Natural Resources, Saturday December 14th 2013 at Spink London
by Susan McEwen, Report by Dominic Morris
December Members Display was most enjoyable. We saw very interesting unusual
items about the Natural Resources and prominent personalities of Malaya.
Members made a contribution to cover the full cost of the Xmas cheer.
Many thanks to Dominic for providing it all!
Malaya’s Natural Resources: Palms, tin, rubber, people
Saturday 14 December 2013 a report by Domiinic Morris
Round One was a standing
display, while the 15 members present and one welcome guest partook of
festive nibbles and refreshment. Mac McClaren showed the first frame,
a mix of MBE covers showing the produce of Sabah and a small study of
the half-centenary of the Malaya Rubber Institute. Andrew Norris had two
frames including Punjun Mining Company chops, PPCs of the Raub gold mine,
share certificates for the Raub Australian Mining company and a range
of other share certificates for rubber companies and the Bentong Tin Company.
Susan McEwen showed the (very rare) design work for the 1957 issue pineapple
and weaving stamps, and photos from Worthing 1998.
Peter Cockburn showed two frames starting with rubber export tokens. Their
elegant design was from the FMS Survey Department who became so busy printing
them that they had no time to follow up on the wide range of Survey Department
Essays they had produced between 1933 and 1934; material on Hugh Low,
in Peter’s view the real pioneer of Malaya’s rubber industry,
because responsible, as Resident of Perak for the first plantings; a Sitiawan
slogan ‘replant or die’, a 1971 Singapore proof of the rubber
export tax stamp; three tin revenues, a memo of lease, a guarantee/ tin
dredger machine lease and a mining lease.
Bill Pain opened Round Two with two frames on people, tin mining, International
Womens’ Year, with a nice imperf (proof?) pair of stamps, rubber,
a Stamp Exhibition envelope signed by the Raja Muda of Selangor and a
selection of the shoulder flaws of Raja Syed Putra of Perlis.
Brian Reeder showed a few photos including the choir of Changi Garrison
church (with Brian as a boy in the front row) and a PPC of the Sterling
Castle in which he was evacuated from Singapore in 1941.
Mike Waugh displayed two frames on the theme of food: rice sheaves (Kedah-
where else?), Freedom from Hunger, fish (mostly bony and inedible it transpires),
birds, crustacea, open air eateries in Singapore, bees (delicious coated
in liquorice apparently – sorry, seasonal jest: just checking who
is still paying attention) and tropical fruit.
Gordon Peters showed
a mixture of letters, envelopes, picture post cards relating to people
in Malaya from JW Birch (Perak 1874) to a Certificate of Citizenship,
1949; a letter from the Private Secretary to the Sultan of Johore, who
sends some “used postage stamps of Johore” to an American
correspondent; a range of ppcs including Sultan Suleiman of Selangor in
1898, a later one of him with his 19 sons; Sultan Hisamuddin Alam Shah
and his coronation at Klang in 1939; and ppcs of several Governors of
Gordon’s display went on to cover: a postal stationery envelope
with the 1937 oronation issue used on first day of issue, addressed to
Mrs A.E. Percival (wife of Lt. Gen Percival who commanded the ill-fated
defence of Singapore). Did she collect stamps? Some early PPCs made by
sticking photographs on the back of postal stationery cards (an early
version of MyStamps?); a letter detailing the plight of a Chinese employee
to his employer after the severe floods in Kelantan in 1927; a parcel
label from the Blue Valley Tea Estates; a photo of the Committee of the
Singapore Stamp Club from 1955; a PPC of a kerb-side stamp seller in Singapore
dated 1938, the seller having come from Hadrahamut. Gordon finished a
display that was well up to his usual (very high) standards, with a few
Christmas covers beginning with one from Noel Trotter who was PMG of Straits
Settlements from 1895-1907.
Len Stanway showed
four frames including plate blocks of the ‘Vanishing Trades’
issues, self-adhesive miniature sheets and arts prints (made available
only to those who had shown signal service to the revenues of SingPos,
and the 2013 new definitives which maintain the theme of the 2006 Commonwealth
Games Mystamps with sheets for each of the Singapore medal winners.
Joe Robertson concluded the display with full Round on the theme of rubber,
which is his other main philatelic interest apart from postage dues (Yr
Correspondent hopes that the insertion of the word ‘philatelic’
in the foregoing should prevent any unseemly sniggering at the back of
the class). It was a very interesting and varied display in Joe Robertson
V0.3 mounting – i.e. write-ups by others on the original sheets
as Joe had acquired them. The display started with the history of the
smuggled rubber tree seeds from the world’s then-monopolists, Brazil,
via Kew Gardens and hence to Malaya and Ceylon (where they did not do
well), ppcs and cigarette cards of rubber tapping, Henry Ridley (on Christmas
Island- very topical!), cars and planes- both of which are dependent on
rubber products, centenary of ‘Henry Ridley Rubber Pioneer’
postmarks (Oh, all right, you can snigger now), social/ commercial history
on postal stationery including a 1941 rubber company letter to Dr FE Wood
in Wales (FE had evidently retained investments in Malaya after his retirement),
export and coagulant import coupons, rubber control correspondence, a
red ‘postage paid’ mark (red being used only by the Controller
of Rubber) including a JapOcc licence and JapOcc rubber production statistics
form and Rubber Research Institute post-War Rubber Conference sets.
In all a very enjoyable and informative Christmas meeting.