Monday, December 31, 2007

Saudi Arabia 500 Riyal 2007

My sister-in-law who just arrived yesterday afternoon from the haj saved for me a Saudi Arabia 500 Riyal issued this year. This 500 Riyal shows the Masjidil Haram and the Kaabah.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Malaysia $50 2008

I finally got my hands on the first issuance of the new Malaysian $50 note thanks to my uncle in Kuala Lumpur. He bought it on the 26th, pos laju it to me and on the 29th, I got it! According to my Australian friend, this issue sold out within 4 hours. And Pa Uchu Mud, thanks so much for taking the time to buy this for me all the way from KL.

I am still studying the note but I thought I will share the image of my new note to everyone out there in the world. I am not sure what the difference is with this new special issuance other than it comes in a nice pack with the circulation note which will come out in mid January 2008. In the meantime enjoy!
The details of the note as described in the package:

SIGNIFICANCE OF ISSUE This new design RM50 banknote is issued to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of Malaysia's Independence Day which took place on 31 August 1957. This banknote captures the birth of Malaysia as a constitutional monarchy, its rich cultural heritage and the success of its economic development.


SIZE 145 x 69 mm

FRONT The design motifs on the front side feature the portrait of the first Seri Paduka Baginda Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Tuanku Abdul Rahman, on the rigan and the national flower hibiscus on the centre. Design patterns from songket weaving, which are in the background and edges of the banknote, reflect tradtional Malaysian textile handicraft and embroidery. Incorporating the latest security features, the multicolour latent image of the denomination 50 can be seen when the banknote is tilted slightly and the colour changes when it is rotated. The holographic stripe features the denomination 50 and the hibiscus flower, with a multicoloured pumping and matt-structure effect.

BACK The design depicts Malaysia's economic transformation from agricultural to that of higher value-added manufacturing and services-based economy. Malaysia's first prime Minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj, is capture in the historic declaration of Malaysia' independence. The logo of the 50th Anniversary of Independence is inspired by the national flag 'Jalur Gemilang'. The logo represents the nation's achivement since independence and symbolises the unity of the diverse ethnic groups living together. To mark this anniversary, Bank Negara Malaysia has commissioned the issuance of this new design RM50 banknote.


* Watermark portratin with electrotype highlight
* Security thread
* Intaglio micro-letterings
* See-through registration
* Anti-scanner/copier patterns
* Hidden image with more effect
* Multicolour latent image
* Holographic stripe

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Saudi Arabia 50 Riyal 2007

Just to complete the Saudi Arabia 2007 currency series, here is the second of the 5 set series. This one is interesting as it shows the Dome of the Rock on the obverse and the Masjidil Aqsa Mosque in the reverse.

Many people actually assumed the Dome of the Rock is the Masjidil Aqsa which is actually very wrong. The Masjidil Aqsa is besides the Dome of the Rock. I guess the Saudi Authorities chose this because they wanted to complete the three Islamic holy mosques.

By the way, I was right. The 500 Riyal does have the photograph of the Masjidil Haram and the Kaabah. Soon I will get it as my brother in law who will be returning from haj has promised me that note.

Friday, December 28, 2007

USA Star Wars Yoda Stamps 2007

I read somewhere that the United States Postal Services took a vote from its special Star Wars stamps collection of which character deserves to be focused on. Yoda won hands down. So the USPS complied and issued this special Yoda collection. It was issued towards the end of the third quarter this year.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Saudi Arabia 100 Riyal 2007

My sister just came back from her haj and I asked her to keep for me all the Saudi Riyals which are new this year. This is the 100 Riyal of the 2007 series. I was expecting a photo of the Kaabah in Mekah but this is Prophet's mosque in Medina. I am assuming that there is a 500 Riyal which will have the photo of the Kaabah.

Incidentally, the 50 Riyal note has the Masjidil Aqsa Mosque of Jerusalem which is not a Saudi but obviously very Islamic - one of the three holy mosques of the Muslim World. The 5 Riyal note is very economic - oil fields but I was not sure what the 10 Riyal note is supposed to exemplify. The reverse of the 100 Riyal note is as follows:-

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Antartica $3 2007

This is the $3 of the Antartica Notes. I wrote earlier about the $1 note. I still find this note even if it is technically not legal tender in the usual sense but people do do used it.

