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SARAWAK

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1869 James Brooke facing the right, inscription "J B R S"

3 c brown on yellow

  3 c brown on yellow

Value of the stamps

vc = very common
c  = common
*  = not so common
** = uncommon
*** = very uncommon
R   = rare
RR  = very rare
RRR = extremely rare
Value Unused Used Remarks
3 c *** R  


Stamp with Chinese cancel?

Forgery of this stamp:

Part of the Gray catalogue, page 168.
First image: Reduced size. This forgery is identical to the image provided in the John Edward Gray 'The Illustrated Catalogue of Postage Stamps' of 1870 on page 168 (except that it is in black color there, see third image). My Scott 1925 catalogue also has the same image. Apparently, it also exists in the color green: http://stampforgeries.com/forged-stamps-of-sarawak/.

 

1871 Charles Brooke facing the left, inscription "C B R S"

 

  2 c violet on violet (1875)
  3 c brown on yellow
  4 c brown on yellow (1875)
  6 c green on green (1875)
  8 c blue on blue (1875)
  12 c red on red (1875)

Surcharged

  'ONE CENT' on 3 c brown on yellow
  '2 CENTS' on 3 c brown on yellow
  '2 CENTS' on 12 c red on red
  '4 CENTS' (red) on 6 c green on green
  '4 CENTS' (red) on 8 c blue on blue

Value of the stamps

vc = very common
c  = common
*  = not so common
** = uncommon
*** = very uncommon
R   = rare
RR  = very rare
RRR = extremely rare
Value Unused Used Remarks
2 c *** ***  
3 c * *  
4 c *** ***  
6 c ** **  
8 c *** ***  
12 c *** ***  
1 c on 3 c * *  
2 c on 3 c * *  
2 c on 12 c ** ** With inverted overprint: RRR
4 c on 6 c *** ***  
4 c on 8 c *** ***  


Imperforate proofs of the 2 c and 6 c values.

Typical cancels:

3 c brown on yellow
"S" cancel in bars and violet circular date cancel


Sarawak stamp with "S" cancel, together with a Straits Settlements stamp cancelled in Singapore.

Forgeries:


A very primitive forged 8 c green stamp

Image from a Moens catalogue of 1875 Image from a de Torres catalogue of 1879
Slightly less crude forgeries, the lettering is different (for example the bottom right "S") and the face of Brooke as well. Second image obtained from a Prestige Philately Auction no.132, Dec 01, 2007. The third and fourth image show images of Le Timbre Poste by Moens of No 100 (April 1871, page 25) and No 145 (January 1875) on which the forgery was apparently based. This forgery can also be found in the catalogue of Placido Ramon de Torres "Album Illustrado para Sellos de Correo" of 1879 (information passed to me thanks to Gerhard Lang, 2016, fifth image). So presumably this forgery was inspired by the Moens catalogue, and then copied by de Torres. Further proof of this is the fact that the 'perforation' design is cut off at the top and bottom by de Torres. It was listed under Africa(!) by de Torres by the way...


Forgery of the 4 c value. Note "FOOR" instead of "FOUR".


Forged 'TWO CENTS' overprint sold by Benjamin and Sarpy (image obtained from a Prestige Philately Auction no. 132, Dec 01, 2007).

A very rare provisional surcharge 'TWO CENTS' (in one line) on 3 c exists and was issued in 1874. After some forged dies were found with the London forgers Benjamin, Sarpy and Jeffreys with this surchage, it was believed that this issue was bogus altogether. It is now believed that there actually existed a genuine surcharge. By the way, any such stamp with cancel "SARAWAK P.O" in a box is a forgery made by the above three gentlemen. The above mentioned Prestige Philately Auction also mentions that "W. Batty-Smith in the London Philatelist (Nov-Dec 1989) provided evidence supporting the existence of a genuine 2c Provisional for use on newspapers".
More on the subject can be found at: http://members.fortunecity.com/borneo/swk-stp.htm (an image of another forgery with the same boxed "SARAWAK P.O" and the red "LONDON" cancel can be found there as well, but now pasted on piece of paper). This website also shows a copy of a supposedly genuine 'TWO CENTS' overprint; it is 17 mm long (the forgery shown above is 16 mm long).

 

1888 Charles Brooke facing the right

Inscription "POSTAGE & REVENUE"

16 c green and orange

  1 c lilac and black
  2 c lilac and red
  3 c lilac and blue
  4 c lilac and yellow
  5 c lilac and green 
  6 c lilac and brown
  8 c green and red
  10 c green and lilac
  12 c green and blue
  16 c green and orange
  25 c green and brown
  32 c green and black
  50 c green and olive
  1 $ green and black

Value of the stamps

vc = very common
c  = common
*  = not so common
** = uncommon
*** = very uncommon
R   = rare
RR  = very rare
RRR = extremely rare
Value Unused Used Remarks
1 c * *  
2 c ** **  
3 c ** **  
4 c *** ***  
5 c ** ***  
6 c *** ***  
8 c ** **  
10 c *** ***  
12 c *** ***  
16 c *** ***  
25 c *** ***  
32 c *** ***  
50 c *** ***  
1 $ R R  
Surcharged

