all other surcharges appearing in any other transfers must be forgeries. Furthermore, most forgeries of this issue appear on a wrong perforation of 14, and has no stop after the surcharge. The one on the left shown above is listed in ebay with an opening price of GBP 80.00. The one on the right bears a blue undated Sandakan postmark (D2) - Genuine?

SG3: Horizontal 8 cents surcharge

SG3 with AC mark

SG3 with AC mark
SG3 with AC and Singapore P.O. marks SG3 with Sandakan D2 and Singapore P.O. marks

The 8 cents horizontal surcharge is another rare issue of North Borneo stamp, although perhaps not as scarce as the vertical one. The stamp above on the left appeared in ebay recently and still active. The one on the most right was underpriced at GBP50 and was won by our fellow collector. Three of the stamps bear the blue ink oval "AC" postmark, and three of the stamps bear the Singapore P.O mark as well.

Because the 8 cents definitive stamps were sent in the same case as the second consignment of the 2 cents stamp (transfer B), the provisionals would only be required for about a month, and as such only a small amount of stamps were surcharged. The perforation should be 12. The surcharge is arranged in two lines and consisted of the words "EIGHT CENTS" with the "EIGHT" being 10.5mm in length and "CENTS" being about 10mm, followed by a fullstop. Because of the type setting, there are ten variations of the surcharge in each row across the sheet.

Forgeries exist in a large number, usually on 1886 stamps with perf 14, and mostly on Transfer D. The example below show an interesting forgery :-

What The Fake?


Le Philatelist by Francois Barroud (1929)

Fakey Fakey

Fake and forged stamps are nothing new - they have been around for almost as long as the postage stamp itself. The first stamp was issued in Britain in 1840 while the first classical forgeries began around 1860 - Sperati and Fournier being the two notorious master forgers. Stamps are not only fun collectibles but also form important, high-value commodities. Like many rare or high value items, stamps are targeted by unscrupulous counterfeiters for easy lucrative money from unsuspecting buyers. North Borneo are far from spared.

Ebay and Fakes

There is no better place to find a large amounts of fakes/forged stamps than in ebay. The following stamps are fake/forged North Borneo stamps I found in ebay, just for future references:

1. $10 and $5 with obvious forged postmark

These stamps were both sold by the same seller. The $10 was sold for £17.89, about £10 less than the $5 stamp which ended with a price of £28. The forged postmarks are notably blurry and don't appear to be legible enough. The most obvious give away though was the presence of the obliterator marks (the CTO marks). The forged postmarks are applied on top of the CTO marks to mask it from unsuspecting buyers.

2. Fake Japanese Overprints

This pair of Postage due stamps with Japanese overprint was offered for £50 (under Buy it Now format). The stamps are genuine but the overprint are forged. This is mentioned by the seller in his/her description. Compared to genuine overprints, the faked overprint in this pair appear markedly thicker and looked too 'rigid' as well.

3. Fake "Two Cents" Overprint

This one is still ongoing in ebay at the time this is written. What's interesting about this lot is the 'new variety' of the "RED CROSS / TWO CENTS". The font is markedly different from the genuine overprint and the "TWO" is simply replaced by numeral "2". The genuine overprint is issued in Aug 1918 on stamps of 1909-1911, strangely enough though, the overprint in the lot above also appear in the 2 cents of 1894 issue.