The reverse is interesting. Just like some of the European currency, it is vertical.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Brunei Stamps 1916

It's amazing what insomniacs can do. I used my 'unable to sleep' time to check and recheck my stamps collection. Armed with a magnifying glass and a $60 watermark reader, I checked almost all my Brunei collection. The early Brunei collections are crazy as there are so many colour changes and the only way to tell them apart is to check the watermark. Some watermarks are visible but some are next to useless. But if it was not for the watermarks, then it is very hard to tell when one stamp was produced when compared to another.

What I managed to discover what that hidden among the spares are two stamps specifically issued in 1916 which was to complement the 1908 series. The 1916 had 2 colour changes, the first was the change of the 5cents from black and orange to full orange and the second was the change of the 5cents from blue or inidgo blue to ultramarine. However they kept the watermark the same which is Multiple Crown CA. Subsequent 5cents in 1924 and 1947 kept the same colour but the paper watermark is Multiple Script CA. Similarly for the 8cents stamp.

How much are these worth then? The 5cents mint is about $70 and the 8cents is half that. Next I have to look at the 5cents label on the 5cents stamp. If I can prove that the 5cents was a retouch (someone in England when printing made a mistake with the 5cents label and printed the 5cents separately), then that piece would be worth $2,000.00.

Most catalogs would place these two stamps as part of the 1908 collection, so the 1908 with all the various colour options would be around 16 stamps in total.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Brunei Stamps 1908 Collection

I was at my uncle's a couple of nights ago looking through his collection. He had some of his own but when he was in the States, he managed to get the entire pre 1998 Brunei stamps collection. My uncle lent me that album during Hari Raya but I could only glance through it. A couple of nights ago, I took the opportunity to have a thorough outlook. What I realised was that I had some of the stamps which I thought was missing.

So I spent a half hour searching through my spare stamps. And guess what? I really did have some of the missing stamps to complete my collection. And guess what for the second time? I have the entire 1908 stamp collection plus the colour changes from 1908 to 1916! Though this set is more common and the highest price I could get was only RM900 for the entire set.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Brunei Stamps Collection 1906

YES!!!!! It took me a few months but I finally managed to get the entire 1906 set. For this who do not know, the 1906 set is the very first official stamps issued by the Brunei postal authorities. There was an early 1895 set which was done by a private entrepreneur who got the right to sell the stamps outside Brunei in exchange for running a postal service (it went defunct in about 1902/03). However not all philatelist accepted that as an official set as it was not done by the postal authorities.

This particular collection is worth some RM$2,400 for mint and about a thousand more for used stamps. Up to yesterday, I had 10 of the 12 stamps. I could not find the 5c and $1 stamps. So when an entire set came up I had to purchase the entire set just to get the two missing stamps. I ended up paying about US$350 for the entire set. The difficulty is that this set was seen as a temporary replacement stamps for the ones which was issued in 1907. So only limited stamps were available. For instance the $1 stamp - only about 2,000 were printed. So trying to assemble the entire collection was very very hard.

Sultan Hashim handed over the general administration of the State to a British Resident on 2nd January 1906. Plans were made for a complete postal service, with the official inauguration of this service on the 11th October 1906. New stamps were ordered from the Crown Agents and, pending their arrival, surplus stocks of the Labuan Crown issue were overprinted and surcharged by the Government Printers in Singapore.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

NumisMaster Adds Paper Money Pricing

NumisMaster Adds Paper Money Pricing

Iola, WI (November 30, 2007) -- United States paper money listings have been added to the NumisMaster online pricing and information service powered by Krause Publications.

“All of the photographs and listings found in the Standard Catalog of United States Paper Money are now available online, with quick searches that take you right to what you’re looking for,” said George Cuhaj, paper money market specialist at Krause Publications. “The escalation of the currency market creates a need for current pricing and the most accurate information available.”

The up-to-date prices listed in the United States Paper Money Guide, available at, include: all non-coin monetary issues of the United States, including large-size, small-size, Fractional Currency, National Bank Notes, error notes, pre-Civil War Treasury notes, Silver and Gold Certificates, Military Payment Certificates, encased postage and postage stamp envelopes.

