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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.

Lots Per Page:

  • Lot 497 (Public Auction #8334)

    Saturday 11th June 2022, 08:00

    Est. £100 - £150

    Buyer's Premium Applies

    NORTH BORNEO - 1889-92 ISSUE FORGERIES Carame perforated sheets of fifty for the ½c to 10c (the 10c with one piece of margin missing), plus an imperf 5c block of 35, then Fournier sheets of fifty i...
  • Lot 498 (Public Auction #8334)

    Saturday 11th June 2022, 08:00

    Est. £60 - £80

    Buyer's Premium Applies

    NORTH BORNEO - 1894 PICTORIAL reprints from the original plates in black or coloured, all marginal blocks of four for 1c, 2c, 12c and 18c, plus postal stationery 1c and 6c postal cards again in bla...
  • Lot 897 (Kwik-Bid #4334)

    Monday 30th May 2022, 16:30

    Est. £30 - £33

    Buyer's Premium Applies

    NORTH BORNEO - 1895 40c on $1 scarlet surcharge, SG 91, fine mint, fresh
  • Lot 898 (Kwik-Bid #4334)

    Monday 30th May 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 899 (Kwik-Bid #4334)

    Monday 30th May 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 900 (Kwik-Bid #4334)

    Monday 30th May 2022, 16:30

    Est. £45 - £50

    Buyer's Premium Applies

    NORTH BORNEO - 1961 QEII Pictorial definitive set, SG 391/406, VFM (16 stamps)
  • Lot 901 (Kwik-Bid #4334)

    Monday 30th May 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 2891 (Kwik-Bid #4334)

    Monday 30th May 2022, 16:30

    Est. £500 - £600

    Buyer's Premium Applies

    NORTH BORNEO - 1886-1979 MINT & USED ACCUMULATION with light duplication in an old stockbook, includes 1886 2c used, 1894 Pictorials set mint incl 12c (x2), 1897-1902 vals to 10c & 12c mint and 16c...
  • Lot 2892 (Kwik-Bid #4334)

    Monday 30th May 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 2893 (Kwik-Bid #4334)

    Monday 30th May 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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