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.

London Spink Meeting, The Rainbow Years. led by MacMcClaren, 12th November 2016


Report by Mike Padmore

The Rainbow Years, led by MacMcClaren

report by

Mike Padmore


Present: Peter Cockburn, Nick Hackney, Mac McClaren, Susan McEwen, Dominic Morris, Andrew Norris, Mike Padmore, Gordon Peter, Joe Robertson, Martin Roper, Len Stanway, Carl Stott, Michael Waugh. Visitor: A. Stanway




The theme of the displays was “Straits Settlements Surcharges and the Rainbow Years." Mac McClaren, leading the displays, explained that the latter was a reference to the multicoloured overprints of the late Victorian era. He posed the question “Why did it happen?”. This was a matter of discussion throughout the afternoon.







The first round featured ten frames by Mac. The first frame featured various 10 cents overprints on various values during 1880-1 including several flaws eg. the slug flaw on the 10c/6c and the broken e flaw on the 10c/12c plus examples of the first and second printings of the 10c/6c. The frame included the 1883 TWO CENTS vertical overprint on the 8cs and 32cs plus the 3 cents/5c and THREE CENTS/32c overprints, including the bar flaw on the latter. Frame two displayed the 1892-4 ONE CENT/8c green and the 1894 4c/5c blue.

The third and fourth frames showed ONE CENT surcharges from 1892 including antique Ns and Es. Mac made the observation that ONE CENT overprints are relatively easy to plate because of their abundance and cheapness. Frame three imc;luded the broken oval flaw (R10/5) on the ONE CENT/4c brown. He noted that printings on this particular value were generally inferior. Frame four featured ONE CENT/8c with settings I, Ib and II all represented. The distance between CENT and cancelling bar in setting I is 9 mm; in Ib, 11 mm. Frame five displayed the ONE CENT/12c and late (1899) 4 cents overprints.

Frames six to ten moved on to covers, many bearing multiple ONE CENT overprint frankings). Mac observed that overprinted stamps were frequently bought as an “investment” by some commercial offices (particularly German ones), then had to be used up when the philatelic prices realised did not justify their retention. Examples included an 1892 registered philatelic cover bearing 6 overprints and an 1895 cover franked 3x 10c/24c to cover the 3 x 8c/oz rate plus the 5c registration fee (twenty nine cents in total. An 1895 Singapore to Sumatra cover at the 8c/oz UPU rate bore 10 x ONE CENT plus a THREE CENT overprints.
An 1895 Singapore to Kottarajah NEI cover was franked with 39 ONE CENT plus a single 3c carmine overprints for 5 x 8 oz plus 5c registration fee (three stamps missing from the total 45c required).

Frame nine had more multiples of the 8 oz UPU rate, including a 15.08.99 commercial cover to Atjeh (4 x 8c) bearing close to all surcharges available at the time and a 12.09.99 cover carrying two 4 cents/8c blue. Frame ten concluded the first round with covers demonstrating the Empire penny post rate including one FOUR CENTS/5c carmine franking which included 5c for the late fee.

Mac continued into the second round with 1899 Empire, local and UPU rates mainly from Singapore, to variety of international destinations. The subsequent two frames featured postal stationery cards, either mint items uprated by overprinting or used items uprated with overprinted stamps. A German cover from a ship in Singapore harbour to the German Consulate in Colombo interest in the Graf Bismark signature it carried, but it was generally agreed that it was from the frigate of that name, known to be plying Indian ocean during that period. The third frame included an uprated postal stationery card to Montenegro with reply paid card still attached and registered envelopes to Hamburg, Manila and New York.
Mac’s display concluded with some philatelic postcards including Windrath items showing a variety of combinations of overprinted frankings all noticeably exceeding the actual cost of postage, a 1907 Straits Settlements overprint on Labuan reply paid postcard.postcard and three 1918-20 2c/1c provisonal commercially used postal stationery cards.


Round three was opened by Andrew Norris with a single frame showing a variety of material featuring 4c/5c carmine frankings. These included a cover from Malacca to France franked with a pair; a 1901 Ribiero cover also with the same and a 5c; a 30 Nov 00 cover from the stamp shortages period with a 4c/5c carmine and 1c and 3c Perak reprints, plus two other pairs used in that period.

Peter Cockburn displayed a single sheet pulled from his perfin collection featuring many German companies including Behn Meyer and Reichenbach plus Boustead & Co and HSBC. Peter observed that many surcharges were only around for a short time. Typically, a company would buy its stamps in sheets to be perfinned. This, plus Mac’s earlier observation about postage stamps as potential investments, might explain the comparative commoness of perfinned overprints.

Michael Waugh closed the afternoon with four frames, the first of which featured 1867 East India Co. overprints including a range of company chops together with 1880 10/30c and 10c/30c overprints, with 7 varieties of the former. Michael pondered if the difficulty of local postal officers in getting indents for new issues coupled with long delivery times from GB made overprinting a tempting choice when postal rates changed at short notice and/or stocks became low or non-existent.

TWO CENT/8c and /32c overprints were also shown, including varieties. Their was a discussion about the later re-use of the TWO CENTS triplet. it was noted that the broken C flaw observed in the earlier 1882 issue did not seem to appear in the 1884 issue.

Frame two featured 3 CENTS and THREE CENTS overprints plus 30c/32c and 1c/2c, /6c and /8c. The third frame continued with 1c/4c and /12c and some Windrath covers, including one with forty one cents of franking composed of 1c overprints and Selangor tigers. Michael closed the afternoon with a final frame of surcharges on postal stationery, including a 1894 Straits 2c PC uprated with 1c/8c.


Report by Mike Padmore


Go to the Members Only Area for the full report, with pictures of each display, and MSG members can join there!


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