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.


Saturday November 11th 2018 "Islands" invited displays with the Pacific Islands Study Circle as guests

 

Report by Mike Padmore, Pictures by Nick Hackney and scans from PISC

SPINK 11 NOV 2017 “ISLANDS”

Present: Nick Hackney, Dominic Morris, Rob van Nieukerk, Siew Wai Ng, Mike Padmore, Gordon Peters, Martin Roper, Len Stanway, Carl Stott, David Tett.
Apologies: Peter Cockburn, Andrew Norris, Susan McEwen, Michael Waugh. Pacific Islands Study Circle Guests: Rufus Barnes, John M. Cooper.

Dominic Morris welcomed guests and first attendees, and acknowledged the help of our recently deceased member, Leo Vosse, in the early stages of setting up this particular event.

Rob van Nieukerk then opened the meeting. He introduced himself as this was his first MSG meeting. He had started by collecting Netherlands’ stamps, progressed to Dutch colonies. He had finally focussed on N.E.I. during the period of the Jap Occ. His Powerpoint presentation, “The Malayan Postal Service in the Dutch East Indies 1942-1945” supported by a small display of material, reflected this.

!

He started out by observing that the Japanese had already decided before the invasion, to split Sumatra from Java and other N.E.I. islands. The Sumatran postal service and post offices were therefore placed under Malayan control from April 1942. Existing Malayan postal rates were to be observed for the time being.

 

From 17 June 1942, stamps with the image of the Dutch Queen were prohibited, which created difficulties as all N.E.I. stamps at 10c and above bore the Queen’s head. The letter rate was 10c while postal orders ran up to 2 guilders, which resulted in much composite franking. A 2 guilder franking involving a total of twenty 10c Pahang Dai Nippon overprints illustrated the problem and the need for a longer term solution.
In the meanwhile, the Sumatran service used “imported” Malayan material, illustrated by a 10c Straits Settlements single line chop overprint on a Medan cover of 2 July 1942 and a
5c of the same issue on a Poeloe Tello money order from as late as 4 Sept 1944. A pair of
10cs with inverted chops, on a Loeboekpakam cover of 1 Sept 1942, prompted the story that the clerk doing the overprinting in Singapore, who could not read Japanese, was so fearful of the outcome of his mistake that he slipped the inverted sheets into the consignment for Sumatra and hoped for the best.


Malayan stamps used on Sumatra included the 8c and 15c Straits, 10c N. Sembilan,
40c Selangor and 50c Perak, all with the Dai Nippon overprint, and the 1c, 15c and 5-c Straits with single line chops. Some others became rare because there were no particular rates for them, e.g. the8c Straits and 50c Perak, although the 50c Straits was relatively common in pairs, used to meet the one guilder tariff. In late 1942/early 1943 all stamps were overprinted Dai Nippon on Sumatra, thus some Malayan stamps acquired a second overprint, sometimes accompanied by a large X. These were generally available at post offices.

 


In October 1942, rates were generally reduced in South Sumatra, with appropriate overprintings of N.E.I. low values, though many tariffs were subsequently revalued in early
1943. A 3 ½ c Palembang postcard, posted 23 April 1943, illustrated this with a 2c handstamp subsequently obliterated and corrected back to 3 ½ c.
On 29 April 1943 (the Emperor’s birthday) the standard occupation definitives were issued. This actually occurred issued after the announcement of the decoupling of Sumatra and Malaya, but the stamps were already printed. Malayan stamps became invalid in late
1944 (illustrated by a rejected 10c Perak on a Meulaboh cover of 9 Nov 1944 bearing two
10c postage dues). In actuality, they continued to be used even after the war, as illustrated by a late 1946 money order and a philatelic cover with a variety of Straits overprints and
standard occupation issues subsequently overprinted “Indonesia PTT” by the post war independence movement.

 


Rob then turned to the Riau Islands. He noted that these were also transferred to Singaporean administration on 30 April 1942, and remained part of Malaya until after the war. The Japanese rationale was that GB/Dutch administrative split was an arbitrary decision of colonial convenience, and that the Riau and Lingga archipelagos logically belonged with Singapore.
Consequently, Straits, Perak and Selangor overprinted issues plus the subsequent occupation definitives, became the norm for the islands, often in combination. Many of the six Riau and four Lingga POs continued to function throughout war, with censorship undertaken in Singapore.
Routing postal material via Singapore meant that mail to Sumatra, which would have taken days pre-war, now took over a month. This was illustrated by a registered letter from Dabosingkep, posted 1 Feb 1945, which did not arrive at Tandjongbalei, Sumatra, until 9
March, having been censored en route. Rob also noted that registered stationery was not previously issued in the N.E.I.


Finally, Rob looked at the Anambas, Natuna and Tambelan Islands. According to an
N. Borneo Military Administration report, the Natuna Islands became its responsibility on 28
April 1943. Several Natuna POs were reported reopened, though there is no documentary evidence to support this. Several pre-war cancels (e.g. from Serasan) survived after the war, which might support this.

