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The Stamps and Postal History

The history of Western involvement in North Borneo reads like an exciting novel with the British finally taking a serious interest in the area when it was feared that a vast area of land ceded to an Austrian businessman might pass into the hands of Austria or Germany itself. Alfred Dent of the great eastern trading house Dent Brothers managed to dislodge the Austrian through legal manoeuvrings and obtained a Royal Charter to a new British North Borneo Company.


North Borneo’s first postage stamp was probably issued during March or April 1883, having been despatched from England in late January or possibly even later. The design incorporates the Arms of the Company with script in English, Malay & Chinese, the stamps being printed by Blades, East and Blades of London, who printed for the colony until 1894. One of the rarest stamps of North Borneo is actually a pair of these stamps imperforate between.


Once Waterlow took over as printers in 1894 the designs changed dramatically from the ‘Company Arms’ styling to spectacular and intricate bi-colour pictorials depicting local chiefs, stags, birds, crocodiles, mountains, elephants, rhinoceros plus so much more. No tasteless modern pictures these, but the finest work of London’s best engravers and stamp collectors have marvelled over them ever since.


As well as the considerable pictorials-only legacy which continued until the end of North Borneo itself in 1963, philatelists can enjoy the many different perforation varieties to be found amongst many of these issues, unusually collectors will note a third column in the Stanley Gibbons catalogue which indicates the price for stamps with a remainder cancellation. The ‘postmarking’ of excess stamps in this way gave generations of philatelists the opportunity to acquire otherwise valuable stamps at substantially reduced prices.


For information on postmarks and postal history we would recommend “The Postal History of British North Borneo” and for the stamps, proofs, essys and so much more “The Stamps and Postal History of North Borneo. Parts I to III” by L. H. Shipman.

North Borneo stamps

Lots Per Page:

  • Lot 874 (Kwik-Bid #4337)

    Tuesday 23rd August 2022, 16:30

    Est. £40 - £50

    Buyer's Premium Applies

    NORTH BORNEO - 1889 $5 bright purple, SG 49, v fine fiscal used.
  • Lot 875 (Kwik-Bid #4337)

    Tuesday 23rd August 2022, 16:30

    Est. £30 - £33

    Buyer's Premium Applies

    NORTH BORNEO - 1895 40c on $1 scarlet surcharge, SG 91, fine mint, fresh
  • Lot 876 (Kwik-Bid #4337)

    Tuesday 23rd August 2022, 16:30

    Est. £35 - £40

    Buyer's Premium Applies

    NORTH BORNEO - 1947 Pictorial defin set, Colony opt'd, SG 335/349, cds used (15)
  • Lot 877 (Kwik-Bid #4337)

    Tuesday 23rd August 2022, 16:30

    Est. £90 - £100

    Buyer's Premium Applies

    NORTH BORNEO - 1950-52 Pictorials complete set,SG 356/70,fine cds used,fresh(16)
  • Lot 878 (Kwik-Bid #4337)

    Tuesday 23rd August 2022, 16:30

    Est. £45 - £50

    Buyer's Premium Applies

    NORTH BORNEO - 1961 QEII Pictorial definitive set, SG 391/406, VFM (16 stamps)
  • Lot 879 (Kwik-Bid #4337)

    Tuesday 23rd August 2022, 16:30

    Est. £25 - £30

    Buyer's Premium Applies

    NORTH BORNEO - POSTAGE DUE 1895-97 6c opt perf 13½-14, SG D6a, fine cds used
  • Lot 880 (Kwik-Bid #4337)

    Tuesday 23rd August 2022, 16:30

    Est. £25 - £30

    Buyer's Premium Applies

    NORTH BORNEO - REVENUE 1894 $25 dull blue, Barefoot 7, VFM, scarce as mint
  • Lot 2828 (Kwik-Bid #4337)

    Tuesday 23rd August 2022, 16:30

    Est. £350 - £400

    Buyer's Premium Applies

    NORTH BORNEO - 1883-1948 ALL DIFFERENT COLLECTION A mint and used collection on album pages, includes 1883 $1 used, 1886-87 ½c, 1c, 2c, and 16c mint plus 4c, 50c, $1, and $2 used, 1888-1909 ranges ...
  • Lot 2829 (Kwik-Bid #4337)

    Tuesday 23rd August 2022, 16:30

    Est. £110 - £120

    Buyer's Premium Applies

    NORTH BORNEO - 1897 -1902 CROCODILE 12c black and dull blue, perf 14½-15, SG 106b, very fine used with a lovely 'Sandakan' postmark.
  • Lot 2830 (Kwik-Bid #4337)

    Tuesday 23rd August 2022, 16:30

    Est. £110 - £120

    Buyer's Premium Applies

    NORTH BORNEO - 1897-1902 10c brown & slate lilac, SG 104, fine mint

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