Current market values are listed in up to four grades of preservation.

“The addition of paper money to NumisMaster is welcome,” said Numismatic News editor Dave Harper. “It is my experience that collectors are active in many fields simultaneously and having them all in one place makes NumisMaster the handiest reference source on the Web.”

In addition to the U.S. paper money price listings, NumisMaster offers more than 1 million price listings for U.S. and world coins. Other features include a show calendar, blogs, news, articles about collecting and expert advice.

For more information visit

About Krause Publications
Krause Publications, based in Iola, Wis., is the world’s largest publisher of leisure-time periodicals and books on collectibles, sewing and quilting, hunting, and fishing. Chet Krause, a long-time collector of coins, published the first issue of Numismatic News on Oct. 13, 1952, with nearly 1,000 readers. Today, Krause Publications, owned by F+W Publications, offers over 40 periodicals, 10 hobby shows, 750 reference and how-to books, and web properties such as, the online coin price database. F+W Publications, and ARBY Partners, LLC Company, also operates book clubs, conferences, trade shows, interactive media and education programs.

Lisa Bellavin
Associate Editor, NumisMaster
715-445-4612 ext. 279

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Brunei Joint ASEAN 2007

Finally! The Brunei issue of the Joint ASEAN 2007 was finally launched in Brunei Darussalam, a few months late. Brunei is the last country to issue the Joint ASEAN 2007 stamps. The other 8 did it, I think, last August. Myanmar was the 9th and Brunei is the last.

Nothing much to talk about. The stamps are the same as the other stamps issued by the other ASEAN countries which I have talked about in the past. The Brunei's stamps are printed by Security Printers of Malaysia using unwatermarked paper of 102gsm. The perforation is 14 per 2 cm. The stamps are all 20 cents denomination, so it will be used quite widely.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Antartica $1 2007

I stumbled upon this Antartica $1 note of 2007. When it arrived I thought it was one of the most beautiful paper money I have ever seen. I wanted to get more of the series and also to learn more about who is using money in Antartica. All I could get from the note was that it was exchangeable at par with the US dollar. I was under the impression that it was a US government agency's note. But I was wrong. The money was issued by the Antartica Exchange Office which is a private organisation who claimed to use the proceeds from the sale of the money to fund projects in Antartica. I sure hope so. But the money is indeed nice. I reproduced the Antartica Exchange Office introduction:-

We produce high quality collector's items in the appearance of a national money for Antarctica. Our bills are not legal tender money of Antarctica or anywhere else, but we do honor them for their face value throughout their validity period.

We designate a substantial portion of our revenues to be awarded to groups seeking funding for projects in Antarctica. We have donated money to the Students on Ice Program to send high school students to Antarctica via Argentina and will probably continue to make grants to this program. We makes grants as far as tax deductions allow us and are working on expanding our revenue base with other similar items to increase revenues further and attain our goals faster.

We are always interested in applying the newest technologies to produce colorful, well made and technologically advanced collector's items that will grace the finest collections. We hope you will consider a purchase of our products.

Our collector bills have been sent to Antarctica several times for orders and they are known of there. We have shipped to many countries and US states. We have received many mentions in national and international collector publications.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Sarawak 10 cents 1940

This is one of the last two notes which I bought recently. This one is a Sarawak 10 cents note which was issued in 1940. The condition is not so good and I got a good bargain for it - I guess nobody else wanted it - not in that condition anyway. This particular note is an emergency issuance during the Second World War. Remember, practically most British related currencies were printed in England. During the War, metal was scarce and paper notes were issued instead of metal coins.

This is the only Sarawak paper coin that was issued during the War. There were other paper coins but most were issued very much earlier on.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Straits Settlement $50 1925

This 1925 $50 Straits Settlement paper note is currently available on ebay for US$21,350! Sigh......

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Straits Settlement Coins in Calgary, Canada

I came across this article on a University of Calgary website about the use of Straits Settlement coins in Calgary Canada about 100 years ago. The original link is here. The article is written by Don Sucha.

