50th Anniversary Display of the stamps of Malaysia by the Malaya Study Group and the Sarawak Specialist Society on September 14th 2013 at Spink London
Photographs & report by Nick Hackney [apologies to some displayers as their pictures did not come out - shoot the photographer!]
Part of the audience
Bernard Chung, a visitor, who is our MSG National Representative in Singapore
Well that was quite a day! The displays started at 11.00 a.m. and finished about 5.00 p.m.
It started pretty informally with Geoff Rosamond showing a single item, a modern forgery of the Straits QV 3c. It was in black on a deeply aged thickish paper. Geoff's question was - why did anyone bother to produce it? - Sorry, no picture.
Len opened with the 1st issue of Malaysia [what else?]. He showed official handstamps on unsold 1st Day Covers, which was a way of using them up. He remarked that flaws are for more common on modern stamps, perhaps because of the larger volumes printed. We saw Concorde and its error,Triangular issues. We found that Perfins continued, for example on the 1967 Seacom issue.
SPECIMEN stamps for UPU purposes stopped being used in the early 50's. Len showed Publicity Specimens which continued for years. It may be these will confuse newer stamp collectors, as well as older ones!
A Feb 1970 Express label had malay text missing, and misspelt French. Len showed us many errors, missing golds etc. We saw circular stamps, revenues, composite designs running over three stamps etc. Post Office openings materials appeared, as did misplaced colours and proofs.
It was interesting to see the first miniature sheet, and Len showed us examples with and without the silver frame. A Johore postcard which was withdrawn attracted interest as it was withdrawn for poor quality.
We saw Plastic registration envelopes, with and without blue, Crossword Cards, Aerogrammes in singles and books. the Issue that never was 'Phila Korea', new Registration Labels. The sheet format for modern Malaysian stamps is now in 25's and 10's. Len finished with thew triangular design sheet, and the Inauguration of the last Yang di Pertuan Agong.
Mac displayed several frames from his extensive Agri Horticulture series collection. he explained that there were many many varieties, which could be classified under several headings: -
and various papers.
The series appeared with various plate numbers, 2A, 3A, and the rare 7A of which only one block is known
Mac showed all the major varieties, including the Johore 10c
Andrew produced archival material from several soucres including the Malayan Information Bureau, and Dick Hall's material. Dick Hall's 'hobby' was tp gather photographs and autographs from world leaders who sent him signed photographs, and sometime autographs on letters.
A selection of modern Sarawak postmarks followed.
Andrew also showed us a Watermark Master Plate for the multiple PTM watermark. This fascinating item was the master , from which many copies were produced, and they were then set together on the dandy roll to impress the watermark as the paper is made. Real watermarks are of course a thinning in the paper, whereas computer generated 'watermarks' are merely additional printing.
Jon Higgins showed Sarawak at independence.
Mike Roberts displayed what he described as the results of a massive mole hunt in Sarawak Post Officesd in the post colonial era, from his father's collection. We also saw some modern postal history.
Peter Cockburn displayed North Borneo, starting with a picture of the September 16th 1963 signing in of the Chief Minister. We saw a First Day Cover which still bore the date of 31st August 1963, although independence was pushed forward to 11th September.
The political influences and events emerge in the postal history via the changed dates etc.
We saw Rubber stamp overpriunts of 'SABAH MALAYSIA' on old North Borneo stamps. There was a post independence cover from the Director of Public Works using a pre-independence style North Borneo Meter mark. There were of course military covers, and a cover from circa 1968 showing the mark Kota Kinabalu as well as the renamed Jesselton.
Revenues show an interestingly different approach to the use of new names. Whereas the Postal authorities focussed on using the new names as soon a maybe, the Revenue authorities did not seem so concerned at all. Instead they focussed on using up old stocks of Revenue stamps and designs. They even printed Revenue stamps in 1973 using the old state names with De La Rue redesoigned stamps but old names printed at De La Rue Dublin. In 1975 they finally produced Malaysia Revenue stamps.
Susan McEwen had a one frame display of Malaysian stamps used in Singapore during the 2 years, 1963 - 1965 that Singapore was part of Malaysia.
Tim Kestin showed some very interesting modern Malaysia issues. We saw Kampong houses, Turbans, State Crests and Palaces, the work of the cartoonist Lat Kampongboy, coins on stamps, and Sarawak flavoured stamps. These included a Mosque, Pottery, a Kuching model kite, and St.Thomas' school in Kuching.
Jon Higgins North Borneo
Jon showed the last colonial issue of North Borneo, a UN Mission cover to New York, Sabah overprints on the 1961 North borneo issue, some of the values come from both printers [Waterlows and De La Rue].We saw the Sabah Malaysian triple ring handstamps dated 08-30 June 1964; 26 Mat 1966 English language chops for PO Instructions [insufficient postage; 1969 Civil Censorship chop on an economist cover; Train Tickets for the North Borneo Railway and the Sabah State Railway; material from the Indonesian confrontation from the 50's to August 66; December 1962 the Brunei Revolt.
Malcolm Clarke proffered Registered Mail, as the registration rate doubled 20c to 40c whilst the registration rates continued rising. They had a 5 fold increase in about 10 years.
We saw different printings of embossed stamps, Registration labels with many types of name, blank labels, handstamps, and sizes of numbers. There was even an unusual T in a triangle on Registered Mail, odd because the correct rate is normally sorted out at the point of registration. Malcolm additionally showed Express covers, AR marks and skeleton handstamp cancellations.
Bill Pain put up a rare, probably unique, Sarawak Sheet, albeit issed a fraction before Malaysia came into existence. He also had items issued to PSM Committee Members for Post Office openings
In a squeezed in seventh round, Dominic Morris showed an expansion of the material on the Yang di-Pertuan Agongs that had formed the basis for his recent article in Gibbons Stamp Monthly. His display covered material for all fourteen Agongs (even Agong II, Sultan Hisamuddin Alam Shah, who had no issued stamps- only one proof exists in the British Library collection- but who was covered in the 2013 sheet of all the Agongs to mark the installation of Agong XIV, Sultan Abdul Halim Shah of Kedah, the only Sultan to have been Agong twice so far). It included the missing gold error in the 1971 Sultan Abdul Halim Shah issue; and a couple of misplaced perforation blocks, including the spectacular misplaced perforation plate block of the Sultan Ja'afar issue that has the effect of omitting entirely 'Malaysia 30c' from the bottom two stamps in the block.
Dominic finished his round with some 1960s Malaysia material acquired from the late David Dromgoole's collection, including an original copy of the 1962 Cobbold Report which mapped out the future political course of North Borneo; and the famous '31 Ogios' first day cover for Malaysia. [Peter Cockburn had earlier explained to the meeting the origin of the cover.] It had been printed some months previously for the expected Malaysia Day of 31 August 1963, but in the interim Indonesia supported by the Phillipines had kicked off in the United Nations about the status of North Borneo. The UN Secretary General U-Thant sent a delegation which, sensibly, concluded that North Borneo/ Sabah's people wanted and had every right to join Malaysia. The effect of the delay was that the actual first day of issue was 16 September 1963, as the cancellations showed. President Sukarno of Indonesia, in that spirit of respect for self-determination and democracy he had championed for years, promptly embarked on 'The Confrontation'- 3 years' worth of state-sponsored jungle guerrilla war and terrorism against the people of Sabah, which, fortunately, he lost.
A 20 minute round covering display, introductory talk and viewing; something of a record.
That's All Folks
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