The second round featured ten frames from Rufus Barnes, of PISC, illustrating Christmas Island postal history past and present. Rufus reminded members that Christmas Island had been administered by the United Kingdom Colonial Office at Singapore (later the Crown Colony of Singapore) until 31 Dec 1957, when it became a separate Crown Colony, a status it retained until 30 September at which point it became an Australian Dependent Territory. The use of Malay currency continued for longer period, largely because of Malayan phosphate
workers sending money home.


Rufus’s first two frames featured the era of Singaporean administration. As the Post Office only opened in 1900, obtaining material from the earliest period, for both incoming and outgoing mail, was very difficult. He began with correspondence from Scotland to Christmas Island from 1908, all addressed to the Darling family. He also displayed a photo album produced in 1926 showing pictures of HMS Delhi's tour of duty, which included illustrations of life on Christmas Island.
Material from the interwar period included a separate 1926 photo of HMS Delhi's visit to Christmas Island turned into a postcard; an example of a cover sent by a philatelic dealer in London franked with Australian stamps, which were not valid, but cancelled as if they were; an illustrated postcard of Flying Fish Cove bearing a 1941 censor mark “Suitable for transmission by post but not for publication” and an immediately post WW2 philatelic cover with a Christmas Island Postal Agency cancel, which provoked some discussion.
Frame 2, displaying material from the Singapore administration period but with more contemporary postmarks included an On His Majesty's Service cover, posted just after the death of George VI, carrying the added cachet “On Her Majesty’s Service” together with three examples of registered envelopes.


Rufus’s third frame focused on aerogrammes plus some commercial mail and official covers.
In 1968, during the switch from Malay currency to Australian currency, stamps of either were accepted for a short period, and Rufus showed a cover carrying both. He noted that only 1676 copies the second 25c aerogramme were sold. Some registration labels, which should have read “Christmas Island Indian Ocean" came out “Christmas Island Western Australia" and an example of these, with the incorrect text crossed out, was displayed.
Frame four continued with commercially used aerogrammes. Rufus explained that he had a personal arrangement with the local Post Office for them to send him the appropriate one on the last day of a particular rate, then follow up on following day with an example showing the new rate. The frame also included the first of the Christmas greetings postmarks. Frame five
included 1976 Christmas stamps showing a colour shift of bright mauve.
Frames six and seven featured the 12 days of Xmas 10 cents issues, including the minisheet with perforation and watermark differences. Rufus told the story behind the issue. A US dealer proposed to the Crown Agents that there could be 12 special postmarks, and the dealer should have sole rights to these. However, other UK dealers wanted in, and their persistence overcame the Christmas Island’s Post Office. Demand exceeded production, so a reprint was required. The Crown Agents suggested on it should be done on a differently watermarked paper (conveniently ignoring their previous commitment to the US dealer). It was only at this point that the Crown Agents themselves advised that it would have been entirely illegal to dedicate special postmarks of one dealer

 

The second round featured ten frames from Rufus Barnes, of PISC, illustrating Christmas Island postal history past and present. Rufus reminded members that Christmas Island had been administered by the United Kingdom Colonial Office at Singapore (later the Crown Colony of Singapore) until 31 Dec 1957, when it became a separate Crown Colony, a status it retained until 30 September at which point it became an Australian Dependent Territory. The use of Malay currency continued for longer period, largely because of Malayan phosphate workers sending money home.
Rufus’s first two frames featured the era of Singaporean administration. As the Post Office only opened in 1900, obtaining material from the earliest period, for both incoming and outgoing mail, was very difficult. He began with correspondence from Scotland to Christmas Island from 1908, all addressed to the Darling family. He also displayed a photo album produced in 1926 showing pictures of HMS Delhi's tour of duty, which included illustrations of life on Christmas Island.
Material from the interwar period included a separate 1926 photo of HMS Delhi's visit to Christmas Island turned into a postcard; an example of a cover sent by a philatelic dealer in London franked with Australian stamps, which were not valid, but cancelled as if they were; an illustrated postcard of Flying Fish Cove bearing a 1941 censor mark “Suitable for transmission by post but not for publication” and an immediately post WW2 philatelic cover with a Christmas Island Postal Agency cancel, which provoked some discussion.
Frame 2, displaying material from the Singapore administration period but with more contemporary postmarks included an On His Majesty's Service cover, posted just after the death of George VI, carrying the added cachet “On Her Majesty’s Service” together with three examples of registered envelopes.

 

Rufus’s third frame focused on aerogrammes plus some commercial mail and official covers. In 1968, during the switch from Malay currency to Australian currency, stamps of either were accepted for a short period, and Rufus showed a cover carrying both. He noted that only 1676 copies the second 25c aerogramme were sold. Some registration labels, which should have read “Christmas Island Indian Ocean" came out “Christmas Island Western Australia" and an example of these, with the incorrect text crossed out, was displayed.
Frame four continued with commercially used aerogrammes. Rufus explained that he had a personal arrangement with the local Post Office for them to send him the appropriate one on the last day of a particular rate, then follow up on following day with an example showing the new rate. The frame also included the first of the Christmas greetings postmarks.

