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.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.

Reports of Meetings in 2008


Saturday 13 December 2008     Wine, Cheese 

& Members’ Displays on the theme: trains, planes and automobiles 

21 members & their wives enjoyed the cheese, pate, & wine so kindly catered by Dominic Morris & Andrew Norris. In fact they were so absorbed they had to be brought to order for the excellent displays. 

These included a memorable presentation of modern Malaysia showing a fascinating range of transport options from canoe to Malaysian made motorcars and spaceships to wheelchairs from Derek Burrows; Elephant inspired train crashes were part of the sheets on the development of the transport system in Pahang from Rob Holley.

Dominic Morris showed subtle items from the Raja of Perlis. David Tett showed  16 sheets of mail to Malaya from the Thailand Burma. The japanese permitted facilities to be provided for the romusha, the civilian labourers at seven locations
on the railway and one on the Kra Isthmus at Chumpon Railway.

 Andrew Norris showed maritime silk flags (like Kensitas flags but considerably larger and very striking)followed by the late John Morgan's Railway display. Charles Keel showed postcards from 1890s Singapore and Johore, illustrating the modes of transport then in vogue, and some excellent maps and pictures. 

First flight covers in profusion together with postwar airmails, both internal and international formed a complete round from Len Stanway.  Brian Reeder displayed exhibited the Singapore 1997 transportation series, the
album leaves from Doug Binder's collection, as a tribute to Doug. Susan McEwen showed MPO postal history items of Singapore, the Pahang River, Kelantan, Penang and Selangor. 

Peter Cockburn showed a pot-pourri of material, including 'ephemera', focussing especially on the North Borneo Railway from Jesselton to Tenom.  Malcolm Clarke showed Singapore registered mail, predominantly airmail,from the 1960s to 1980s that included,  the "boat and plane" definitives which, in combination with the meticulously researched registration labels made for some very tasty postal history items. Postage dues of the FMS from Joe Robertson wound up the displays. 

Photographs courtesy of Peter Cockburn:



Brian Reeder                                          Len Stanway [back] talking to Mrs.Coles

David Tett talking to Susan McEwen, Mrs Tett in foreground

Roger Barry, Rob Holley, Joe Robertson, Nick Hackney, Charles Keel, Bill Pain

David & Mrs.Tett

Derek Burrows display

David Tett's display


Len Stanway's display & part of the audience

Len Stanway's display


Saturday 22 November 2008 MSG Bourse & Display, London 

Many thanks to the members who brought items to the Bourse, and to the members who carried away the many purchases.

Plate Flaws, a Display by Richard Hale 

Richard Hale gave a truly superb display of Plate Flaws, Retouches, and what he described as a few fly specks. He described the principles he follows to determine that a Plate Flaw was 'constant'. He gave clues on how to find them, aided by chance, serendipity and lots of material.  He gave a magnificent two round display showing the flaws in many issues, some within one state, and one stamp, some covering multiple stamps.  His presentation pages comprised excellent detailed enlarged scans of the Flaw, so anyone could  see them, positioned above the stamps with the actual flaws. I have rarely seen a display which excited so much attention and interest by the members. The detailed viewing saw nearly everyone studying the sheets intently and taking immensely detailed notes. As the subject runs across so many states and issues there was something in it for most members. It was a really enjoyable afternoon, and I suspect most of us will be checking out our collections just in case we have ..........

Richard and part of the audience

Richard pointing out a page

reflections & pictures by Nick Hackney




    Great news from Australia, courtesy of Jeff Newman   

At Sunstamp 2008, a national exhibition in Brisbane on 22-24 August 2008

 the following exhibits relating to our area were shown.  Warmest congratulations to these collectors of our area.
Queen's Head Issues of Labuan-- Ray Price, South Australia, MSG member -- Silver
Sarawak from 1869 to 1950 -- Phil Platt, NZ -- Large Silver
North Borneo 1939-1961 -- Paul Yap, NZ, MSG member -- Vermeil
Federated Malay States & Forerunners -- Jeff Newman, New South Wales, MSG member -- Large Silver
Sarawak Postal stationery -- Paul Barsdell, Australian Capital Territory, MSG member -- Vermeil
Singapore Postal Stationery from 1948 -- Glen Stafford, Western Australia, MSG member -- Bronze



September 2008 Stampex - Reflections by Nick Hackney

Stampex is a great place to go if you want to see Dealers material - but a Stamp Exhibition it is not. Because there really aren't  exhibits. The War messages display from Bletchley Park and the Enigma machine were fascinating. The Armed Forces mail service and the opportunity to send messages to all the services in Afghanistan were great.

