by Susan McEwen, Photographs by Nick Hackney & Report by Dominic
69 Southampton Row, London, WC1
Postal History of
Johore Display by Susan McEwen 14.02.15
Report by Dominic
Those not present missed a total treat. This was the best display of
Johore, ever; and possibly one of the best ever Named Displays of any
State (not just my view but one shared by all who saw it, including
some of the most experienced and respected members of our Study Group).
Susan showed Johore from 1876-1949 in three Rounds, covering postal
history, with some postal stationery, PPCs, air mails and maps.
Round One covered 1876-1929. She opened with the short-lived 1876-78
postal service with 2 good quality copies of the rare star and crescent
overprint on the 2c Straits brown, used. No covers with this overprinted
stamp are known to exist.
Susan continued with the 1884 overprints, including some very scarce
combination covers, one being one of only four covers known to exist
of the Loonchu post-mark- this one being from the Loonchu Coffee Estate
to Germany; an 1894 map with a large area of white described ‘unexplored
hill country’. In 1894, Straits upped the rate to 3c. Johore had
no 3c or 1c stamp, hence the 3c overprint which Susan showed on cover.
In 1904, Sultan Sir Ibrahim was visiting London at the Festive Season
and sent out his traditional Christmas & New Year greeting card.
Susan showed one sent to Australia, which attracted 3c Postage Due (a
3c Taxe Mark applied in London and a 3c Australian PD stamp, unusually
with no State mark on the duty plate).
Another highlight of Round one was the complete set of the 1906-07 PPC
series; and post-cards showing the transition of the causeway from the
era when everything had to be unloaded at each end, ferried as loose
goods and reloaded, to the 1909-23 wagon ferry, which ferried a few
carriages across at a time to the 1919-23 construction of the rail and
road causeway and a PPC of the formal opening of the causeway (with
Sir Lawrence Guillemand Governor of the Straits Settlements and the
Sultans of Johore, Negri Sembilan and Selangor). Susan also showed WW1
Censor covers which are somewhere between very scarce and rare from
Johore. In 1918 shortages caused some out of date 4c stamps to be used
and a postcard with the 1899 yellow + red 4c was shown.
- Round Two covered postal history
and postal stationery from 1930-1945. The Round opened with a cover
from Semerah which predated the Semerah postmark (presumably, the
bean-counters market-testing demand); followed by: the 1935 Postal
Stationery 5c Green envelope uprated for correct rate for its Liechtenstein
destination; a 1937 cover addressed to a passenger on RMS Carthage.
The Carthage had sailed before the cover arrived so it was forwarded
to London where a 1/2d postage due stamp was applied cancelled with
a boxed cachet stating ‘Charge not collected. New label required’
and a new 1/2d PD stamp applied to take it to its destination. A lovely
cover, accompanied by a PPC of the RMS Carthage.
The Round followed
with a Registered letter from Crown Prince Ismail with a letter to the
American Consul thanking him for the gift of an American black bear
(a lovely piece of social history which, as an ardent supporter of the
Monarchies of the Malayan States, I yearn to have in my collection!);
a UK to Singapore over-weight cover which picked up 15c of Straits/
FMS PD stamps, the intended Recipient had by then moved on to Johore
so the original PD stamps were cancelled and new 15c Johore PD stamps
were applied. (This is a totally brilliant and possibly unique PD cover-
Eat Your Heart Out, Joe Robertson!)
The Round continued with the Purple 5c Postal Stationery envelope as
a cover and the (very scarce) Postal Stationery Post-card used; 1940
Johore rubber export control coupons; a 1941 cover with a Patriotic
Label neatly tied by the censor’s tape; a range of FPOs, including
a January 1942 FPO 36 with Kedah stamp posted in Johore (Oh, we were
really falling apart by then); an FPO 58 from Muar (the only one known);
a January 1942 OGS cover/ letter with advice on ‘how to handle
Native Labour in these difficult times’, including the invaluable
advice ‘to make sure that employees were paid up to date, had
adequate supplies of rice and fuel; but don’t let them withdraw
all their savings, lest they bolt.’ (Sensible, but perhaps a Tad
patronising); and a 22 January 1942 Johore to Singapore cover –
believed to be the last known.
Susan concluded the Round with 1941-45, starting with a 1941 Red 8c
Postal Stationery envelope, (I want this!). Then she moved onto the
Jap Occ period, including the 8c Red Envelope used Jap Occ un-overprinted
from Labis to Tanjong Malim 6 May 2602; a 5c cover posted within Muar
dated 7 March 1942, un-overprinted; and the NIPPPON GOVERNMENT, 4c Sen
overprinted post-card .
Round Three consisted of airmails, Free-Post and BMA period. Susan showed
Imperial and KLM airmail covers with the changing rates, including a
scarce cover from KLM’s short lived, September 1939 70c rate.
Then my personal favourite, a KLM 5 times overweight registered cover
to HRH Sultan Sir Ibrahim, who in July 1939 was sojourning in Switzerland,
with his then paramour (between Sultana Helen and Sultana Marcella-
of whom Susan showed a press photo)
Susan concluded her airmails with PanAm clippers and $1 rate clipper
postcards (2). The covers included one with the $2 Williams and Lee
printing on striated paper.
Among the Free-post covers was a December 1945 from Muar bearing a Devizes
receiving mark, proof that at least some of the Freepost covers went
by air mail. The BMA selection showed two quite scarce pre-war 4c postcards,
demonetised but then up-rated by two 2c BMA stamps and commercially
Susan concluded her display with an out-of period (1958) but splendid
Chinese clubbed packet cover from Pontian to Swatow, with the originating
and receiving money transmission service providers printed on the envelope,
a $101.15 rate corresponding exactly with the number of 35c rate contents.
The $100 was made up of four $25 revenue stamps. Revenues were allowed
for postal use at that time but only for clubbed packets.
All in all a magnificent display and a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon.
display Susan heard that her Aunty Doris died on Saturday 14th February,
Aunty Doris + Uncle Norman lived in Singapore (1954-1957) and their
Photographs and souvenirs had started Susan's interest in Malaya, which
eventually led to her Johore philatelic collection.
Uncle Norman died in January 2013.
May they both rest in peace, together again.