Canadian Numismatic history is full of examples of the use of foreign currency in daily commerce. French, Spanish and American coins were widely circulated in Canada in the years before, and immediately after, Confederation. To this day, it is not unusual to find the odd American coin in one's pocket change. This presence of foreign currency often led to some very complex, and creative, methods of determining both exchange rates and preference of payment. The common practice of Maritime merchants listing their goods and services as "payable in Spanish Dollars" and the exchange rate known as the "Halifax Currency" (1) are two examples.

Although most of the above-noted events took place in the Eastern provinces before Confederation, Western Canada has not been immune to similar situations. Early in 1906, the merchants of Calgary were embroiled in a controversy which threatened to severely cut into their profits: Calgary businesses were accepting coins from the Straits Settlements (part of modern day Malaysia) at face value - but the banks were not.

At some point in early 1906, Calgary merchants had begun accepting some foreign silver at face value. Some very enterprising Calgarians, noticing that Straits Settlements coins were amongst those being accepted, started buying up the foreign coins in Vancouver (where they were readily available) at half their face value and circulating them in Calgary, thus incurring a 100% profit on their venture (2). This had the effect of flooding the Calgary market with Straits Settlements coins. By February, the Calgary banks estimated that there was anywhere between $10,000 and $20,000 in Straits Settlements coins circulating in Calgary, mostly in 10, 25, and 50 cent denominations (3). To put this amount into perspective, in the same month, Calgary City Council was trying to pass a bylaw allowing it to borrow $30,000 to upgrade its electric system (4). The amount of Straits Settlements coinage in Calgary represented a significant portion of the economy.

The Straits Settlements coins of the time were not unlike those of their Canadian counterparts. Straits Settlements coins were issued in the same denomination as Canadian coins, they were about the same size, and their obverse even bore the same portraits as Canadian coins. They were, in fact, struck at the same mint as many Canadian coins, the Heaton Mint in Birmingham (5). It is interesting to note that the two Straits coins which were dissimilar from their Canadian counterparts - the 20 cent and 5 cent coins - were,apparently, not imported to Calgary for circulation.

However, there was one big difference between Straits Settlements and Canadian coins: their respective Silver content. Canadian silvers coins of the day were .925 silver whereas the Straits Settlements' silver content was only .80 (6). It may have been this discrepancy, along with the cost of handling the large amount of foreign coins, that led the Calgary banks to devalue the exchange on the Straits Settlements coins to 50% of face value.

The Calgary merchants soon followed suit. On February 28th, the retail section of the Calgary Board of Trade passed a resolution that Calgary merchants would only accept Straits Settlements coins at 50% of their face value (7). Merchants and individuals still holding Straits Settlements silver were now faced with a 50% loss in their holdings. It was hard to keep a secret in Calgary in 1906: the week before the Board of Trade meeting saw a huge increase in the amount of Straits coins being passed. There was even an increase in the amount of Straits coins landing in the collection plates of Calgary churches the Sunday following the resolution. Reverend George Kirby, the charismatic preacher at Central Methodist Church, admonished his congregation for placing the Straits coins in the collection plate. Regardless, his church had to deal with over $17.00 worth of the devalued currency that one Sunday (8).

But why were Straits Settlements coins accepted at face value in Calgary in the first place? Usually, the answer would be a coin shortage.When a country, or region, is faced with a shortage of circulating coins, the normal response is to either strike local tokens or use foreign coins. It was coin shortages in pre-confederation Canada which resulted in both the production of tokens and the use of foreign coins. Although there is no real mention of a coin shortage in Calgary at that time, there are a number of social and economic factors present which would seem to point to that conclusion.

The growth of Calgary has always been characterised by cycles of "boom and bust" and, in 1906, Calgary was in the midst of the greatest population boom of its history. The population had grown from 4091 in 1901 to a whopping 11,967 in 1906 (9). It is possible that the population may have been even higher. On March 30, the Calgary Herald announced the population of greater Calgary as 20,000. The population of Calgary was growing at a rate of as much as 15% per month. This was due, in large part, to an influx of American immigrants; the so-called "U.S. Invasion". This rate of growth put a great strain on all aspects of the Calgary social structure and infrastucture. It is logical to assume that there would have been an even greater demand on the supply of circulating coins as well.

