Sunday, September 21, 2008

SOAS Mosque Opening 1958

A Miss Jennifer sent me this set of First Day Covers all commemorating the opening of Brunei's Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque in September 1958. The 50th Anniversary of the opening is coming up this Friday and there is currently a lot of interest in these old philatelic items. I only had one of these 3 FDCs but I was not surprised when Jennifer sent me these three different designs. I found that for other stamp issues in the 1950s and the early 1960s, there will always be more than one FDC design. I am guessing that in those days, these FDCs were not always issued by the Postal authorities and that other people may be allowed to issue them as well.

The SOAS Mosque was opened on 25th September 1958. That day was a public holiday because it was also Prophet Muhammad's birthday. So that day was Maulid Rasul or Maulud Nabi. The stamps were officially issued on 24th September 1958, the day before the official opening.

Two of the three FDC had 24th as the postmarked on the FDC. But one of them was issued on 26th, the day after. It would be interesting to know why that is so.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Brunei's 'Pead' First Day Cover 1895

I am trying to win ebay's auction on this item but I fear I am not closer to getting it. The price at this point in time is US$409.00 which is already too much what I am willing to pay for.

In 1895, when John Robertson managed to get the stamps concession from Sultan Hashim, he produced a set of 10 stamps in exchange for running the postal service in Brunei. With hindsight, we now know that what he wanted was to get the rights to producing the stamps and make gains from it. The postal service which he ran was described as 'sporadic at best' so he was not meeting his end of the bargain of running that postal service.

As part of his investments, he sold first day covers. He sent two batches of first day covers, one was to a Mr. Parker and the other was to a Mr. Pead, both in London. These two, maybe numerous in 1895, have now been much harder to find and their prices have increased as well. I managed to obtain the 'Parker' first day cover for about GBP220 in an auction a few months ago. I thought getting the 'Pead' first day cover would complement the 'Parker' first day cover. But not at more than US$400+.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Brunei's $40 Stamp

Last month was His Majesty's 40th Anniversary of his coronation. I wrote about the stamps that were issued specially to mark the occassion which you can read here.

Together with the set of stamps were two miniature sheets. One contained all the stamps and the other contained a very high valued stamp of $40. At the time of the stamps, the lady at the philatelic unit informed me that the high value miniature sheets were being reprinted. There was a wrong colour or something like that. I did not get mine until today. So here it is:

When I went to the counter last month, the lady said she would reserve me a number - the miniature sheet has a serial number. I just said 500 as the number that popped up in my head and I got that 000500. I should have asked for something like 888 or something.

This is not the first time Brunei postal authorities issued high valued miniature sheet. The previous one was to mark the occassion of His Majesty's 60th Birthday. The authorities issued a $60 stamp on miniature sheet and sold it for $235. The previous one to that was when His Majesty celebrated his 50th birthday. The postal authorities issued a miniature sheet with five $50 stamp and the miniature sheet had a face value of $250. Then I was not an avid collector and $250 was a lot of money to pay for stamps. Nowadays I am willing to pay much more. Much to my regret that $250 miniature sheet cost me $600 at a philatelic store in Singapore in March.

So the lesson would be - get your hands on this $40 miniature sheet. It would rise up in value in the future and this is a pretty good investment.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Brunei's $5 1995

I bought a book about Brunei published around 1980s. The book was relatively modern but it does show a number of changes that Brunei has undergone over the last 20 odd years. I was surprised when I saw the photo above. It shows a Kampong Ayer on Pulau Pepatan. So it is strictly not Kampong Ayer proper. I remembered this scene as I know it appeared on one of Brunei's older currency notes.

And here it is forming the illustration of 1995 series of $5 notes. Most of these series took their photos from one of the postcards or more relatively known photographs. I have written about a few in the past.

For those still wondering which $5 note I am talking about, here it is.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Brunei Japanese Occupation 30c Stamp

This is the 16th stamp of the 20 stamp set of Brunei Japanese Occupation. The others which I am looking for is the 6c red stamp, the $5, the $25 and $3 overprints which all have catalog values of four to give digits.

This 30c stamp cost me US$135. Its catalog value is much lower at around US$100 but the opening bidding price was already at US$125. So the catalog value should be revalued higher. I had a tough time searching for this stamp and the moment I saw it I thought I will grab it.

It's an ordinary 30c 1924 issue but I think by the time of the Japanese occupation, there was not much of this issue left for them to overprint. Hence the scarcity of it. Similarly with the 8c grey which has a catalog value of around $2,000+. I purchased that the other day for around M$700+.