But the only exhibits were the thematic displays from excellent young philatelists tucked away at the top back to the hall - they deserve to be down at the front! We need to encourage them to develop the future growth of the hobby.

Other countries manage to have regular exhibitions - perhaps what we need is a root and branch look at the way the hobby is set up. I notice that for London 2010 it is planned to have half the exhibits on at one time, and the other half later. Is this a cunning plan to get people to go twice - or does it just have the turnip qualities of most cunning plans.

What do YOU think about Exhibitions, and the future of the hobby, and of your collection ? Post your views to the Forum, in the Philately Futures Section!

Link to the Malaya Study Group Forum & Bulletin Board


The Worthing Meeting, Saturday September 13th 2008

A note and pictures kindly contributed by Susan McEwen

MSG members gathered for our traditional Worthing meeting at Field Place on Sat 13th September,  as ever it was a friendly and highly enjoyable day. 16 attended, quite a good turn out given that 2 of the regulars were abroad. We had a wide range of Malayan material on display during the day - most people brought something to show -  and with all the discussion the displays went on to 6:00 pm.  10 of us adjourned to the Imperial China restaurant for  dinner and more chat.  Worthing maintained its status as Sunny Worthing to add warmth and sunshine to a totally enjoyable day.  A full account by Dominic Morris is given below, and will appear in the Newsletter.


Distinguished members in Worthing

The Frames were double sided, not just a misguided attempt to see the backs of the covers.

Field Place


Congratulations to Dominic Morris for organising the event.




From our own Corrrespondent Dominic Morris, Hon. Sec. MSG


After one of the worst summers in a generation, Worthing – once again – did not disappoint; warm and sunny and fun.  Despite the absence of three or four of the ‘Worthing regulars’ this year, several old friends turned up so the numbers were up to par and there was a very full day of displays.  

After the bourse, we opened with an informative Standing Display from Andrew Norris of unstamped aerograms.  Len Stanway had written a series of articles on the Air Letter sheets in the Singapore Stamp Club newsletter and the display had been prepared to support the author in his researches.  Andrew showed rates, the rare Buff aerogram, cream aerogram with BMA stamps, the Type A1 and A2 blue aerograms; others from ex-Harris publications correspondence including one from Ted Proud; various of the Type B, including one without stamps and two private aerograms which, while not formally authorised, were issued just after the War before the formal aerogram licences were brought in. Andrew finished with a Specimen 1951 Singapore Air Letter sheet, which was about 3 years too late for distributions to the UPU being given a protective specimen. It was suggested that this might be a printer’s sample, but no one knew for certain.  

Next up was a delightful round on Selangor from Keith Elliot.  It opened with the first shortage periods and provisionals accompanied by postcards of the FMS Residency and of the then (1898) Sultan.  Then Tigers and Elephants including Perak Tiger Heads and Straits used in Selangor, including a pair on a 1903 Cover and a printed postcard from a Mrs Wray to her husband who was later the Resident in Pahang.  

Keith moved on to a personal favourite of mine: the 1935-41 Mosque series, opened by postcards of Sultan Suleyman and of the Government offices where the 1934 Survey Department Essays were printed; followed by two sheets of the essays, a coil join and 1936 booklet (with two 5c stamps and airmail labels still inside), specimens mint and used  on ordinary and striated paper; the unissued 8c scarlet and 1941 unoverprinted $5 the Wartime shortage borrowings from Straits Settlements (including the uncommon 30c) and a Perak 50c FPO cover used in Selangor.  Lovely.  

Roger Barry, Joe Robinson and Peter King showed the next round.  Roger with a display of the Trengganu 1921-41 set and plate blocks of the 1949 small heads.  Joe showed FMS including a nice Power of Attorney document.  Peter showed 40 sheets of airmails including a 1928 Muar-London with airmail cachet but which was taken surface mail to Marseilles and only from there by air to London; followed by various Wearnes’ including a Dead Letter Office cachet, Penang to Sitiawan and to Alor Star, a US goodwill flight to Japan via Singapore, cut short in protest at Japan’s invasion of Manchuria, then crash mail including the Scipio, Lockheed Constellation and a double crash – an Australian Southern Seas flight that had bogged down on take-off from Alor Star, transferred its mail to a KLM flight which itself then crashed on route; finishing with Clipper covers etc including a rare (and much admired) $2 Johore FPO 50 a clipper via the USA.