We also know from newspaper reports that, at the same time as the Straits Settlements fiasco, the Calgary banks were calling in all circulating American silver and sending it back to Ottawa (10). It would appear that, in Calgary in 1906, there was a situation similar to the "American Silver Nuisance" of 1870 which resulted in the government both the buying up of American silver and the introduction of 25 cent fractional notes (11).

It is also interesting to note that the Calgary Straits Silver situation coincided with the construction of the Royal Canadian Mint, a project which had its own share of controversies.

A number of Calgary coin dealers and collectors have told me that, when they first became involved in Numismatics, there was a great deal of early 20th century Straits Settlements coins still available to collectors in the city. However, in Calgary today, Straits Settlements coins from that period are relatively hard to find. Regardless, these seemingly insignificant coins, from a small area in the Pacific, played a dramatic, if brief, role in the history of Calgary.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Straits Settlement $5 1935

About a few weeks ago, I had this entry about the $10 note of the Straits Settlement currency. That $10 was a good note and I was lucky to get a good price for it. My latest acquisition is the $5 note which for US$70 is not in a good condition as the $10 note.

This $5 note was issued in 1935 and printed by the same printer. The series of $1, $5 to $10 are the most affordable. Anything beyond this, is also beyond my price range.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Straits Settlement Coin 1/4 cent 1901

When I saw this coin, I thought to myself why would anyone want to have a quarter cent? But then of course, we have to remember that a 100 years ago (this is a 1901 coin), one cent was a lot of money. Most coins were one cent, of course, there were $1 coin too (the British Trade Dollar was very popular) but at the very lowest level, 1/4 cents and 1/2 cents were also in use.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Disney Dollars

Lately I have been paying attention to notes issued by Disney. These notes are not currency notes in the normal sense issued by a country's central bank. But nevertheless the money can be used in Disney areas and are therefore mediums of exhanges. So, technically they are still money and will be even more as people are willing to use them. Money will be used as long as people find them valuable.

This particular note was issued in 1993 to celebrate Mickey's 65th birthday. It has its own serial number and can be 'spent or collected or redeemed' at Disney. I have several other notes from Disney and they make interesting collections.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Labuan 1902 Stamps

I have been tried to complete the Brunei 1906 first official issues but I am still 2 stamps short. The last two are the most elusive and if I do find them, each will be in the three figure category. So, that will really hurt financialy.

I got the next best thing the other day. Since that 1906 stamps are overprints of Labuan's stamps - why not get the Labuan sets? So I did. Here are the entire Labuan 1902 set of which only a handful are actually used by Brunei in 1906. The funny thing was that the Labuan set had the entire range of prices and yet on the Brunei stamps, you would find the 16 cents Labuan being overprinted for uses as 10c, 25c, 30c and 50c stamps. It must have been that it was only the leftover Labuan stamps that are used and the 16c stamps must have been overstocked.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Hari Raya Card - HRH Pengiran Isteri Azrinaz

During Hari Raya, many Bruneians send cards to each other - rather similar to the sending of Christmas Cards or Seasons Greetings Card. Bruneians do it for Hari Raya for the Muslims to celebrate the end of the fasting month and do it for Chinese New Year for their Chinese friends and Christmas cards for their Christian friends. So, we do have many cards to send out. Technically cards should not form part of their blogsite but I thought cards are philatelic and they are nice, so I thought I will share a few nice ones that I received.

Her Royal Highness Pengiran Isteri Azrinaz was kind enough to send me one and I thought I will share that card with the readers out there. Selamat Hari Raya.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

FDC - Malayan Airways Jesselton - Kuala Lumpur

SELAMAT HARI RAYA AIDIL FITRI to all Muslim visitors. I wanted to show something Hari Rayaish either money or stamps but unfortunately there is none to be found. Anyway, I will talk about my latest acquisition which arrived just before the Hari Raya holidays.

I acquired this first day cover the other day which was to commemorate the first flight of the German made airplane, Foker Friendship, flying from Jesselton (now Kota Kinabalu) to Kuala Lumpur on 10th September 1963. On the cover it stated that it flew from Jesselton to Kuala Lumpur via Brunei, Kuching and Singapore. At the moment I am unable to ascertain whether it actually passed those 3 cities but I would presumed that would be correct as Foker Friendship was only a turboprop (it used propellers or kipas as Bruneians would call it).