 

 

 

Frame five included 1976 Christmas stamps showing a colour shift of bright mauve.

 

 

Frames six and seven featured the 12 days of Xmas 10 cents issues, including the minisheet

with perforation and watermark differences. Rufus told the story behind the issue.

A US dealer proposed to the Crown Agents that there could be 12 special postmarks, and the dealer should have sole rights to these. However, other UK dealers wanted in, and their persistence overcame the Christmas Island’s Post Office. Demand exceeded production, so a reprint was required. The Crown Agents suggested on it should be done on a differently watermarked paper (conveniently ignoring their previous commitment to the US dealer).

It was only at this point that the Crown Agents themselves advised that it would have been entirely illegal to dedicate special postmarks of one dealer!
rame eight featured the 1980 Christmas cover with a reversed design.

Rufus noted that a different cancel was used at Poon Saan PO, of rubber not steel. He also displayed a cover with a roller cancel normally used on parcels. Frame nine featured a MS with middle perfs missing while the display concluded at frame ten with the art work for various final designs.

 

 

David Tett completed the round with a single item; a Malayan card with a Japanese hand stamp “POW Camp No. 1”, of which there was no record. He wondered if it was located on Sumatra, which prompted some, inconclusive, discussion.

 

Round 3 featured an extensive display by John Cooper, of PISC. John emphasised that he was not a country collector but concentrated on George V Silver Jubilee and

1937 Coronation issues from around the Empire and Commonwealth. His display featured many Singapore office postmarks and included multiples on cover.
John pointed out that the Silver Jubilee issues made particular demands on the printers in terms of delivering a large output from a limited number of key plates to a tight schedule:
76 million stamps were produced and dispatched over a 3 months period as the Crown Agents responded to demand by assigning a mix of large and small volumes to each printer. The numbers meant that varieties inevitably arose as a result of plate damage. Colonies furthest away were printed first. Four rates were recommended - local, empire, foreign, and a 1/- (or local equivalent) rate - though some countries did not follow these recommendations.
Silver Jubilee examples shown included an E&O Hotel registered cover to Manchester at $1.25 (15c for registration and $1.10 double weight air); a Raffles Hotel cover by KLM to Holland (45c air fee plus 12c foreign rate plus a 10c NEI express fee); a registered airmail to Bahamas (15c registration plus 70c air fee); a wrapper to Macau; a registered cover from Tanglin to India, returned to sender bearing 4 DLO cachets from
Lucknow, Calcutta, Madras and Singapore. This part of John’s display also included a Raffles
Hotel booklet and a Raffles Institution cover.
Coronation issues included the late use of a Coronation 8c on a 1940 censored (Censor 33)cover to Newfoundland; a registered cover insured to $325/Rs500 bearing 8c for the Empire rate plus a 15c registration fee and a 50c insurance fee; a 25 Sept 1937 cover bearing 61c in George V issues plus a Coronation 12c; and a Warne Bros First Flight cover franked with a Coronation 12c plus three 4cs (12c for registration plus a 12c internal air fee).
The fourth round was begun with three frames from Gordon Peters of Christmas Island material up to the end of its Singapore administration. He began with a 1911 piece with a 30c plus a 4c bisect. The rest of his offering included a 1922 Straits postcard signed by all 6 of the Eclipse Expedition members; a 1937 cover to GB franked 5c not 8c, taxed at Singapore and bearing 1 ½ d postage dues, a 1951 Colombo to Christmas Island cover with MPU postage dues and a 1955 Ted Proud cover with Singapore stamps, plus some photos of HMS Dehli and HMS Iroquois.

Dominic Morris contributed a single frame of recently acquired barrel mail and tin can mail material from the MSG Autumn auction plus a cover with information on the reverse about the 1939 Qantas Catalina survey flight flight to the Cocos Islands, which was seeking an alternative route for GB airmail in case war broke out in Asia and interrupted the Empire route.

Len Stanway then delivered the last three frames. He explained that he had looked for but hadn’t found material some with very interesting rates. However, he did display material regarding the Royal visit to the Cocos Island in 1954.
The bulk of his material was of Labuan, which he explained was originally intended to be coaling port and is now a federal territory; the “KL of the East”. He showed some postcards including one of the mine railway; a Specimen of 1c +1c postal stationery; a reply card cut down to make single card; some printer’s waste double printings of postal stationery; a 1901 cover to UK (unfortunately with some stamps missing) and finally some Labuan Straits overprints and overprinted postal stationery, all of which concluded an extremely varied and interesting afternoon covering a great many aspects of the thematic title.

 

 


Mike Padmore

 

That's All Folks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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