Mac McLaren displayed Pahang.  The display commenced with a coloured map of Malaya dated 1900 clearly showing the new ‘Federated Malay States’.  The stamps commenced with a ‘Windrath’ cover with a set of the 1891-95 Tiger stamps on it dated 1896.  Various specimens and stamps of the pre-war Sultan set were displayed.  Postal history was shown up to and including Second World War censorship, the highlight being a $1.40 Clipper cover from Temerloh to Canada and the 8 c scarlet used on cover to India.  Post war was represented by mint sets of all of the definitive issues up to 2002 including a plate block of the 30 c missing grey.  Butterfly, Orchid and Flower issues were all introduced with various proofs, first day covers and plate blocks.  Mac commented on the paucity of plate blocks for the Agricultural Definitives, stating that this was probably his worst State for quantity and variety.  The room generally agreed that this was due to the small number of post offices operating in Pahang compared to the other States.  

Susan McEwen displayed oddments of Johore including the 2c on 24 c with the cut through Two – in an early and incomplete stage; the 1935 Sultan and Sultana stamp on a sheet of her notepaper signed by both of them; some 1907 semi official postcards; a postcard of the Malaysian Grand Prix c1960 the race was in Singapore but the card was posted in Johore; some nice plate blocks of the 1940 Portrait; and 2 British Postal stationery cards posted in Constantinople and Smyma respectively but both to Mr W Brown of Salisbury who wrote the book on Straits stamps overprinted for use in the States, a tenuous link.  

Joe Robertson showed Postage Dues (what a surprise) from Kedah 1906-36 including some from 1923-34 with PD tax marks where the offices filled in the amount due, Kedah not having any PD stamps until after the War.  Joe majored on a recent acquisition (which has a one page write up which we expect to see in TMP shortly) of a 1906 cover from India to Kedah involving four currencies (bonus marks to any reader who can guess which four and why ahead of Joe’s TMP article appearing).  

Mike Kingsland showed a small selection of modern Malaysian varieties, sheets etc which are not listed in the Gibbons 2005 Brunei, Malaysia and Singapore catalogue.  

Len Stanway showed airmails from westbound Imperial Airways and BOAC flights, from the Penang trial and first official Singapore acceptances in 1929 to the Horseshoe Route of 1941, together with information on the aircraft used.  Highlights included a cover that was en-route when Imperial became BOAC and a cover posted at Singapore too late for the last direct flight and which had to wait for the first Horseshoe service.  

Brian Geden showed a round of covers of the Post War sub-offices of Singapore from A to Z (well, A to Y actually).

Gaden Robinson had brought his Trengganu album which he used to finish the day’s displays.  A nice old fashioned way of displaying with something for everyone from Zeinul Abdin to (Gaden’s words) modern rubbish; including as good a collection of the 1921-41 5 c shades as anyone else in the room had, a good range of agency postmarks, to the 1937 postage dues used – no certificate but Philip Kinns annotated Gibbons invoice as robust if not more so than many of the authentication certificates you have to pay for (nice one Gaden!)  

Anne Stanway who, despite breaking her ankle the week before, had gamely made it down to Worthing concluded that the full day would  be  a bit much.  She and Len set off for home near the end.  Other members and spouses adjourned to the Chinese restaurant for the traditional and very agreeable food, drink and conversation.  Hon Sec headed home as last year to the strains of the Last Night of the Proms on the car radio – it does make the journey easier.  Another super Worthing.



The Auction - a hot topic!

Rob Holley's review of the Auction on July 5th has aroused considerable interest.

Andrew Norris has written a most thoughtful response, which is included in a PDF file on this website.  

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Andrew Norris's response to Rob's review(pdf format)

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Rob Holley's full review(pdf format)


What do YOU think about the Auctions, or even about SNIPING ? Post your views to the Forum, in the Auction Section!