While looking up information for the above I was checking what happened to Malayan Airways. Apparently Malayan Airways was first started as Wearnes Air Services flying from Singapore to Penang via Kuala Lumpur first flying on 28th June 1937 until the eve of World War II. After the war in 1947, Mansfield and Co Ltd formed Malayan Airways resuming Wearnes Air Services route.

Malayan Airways also acquired BOAC (British Overseas Airways Corporation) and QANTAS as part new owners expanded their services to make it an international airline by 1957. Malayan Airways quickly expanded and flew to other countries around the region including to Brunei, Thailand, Jakarta and Hong KOng. In 1963, Malayan Airways became Malaysian Airways and by 1966, both Singapore and Malaysian Governments jointly owned the company making it Malaysia-Singapore Airlines (MSA). By 1970, MSA offered services to London. In December 1972, MSA split to become Malaysian Airline System (MAS) and Singapore Airlines (SIA). The last name change was in October 1987, when it became Malaysia Airlines.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Straits Settlement $10 1935

This is my latest acquisition. This is a $10 note issued by the Government of the Straits Settlement which means this is legal tender and used for Singapore, the Malay states in the Malay Peninsula and Brunei. This particular note was issued on 1st January 1935, this is the final note that was issued with the portrait of King George V. King and also under the Straits Settlement Government. In 1940, the first notes printed King George VI and under the Board of Commissioners came into circulation.

This $10 note has a tiger's head as the watermark. It was engraved and printed by Bradbury, Wilson & Co Ltd. The 1935 are the least expensive of this series which was printed every January from 1931 to 1935.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Burning Money

I was going through a number of publications I have while searching for some materials for my weekly newspaper articles and I found an old copy of the Annual Report of the Brunei Currency Board. The Brunei Currency Board (now renamed as the Brunei Currency and Monetary Board) is responsible for issuing all the currency notes in Brunei Darussalam.

This 1986 report had this photograph of how used and tattered Brunei money was taken out of circulation by being burnt. It was a real live furnance which was used. I am not sure whether this practise is still being maintained or whether they use a shredder nowadays. I have to ask my colleagues.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Brunei $1 2007

Here is an actual note of the 2007 series. I have scanned only the reverse of the note as that note is the same as the 1996 design despite this design being 11 years old. The year of printing is at the bottom right hand corner which is in very tiny 2 or 3 points size. I have focused on the 2007 so that you can see it better. The note is the same with the 1996 design for all intents and purpose but the only difference is that it is newly printed this year.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

His Majesty's 40th Anniversary Ascension to Throne

Yesterday was His Majesty Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei's 40th Anniversary of his ascension to the throne. 40 years ago, Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien decided to abdicate the throne and put his son up. It was a deft political move by him. The Sultan's Coronation did not take place until the following year.

I went through my album hoping I could find a stamp which commemorates his acension to the throne and found none. The Postal Authorities were caught by surprise as did everyone else that no stamps were issued to commemorate the event. And by the time they wanted to do one, they might as well prepare for the coronation stamp and that is all that I have philatelic wise. In fact His Majesty's definitive stamps did not come out until 1974 and Sultan Omar Ali's definitive first issued in 1952 was reissued in 1969 and 1972 with different watermark. Similarly for currency notes, it was Sultan Omar Ali's notes until 1972 when His Majesty Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah appeared on the note.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Euro 2008 Stamps

This is completely unintentional. One of the items I sold on ebay did not make money. It was an FDC of the Crown Prince and Princess Sarah wedding of 2004. Not only did it not get the price to cover the cost of the FDC but I found out later on paypal can't be used and I have to pay for the postage for the buyer to send me the money. Anyway, his money finally arrived but I wasn't that interested in it (it was only US$3.00) but what was on the envelope was a block sheet of the Euro 2008 stamps!

That alone pay for for whatever loss I suffered. Anyway, these ones are from Austria who will be co-hosting the European 2008 Football Championships (UEFA Euro 2008) together with Switzerland. The stamps feature Trix and Flix, the two mascots for the games. Incidentally Trix and Flix were chosen after a three way tie with two other choices which were Zagi and Zigi, and Flitz and Bitz. Trix and Flix got about 36% of the votes. The Euro 2008 also has a slogan - "Expect Emotions." If you can make it to Europe next year, head for Basel, Geneva, Berne, Zurich, Innsbruck, Salzburg, Vienna and Klagenfurt. Klagenfurt?