'One Cent.' on 3 c lilac and blue 'one cent'  on 3 c lilac and blue The 2 types of overprint

  'One Cent.' on 3 c lilac and blue
  'one cent.' (small 'o' and 'c') on 3 c lilac and blue
  '2c' on 8 c green and red
  '5c' (2 types) on 12 c green and blue

Value of the stamps

vc = very common
c  = common
*  = not so common
** = uncommon
*** = very uncommon
R   = rare
RR  = very rare
RRR = extremely rare
Value Unused Used Remarks
1 c on 3 c R R  
1 c on 3 c *** *** Small 'o'
2 c on 8 c *** ***  
5 c on 12 c *** *** Rarest type: RR
Inscription "POSTAGE POSTAGE" (1899)

50 c olive and red

  1 c blue and red
  2 c green
  3 c lilac
  4 c red
  8 c yellow and black
  10 c blue
  12 c lilac
  16 c brown and green
  20 c olive and violet
  25 c brown and blue
  50 c olive and red
  1 $ red and green

Value of the stamps

vc = very common
c  = common
*  = not so common
** = uncommon
*** = very uncommon
R   = rare
RR  = very rare
RRR = extremely rare
Value Unused Used Remarks
1 c * c  
2 c * * With watermark 'Rose': R
3 c * c Watermark 'Rose' (1908)
4 c * *  
8 c ** *  
10 c ** **  
12 c *** **  
16 c *** ***  
20 c *** ***  
25 c *** ***  
50 c *** ***  
1 $ R R  

Unissued stamp: 5 c grey and green (the remainders of this stamp were sold to a dealer in London: R):

Other unissued stamps were prepared in 1898, they are 2 $ green and blue, 5 $ green and violet, 10 $ green and red (all RR).

I have seen postcards in a similar design ("POSTAGE POSTAGE") in the values 1 c green, 4 c red and 3 c red with a '4 CENTS' surcharge.


Primitive forgery?

A 'misprint' was made by the forger Smeets from Belgium, in which he erased the red value from the 50 c POSTAGE POSTAGE stamps and printed a green 50 c value on it.

 

 

1895 Charles Brooke, facing the left


(Reduced sizes)

  2 c brown
  3 c lilac
  4 c black
  6 c violet
  8 c green

Value of the stamps

vc = very common
c  = common
*  = not so common
** = uncommon
*** = very uncommon
R   = rare
RR  = very rare
RRR = extremely rare
Value Unused Used Remarks
2 c ** **  
3 c * c  
4 c *** ***  
6 c ** ***  
8 c *** ***  

 

1918 Charles Vyner Brooke

  1 c blue and red
  2 c green
  2 c lilac
  3 c violet
  3 c green
  4 c red
  4 c lilac
  5 c orange
  6 c red
  8 c yellow and black
  8 c red
  10 c blue
  10 c black
  12 c lilac
  12 c blue
  16 c brown and green
  20 c olive and violet
  25 c brown and blue
  30 c yellow and grey
  50 c green and red
  1 $ red and green

Surcharged

'ONE cent' on 10 c blue 'TWO cents' on 12 c lilac

  'ONE cent' on 10 c blue
  'TWO cents' on 12 c lilac

A 1 c grey was prepared in 1918 but never issued (the remainders were sold to a dealer in London: ***).

Value of the stamps

vc = very common
c  = common
*  = not so common
** = uncommon
*** = very uncommon
R   = rare
RR  = very rare
RRR = extremely rare
Value Unused Used Remarks
With no watermark (1918)
1 c c c An unissued 1 c blue and green exists: RR
2 c green * *  
2 c lilac * *  
3 c violet * *  
3 c green * *  
4 c red * c  
4 c lilac * *  
5 c * c  
6 c * *  
8 c yellow and black ** **  
8 c red * *  
10 c blue ** *  
10 c black ** **  
12 c lilac *** **  
12 c blue ** **  
16 c *** *  
20 c ** *  
25 c ** **  
30 c *** **  
50 c *** ***  
1 $ *** ***  
Surcharged (no watermark)
1 c on 10 c *** *** Misprint 'One cnet': RRR
2 c on 12 c *** ***  
Watermark 'Rose' (1928)
1 c vc vc  
2 c lilac c c  
3 c green c c  
4 c lilac c *  
5 c * *  
6 c * *  
8 c red * *  
10 c black * *  
12 c blue * *  
16 c * *  
20 c * *  
25 c ** **  
30 c ** **  
50 c *** ***  
1 $ *** ***  

 

1932 Charles Vyner Brooke, "SARAWAK" straight

  1 c blue
  2 c green
  3 c violet
  4 c orange
  5 c red
  6 c red
  8 c orange
  10 c black
  12 c blue
  15 c brown
  20 c violet and orange
  25 c brown and orange
  30 c orange and brown
  50 c olive and red
  1 $ red and green

I have seen these stamps with 'Telegraph' overprint, some of them also surcharged with a new value.