Link to the Malaya Study Group Forum & Bulletin Board




Auction July 5th 2008

This additional auction, organised by Carl Stott, had excellent material from the late Bill Reeves FMS collection, and from numerous other states, with items ranging from Azad Hind, to Judicials, Postcards, and War Charity covers from 1916. Prices for scarce material in good condition were high, with it seemed relatively little sign of the credit crunch. This was also the first Auction whose catalogue was published on this website!

Some photographs show the absorbed room participants, and the auctioners hard at it!


A very thought provoking review by Rob Holley will appear in the Newsletter. In the meanwhile an extract is included below, and a PDF of the full review. 


MSG AUCTION HELD AT SPINK’S SALE ROOM, 5 JULY 2008 Extract from a review by Rob Holley, to be published in the Newsletter. [The full review is included as a PDF below].


Sitting in Spink’s auction room on the 5th was a curious sensation – here we were having a sale in their room while they were holding an auction at the same time in Singapore.  Actually theirs was well and truly over before we assembled for what was originally intended to be the sale of the remnants of Bill Reeves’ collection after Spink had disposed of the major part of it last January.   In fact, what was left of the Reeves material turned out to form only about 120 lots of the sale leaving us with the opportunity of making inroads into the backlog of material waiting to be sold by the Group.  It was disappointing, therefore, to be left with 67 unsold lots at the end of the afternoon, and I think we need to ask the question why. 


To some extent we are the victims of our own success.  We break material down into small lots, give full descriptions and charge a humble 10% with no add-ons, so we are a popular auction house, but I cannot help wondering how long this can go on. 


May I emphasise this is an individual opinion and members might like to voice their disagreement – perhaps on our website.  I gather the webmaster would welcome a spot of controversy and a spirited debate on the Forum.  As those who have visited our new website will testify, it is both attractive and bang up to date.


Now to the auction.  As it happens, it contained a number of chunkier lots priced at well over the minimum reserve and these generated considerable interest.  Bill, to everyone’s apparent surprise, had invested more heavily in covers than he had ever let on and these were generously lotted and priced to sell as it would have been in no-one’s interest to have had too much of Bill’s collection left on our hands.  Spectacular excesses of reserves were expected especially amongst the covers and postal history and we were not disappointed.  No doubt the auctioneer will give us the figures eventually but my impression was that overseas bidders did particularly well. 


The Reeves collection has now been well and truly dispersed.  Commiserations with those who didn’t see it in its entirety.  I doubt we shall see its like again.   

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Rob Holley's full review(pdf format)


BMA Display Peter Cockburn  7th June 2008 



The BMA display by Peter Cockburn on June 7th 2008 may well have been what more than one member described as "the definitive display of BMA". Peter gave a comprehensive portrayal and explanation of the background, the printings and the detailed research which enabled him to prove pretty conclusively what happened and where! He has traced the print records, the shipping records, and statements from many of the principal players in the BMA story. The profusion of covers, complete sheets, and detailed write ups staggered the audience. he backed it up with historical documents, newspapers, and concluded with a splendid display of revenues. If you weren't there, you sure have missed a great moment!

Edinburgh meeting, 24th May 2008

MSG  members gather on the steps for a photo call at tea time during the Edinburgh meeting, 24th May 2008.  Scotland, England and Singapore are represented, MSG members may recognise some of the faces.  A full write up of the displays will be in the newsletter.  Photo courtesy of Susan McEwen.

  Malcolm Wade's Perak Postal History

Saturday 29th April 2008 Perak Postal History

Malcolm Wade's masterly display of Perak Postal History was truly exciting. His commanding focus on Postmarks, with singles, covers, and unparalleled knowledge of his field, were warmly received. The Newsletter will carry a full review. As Rob Holley emphasised in his vote of thanks, this was one of the of the great specialised collections which may well be split up in the future. These are rare opportunities to see and learn so much about Malayan philately.    A photograph of Malcolm giving his display has been contributed by Peter Cockburn 

        Malcom Wade giving his display
  The meeting was at Spinks Auction Rooms, 69 Southampton Row, Bloomsbury, London [near Holborn & Russell Square Stations] .



                    The Malaya Study Group website was originally created by the late John Morgan, to whom we are indebted for his pioneering dedication to the Group.

WebMaster: KewSoft Web Director Nick Hackney (malayastudygroup@hotmail.co.uk) Telephone & Fax: (44)-(0)208 876 7567