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Straits Settlement $1 1916

This is currently the oldest $1 note that I have that was issued by the Straits Settlement Government in Singapore for use in the British colonies in Malaya and Singapore as well as for Brunei as its protectorate state. For those in Brunei, we used Straits Settlement money as a result of the 1906 agreement between Britain and Brunei when we have the British Resident. As a result of that too, Sultan Hashim signed a law demonetising other forms of currencies in Brunei other than those issued by the Straits Settlement Government.

This particular note is the first design of the Straits Settlement paper currency. This was issued between 1906 to 1924 and printed and engraved by Thomas De La Rue & Company (this company also printed Brunei stamps from 1907 until the 1970s). The first issuance was issued on white cream paper and then on pinkish paper which is what I have here. I was quite lucky to get this 90 year old note for about US$105 and the market rate can range from US$125 VG to about US$2,000 UNC.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Brunei Stamps 1895

I managed to get the whole sheet of 1 cent 1895 Brunei stamps the other day. These stamps were printed in 1895 when a Mr Robertson persuaded Sultan Hashim that he can provide a postal service in Brunei if he is allowed to keep the sales of stamps outside Brunei. His Majesty Sultan Hashim can keep any revenues received for sale of stamps in Brunei.

What Robertson wanted to do was gain revenues from stamp collectors at that time (too many). But his postal service did not last long and died a few years after. But his stamps remained though still not accepted as a 'genuine' issue by some stamp purists. Stanley Gibbons included the 1895 in their catalogue but Scot Catalogue does not even now. Consequently the 1895 stamps considered as speculative has a lower value than the actual official stamp issued by the government in 1905.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Brunei $50 1995 - Illustration

I saw this postcard about Kampong Ayer (for the non-Bruneian visitors to this blog - Kampong Ayer means Water Village and many Bruneians still live the traditional life on the water along the Brunei River) and I thought it looked very familiar. It took quite a while before it hit me. This postcard was used for the reverse of the $50 1995 note.

See? I have not ventured into the design of notes. Though I am still quite intrigued why this photo of a number of Kampong Ayer residents crossing the river in the rain would make a good illustration for a $50 note. Any suggestions?

Friday, September 28, 2007

Brunei's New $1 Polymer Note 2007

I was surprised to see a big jump in visitor numbers to this blog yesterday. I checked and saw that this page was linked to a blog which had this entry:

"Ich bekam gestern mehere Anfragen wegen einer Neuausgabe in Brunei. So liegt eine Information vor, dass Brunei gestern eine neue 1-Ringgit-Banknote ausgegeben haben soll ! Wenn dies stimmt, können wir noch die 5- bzw. 10-Ringgit-Banknoten erwarten mit dem neueren Abbild des Sultans. Bisher ist auf der bruneiischen Sammlerwebseite für Numismatik & Philatelie nichts erwähnt worden. Die Betreiber dieser Webseite sind auch nicht die schnellsten, aber dafür recht ausführlich."

And being a non-German speaker, I have to get it translated through one of those free translator website. Of course it's not perfect but I got the following translation:-

"I got yesterday mehere inquiries because of a reprint in Brunei. So an information lies before that Brunei should have issued yesterday a new 1-Ringgit-Banknote 1-Ringgit-Banknote 1-Ringgit-Banknote 1-Ringgit-Banknote BANKNOTE! If this agrees, we can yet that 5- and/or 10-Ringgit-Banknoten 10-Ringgit-Banknoten 10-Ringgit-Banknoten 10-Ringgit-Banknoten banknote expect with the newer copy of the sultan. Previously is on the bruneiischen collector web page for Numismatik & Philatelie nothing mentioned become. The operators of this web page are not also the fastest, but for that quite in detail."

