Old China Town KL The Malaya Study Group Selangor SG 87

The Malaya Study Group exists for collectors of the stamps, postal stationery and postal history of the states of Peninsular Malaysia which until 1963 formed the Federation of Malaya, including the Straits Settlements of Malacca, Penang and Singapore, the Federated Malay States, Negri Sembilan and Sungei Ujong, Pahang, Perak and Selangor and the Unfederated States, Johor, Kedah, Kelantan, Perlis and Trengganu. Many MSG members also collect & study all of modern Malaysia, Singapore, and the island of Borneo, comprising additionally  Sabah, Sarawak, Borneo, Labuan, and the states of Brunei & the peninsular state of Singapore. Study of the whole area so often adds to understanding and appreciation of the philately of Malaya. The Society has a JOURNAL, "The Malayan Philatelist" and a NEWSLETTER supplied free to members, EXCHANGE PACKETS, AUCTIONS and has produced a number of significant PUBLICATIONS on the stamps and postal history of the area.

The MSG Leicester Meeting on March 2nd 2013

A report by Dominic Morris CBE

pictures by Susan McEwen

After two weeks of rain, sleet and flat, sullen skies, the sun shone for the Leicester Meeting and the first hint of spring was in the air. 17 of us foregathered, including two welcome guests. There was a fine, full day of philately (and some numismaty (?)/ numismatics (?) – anyway, Joe bought some coins and notes- see below).
The day opened with some quiet sighing from those who had stayed at the Regency overnight and had stayed up too late the night before. Mike Ludlow put up a standing display of SATA etc. TB labels to wake them up and greet new arrivals.

part of the audience, 17 attended, not all in this photo.


2205 Mike Ludlow, meeting convener starts the meeting




three pictures of Mike ludlow's SATA labels display



part of a display



part of the display of Forged censor marks.




part of other displays


Round One was opened by Joe Robertson, who gave a full and thoughtful display on the history of the currency of Malaya with 11 pages of accompanying notes, from the pre-currency period to the first coinage in the 15th Century Malaccan Sultanate, through the Spanish Dollar period, including the several dozen chests-worth of silver dollars paid over each year after 1786 by HMG to the Sultan of Kedah for the lease of Prince of Wales – now Penang- Island, through to Straits Silver Dollar, paper KGVI and JapOcc war-time notes and post-war paper currency. Joe managed to sneak this all in under the (fairly feeble) pretext- but never mind- that Malaysia had produced one set of stamps on the early gold coinage. This was a first for Joe, who normally displays postage dues.

(Your Correspondent felt smug at knowing the answers to two questions: 1) why did early/mediaeval Chinese cash have a square hole in the middle of the copper coins? And 2) when did the first great inflation, as opposed to coin debasement/ devaluation, occur? No, it wasn’t the Chinese or the Romans. Answers to The Newsletter, please. The correct answers will be provided in the next edition of The Newsletter).

Iain Dyce showed incoming early mail to Straits and transits with marine sorter cancels en route to Hong Kong, China and Japan dating from the early nineteenth century, pre-stamp era, through to some lovely QV covers, including a beautiful cover from Strontian in the Western Highlands- home of Strontium -90.

Mike Waugh finished the round with some very nice pre-1909 Kedah cancels and Chetty mails inward to Kulim.

Round Two was a display by Andrew Norris (in Joe Robertson V0.0 format) of forged censor marks, including many from periods from which there was no censorship in Malaya/ Malaysia. The ripest was a 1978 aerogramme with a purported censorship mark. Plus a lovely Straits used in Labuan Postage Dues and some nice Singapore Revenues on Indentures. Even Hon Treasurer was baffled by the revenue rate applied to a one-year deferred mortgage Indenture.

Round Three was opened by Jon Higgins with Labuan 1891-2 surcharges, starting with the basic 8c sheets then the 6c on 8c surcharge or which there was (originally) a legitimate postal usage but which was subsequently heavily bought up philatelically; a superb 6c on 16c on piece- the only other known version on cover belonging to the British Library; then some Sarawak Taxe Mail and air-mail cachets.

Rob Holley followed with early/pre-War local mail usages from a wide range of States; a commercially (?)-used Pahang bisect on cover; commercially-used Red Cross overprints and a fiscal stamp used for postal purposes during the 1900 shortages; and a rare pre-1893 2c Selangor local rate on cover. Then he hit us with two special covers: the Trengganu 5c MBE on cover (the original and only other known one being in Andrew Norris’s collection) and a whole sheet of ex-Kearney Trengganu Japanese Occupation un-overprinted in various values from 1942, including a perfect uprated 2c+2c postcard from Kemaman to Syonan-To. (As a JapOcc collector, your Correspondent’s reaction can best be summarised as OMG!)

Round Four was shared between Susan McEwen and Mike Ludlow.

Mike showed a wide range of photographs and postcards from the Straits Steamship Company, including some very informative write-ups which I hope Mike will reprise in either the Newsletter or TMP.

Susan reprised her Majeedi Detention Camp collection, last shown, in part at Spink in 2007 with new covers, including those to staff (one of which appeared to have come from Mecca) and some of which showed the great inflation that accompanied the collapse of the Kuo-Min-Tang government on Mainland China from late 1948-49 and the Communist government overprints from 1949; artist’s impressions of the officers and men from HMS Repulse, together with historical trace-lines of what had happened to them. The final insult to the rest of us was that she had received and showed her AGM TMP, catalogue etc in an envelope without stamps and which had thus acquired a Taxe mark. (Chairman’s perks ?!) **

Round Five comprised a nice display from Mike Ludlow from the Wearne’s Air Service FDCs (were there any others?- answer ‘yes’ but not enough to pay the Kerosene duty set at a crippling level so as not to interfere with the State monopoly by the over-capitalised Malayan railways. Pity Wearnes did not go in for the post-War Malayan Airways where they might have recouped their politician/governmental induced losses. Your Correspondent asks a riddle: why do Governments define theft, since they are the biggest thieves?)

Rob Holley concluded the day with- stamps!- He showed the Tiger Heads of 1895 from Negri, SU and Perak including the G for c variety; and a very scarce Selangor on cover.

Some of us who arrived a few minutes late did not have a chance to display into this rich field. Never mind! Mine were all returned from Susan’s scanning: they are the (Robertson V0.0) illustrations for a forthcoming GSM article, assuming they accept it.

View mine there- and weep!


Dominic Morris CBE


** I also got a stampless envelope with a Taxe Mark - and I thought it was the rare one! - Nick Hackney

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