 

1934 In 1934 a new set with the portrait of Charles Vyner Brooke was issued with "SARAWAK" curved at the top

The values 1 c to 10 $ were issued: 
  1 c lilac
  2 c green
  2 c black
  3 c black
  3 c green
  4 c lilac
  5 c violet
  6 c red
  6 c brown
  8 c brown
  8 c red
  10 c red
  12 c blue
  12 c orange
  15 c orange
  15 c blue
  20 c red and green
  25 c orange and black
  30 c violet and brown
  50 c red and violet
  1 $ brown and red
  2 $ violet and red
  3 $ green and red
  4 $ red and blue
  5 $ brown and red
  10 $ orange and black


10 $ stamp with Japanese overprint

This set also exists with a Japanese overprint (issued during World War II, see image above).


A fiscal overprint, issued during the Japanese occupation; three Japanese characters with two pairs of vertical lines, these stamps were used to seal censored letters.

In 1945 the original set was issued with "BMA" overprint (in black or red) and in 1947 again with a Royal Cypher (in black or red).


12 c with "BMA" overprint and 5 $ with Royal Cypher overprint


Four stamps with a Japanese revenue overprint (two Japanese signs in a circle)

 

1946 Founders of Sarawak issue, three men

  8 c red
  15 c blue
  50 c red and black
  1 $ brown and black.

 

1948 Royal Silver wedding, identical to sets issued in many other British colonies, inscription "1923-1948", image of King and Queen

For stamps in a similar design, but for another British colony, click here

  8 c red (smaller size)
  5 $ brown

 

1949 UPU issue (design similar to many other British colonies)

For stamps in a similar design, but for another British colony, click here

  8 c red
  15 c blue
  25 c green
  50 c violet

 

1950 The George VI definitive issue was issued 1st January 1950, portrait of King George VI with various designs

  1 c black (troides brookiana; butterfly)
  2 c red (the tarsius)
  3 c green (Kayan tomb)
  4 c brown (Kayan girl and boy)
  6 c blue (bead work)
  8 c red (Dayak dancer)
  10 c orange (map)
  10 c orange (the scaly ant eater, 1952)
  12 c violet (Kenyah boys)
  15 c blue (fire making)
  20 c orange and brown (Kelemantan rice barn)
  25 c red and green (pepper vines)
  50 c violet and brown (Iban woman)
  1 $ brown and green (Kelabit Smithy)
  2 $ red and blue (map of Sarawak)
  5 $ violet, red, yellow and black (arms of Sarawak)

 

1953 Coronation of Queen Elizabeth, inscription "CORONATION JUNE 1953", design identical to many other British colonies

For stamps in a similar design, but for other British colonies, click here

  10 c blue and black 

 

1955 The Queen Elizabeth definitive issue was issued 1st June 1950, Queen Elizabeth II with various designs

  1 c green (logging)
  2 c red (young orang-utan)
  4 c brown (Kayan dancing)
  6 c blue (hornbill)
  8 c red (shield with spears)
  10 c green (Kenyah ceremonial carving)
  12 c lilac (Barong Panau; ship)
  15 c blue (turtles)
  20 c brown and olive (basket making)
  25 c green and brown (Astana, Kuching)
  30 c violet and brown (portrait of Queen Elizabeth II)
  50 c red and black (design as 30 c)
  1 $ brown and green (Queen Elizabeth II facing the left)
  2 $ green and violet (design as 1 $)
  5 $ violet, black, yellow and red (arms)

 

1963 Freedom from hunger

For stamps in a similar design, but for another British colony, click here

  12 c brown

 

1965 Orchid set

 

1971 First butterfly set

 

1977 Second butterfly set (arms changed)


Non issued stamps:

1915 (?) Two ships in a bay, inscription "SARAWAK POSTAGE", arabic text on left upper corner and chinese text in right upper corner

"Ships" 2 c green
(Reduced size)

I'm not sure if these stamps are non-issued, bogus or locals. The values 2 c green, 3 c blue, 4 c brown, 5 c red and 10 c violet exist.


Fiscal stamp

1875 Inscription "SARAWAK RECEIPT STAMP":


(Reduced size)

  3 c black on grey
  3 c red (1885)

Other fiscal stamps exist, for example the postage stamps of 1888 overprinted with "R Revenue only" or "R". In 1899 (Sir Charles Brooke) and 1918 (Sir Charles Vyner Brooke) special revenue stamps were issued with inscription "SARAWAK REVENUE":


1918 Charles Vyner Brooke 10 $ green and red revenue stamp with "CUSTOMS" overprint


Literature

Priced Catalogue of the Postmarks of Sarawak, 1965, published by The Sarawak Specialists Society.


Stamps - Timbres-Poste - Briefmarken

Copyright by Evert Klaseboer