The entry managed to criticise this blogsite but also commended it at the same time. Anyway, I had to check. So I asked the big boss at Brunei's Currency and Monetary Board and yes, yesterday was the new issuance of Brunei's $1 polymer note to all banks in Brunei. The note looked like this:-

Haha... It still looked the same but this new note is printed this year and the only distinguishing mark is the year 2007 printed at the back of the note. You need a magnifying glass to read it. A whole bunch of new $1 notes were printed to replace the 25,000,000 older polymer $1 notes printed in 1996. However no new design was made. It is still printed by Note Printing Australia (NPA). So, there you go. Brunei's new $1 polymer notes. Hope you get one in a green packet this coming Hari Raya. Selamat Hari Raya!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Singapore's $25 1967

This is my latest Singapore currency note. This was the first and only $25 note that Singapore issued way back in 1967. 1967 is a very significant year for Brunei, Malaysia and Singapore as that was the year all the three countries decided that they do not want to jointly issue one currency but instead all three issued theirs independently.

This $25 note printed by De La Rue in England was designed to be an interim note between $10 and $50 but for some reason was not used as much. The $10 and $50 remained popular. When the Singapore notes was redesigned for the next Bird series in 1976, the $25 note was dropped and the $20 was introduced instead. So this $25, now 40 years old, has acquired a value much higher than the face value.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Old Dutch East Indies Coin 1794

Someone asked me what is the oldest coin in my collection? The oldest which actually has the year of minting on the coin is that of a Netherlands coin of 1794 (more than 213 years old). I do have Brunei coins which do not have dates but could date as far back as 1600.

I have not actually studied this coin deeply. I know a replica of it was used in the Kalimantan area of our Borneo Island. As to whether this Dutch coin was also circulated in Borneo is something I have to verify. But like I said a copy was used and if a copy was used, the original must have been used too. If that's true, then this coin made the circulation in Borneo about 200 years ago.

Monday, September 24, 2007

British Coins before 1967

One of the least known facts why Bruneians use British Straits Settlement money (duit Malaya) was that in 1906 when Sultan Hashim agreed to have the British Resident advise him on matters in Brunei was that Sultan Hashim had to demonetise every other form of currency used in Brunei. So only the British from their government centre in Singapore had the authority to issue money not just for their colonies in Malaya but also for Brunei as its protectorate country.

The above coins are the last British coins that we used in Malaya and Brunei. The Queen Elizabeth II coins were issued from 1953 onwards and came in the denomination of 50 cents, 20 cents, 10 cents, 5 cents and 1 cent. The 1 cent carried on the tradition of being square from the previous King Edward VI. In 1962, the Board of Commissioners of Currency for Malaya and British Borneo issued their first and only coin which was to replace the square 1 cent with the round 1 cent and changed the portrait of Queen Elizabeth to that of the kris. These coins lasted until 1967 when all the countries opted to issue their own currencies.

These coins set the size for today's modern Brunei coins. The sizes of these and the present Brunei coins matched exactly. If you still have these British coins, you would have no problem with whatever dispensers coin slots. Though you would be quite mad to do that as the value of these coins have gone past their face values.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

ASEAN 2007 - Brunei's Secretariat Building

I have shown Singapore's, Malaysia's, Philippines' and Thailand's version of the whole ASEAN 2007 series of stamps to mark 40th anniversary of ASEAN. But I have never taken a closer look at the actual buildings in those stamps. So I thought I will take a closer look at Brunei's building in those stamps and in this case, it is the Secretariat Building.

The ASEAN 2007 is supposedly showing ASEAN Architecture of various countries. I am not sure whether the Secretariat Building qualifies it to be a Brunei design as it was a colonial design. I am sure we could have picked a better building to symbolise Brunei's architecture. What say the Architectural readers?

Friday, September 21, 2007

Brunei, Malaysia, Singapore common $10 1961

Someone on website linked to my entry on the $1 duit kapal which I did about a couple of weeks back. I thought as a goodwill gesture, I will reintroduce the $10 note which was commonly used by Brunei, Malaysia and Singapore.

This $10 note was introduced in 1961, 6 years before the breakup of the common currency between the three countries. In those days, Sabah and Sarawak were not yet considered as formal parts of Malaysia. Hence if you look at the back, you will see the crests of Malaya, Singapore, Brunei plus Sabah and Sarawak. This was the last $10 note which were used by all three countries before each began issuing their own in 1967. Note that all three countries, Brunei, Malaysia and Singapore still use the colour red for their $10 notes now.