Tuesday, 29 March 2011


Collectors into stamp varieties normally focus on watermark and perforation of the stamps, though other aspects of the stamps such as fluorescent mark, paper type, gum (for mint stamp only) etc. are also considered. For Malaysia recent stamps, the varieties are mainly on watermark and perforation. I talked about watermark variety some time ago, and you may click here to read about my writing on watermark.

So, what is actually perforation? Perforation of a stamp is the pin holes on stamp sheets created by perforator (comb) so that the stamps could be parted into single pieces easily. If without perforation, stamp sheet has to be cut into single pieces by a pair of scissors or knife. If one pays extra attention on these pin holes (perforation), one would notice that some stamps have pin holes very close to each other and some have pin holes more distant to each other. The distance between two pin holes is said perforation size. The standard way of describing perforation size is the number of pin holes for a distance of 2 cm. If there are 12 pin holes for a distance of 2 cm, the perforation size is said P12. Of course, there is a special instrument (perforation gauge) to measure perforation size. One needs to lay the perforation gauge on a stamp, and then move the perforation gauge up or down along the stamp until the lines of the gauge overlaid the distance of pin holes perfectly. The reading of perforation size is given on the side of the gauge.

a perforation gauge

perforation size is P13.5

perforation size is P12

Of course, one could discover perforation varieties by overlaying two stamps of different perforation sizes. The pin holes of these stamps are just mis-aligned as shown in the figure below.

two stamps are overlaid on each other to show the mis-aligned pin holes indicating different perforation sizes of the two stamps

The perforation of a stamp is normally written by a formula below:
P a x b

P is the abbreviation of “Perforation”
a is the value at the top/bottom side of a stamp
b is the value at the right/left side of a stamp

If the top/bottom reading is 12 and the right/left side reading is 14, then the correct way of writing perforation size is P12x14. If both the top/bottom and right/left sides are 12, then it could be written as P12x12 or just P12. The higher the perforation value the closer the pin holes, meaning that the stamps are easier to be separated. Malaysia recent commemorative stamps normally have four perforation values – P12, P13.5 P14 and P14.5. On the other hand, the Malaysia definitive stamps (agro-based product, fruit, garden flower and bird) have perforation values P12, P13.5, P13.75, P14, P14.5 and P14.75.

Monday, 28 March 2011

2011 - Spices

Pos Malaysia released new stamps on March 28, 2011. The stamp issue depicts spices normally used in Malaysian cooking. The stamp set contains three denominations - 60 sen, 90 sen and RM1. Besides, a miniature sheet (RM3) and a stamp booklet (RM6) were also issued. The miniature sheet contains two stamps - one with denomination RM1 and the other one is RM2. On the other hand, the booklet contains 10 different stamps with 60 sen each.

The common watermark for the stamp set is SPM inverted and for the miniature sheet is SPM sideway down. On the other hand, the booklet stamps have two different watermarks - SPM sideway up and SPM sideway down. Both the watermark varieties of booklet stamps should be in equal number.

The 60 sen stamp from the stamp set portrays cinnamon or in Malay kayu manis. I told the postal staff at the philatelic counter - benda ini macam kayu balak lah (this thing looks like timber logs). A collector/customer next to me told me that he just wanted to say the same thing... hahahahahaha

stamp set

miniature sheet

stamp booklet - the front cover

stamps from booklet

Thursday, 24 March 2011

A Beautiful Cover from Wallis Futuna

Stamp Sheets - Thailand

Many postal authorities in the world are issuing stamp sheets in format of 20-stamp or 10 stamps aiming for collectors. Thai Post has no difference in this aspect. I acquired the below beautiful stamp sheets of Thailand depicting carnivorous plants issued in 2006. The stamp are printed in format of 20-stamp-sheet. I just love these carnivorous plant stamps, and they look fabulous in format of 20-stamp sheet.

Two Covers from Thailand

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Paquebot Mail

I've got my first paquebot mail. What is actually paquebot mail? A paquebot mail is mailed on a ship, and then dropped off at an overseas port for dispatch. So, the below postcard was posted at sea on R.M.S. St. Helena (a small ship; R.M.S. stands for Royal Mail Ship), and the postcard entered the postal system at Jamestown, St. Helena on February 23, 2011. The R.M.S. St. Helena visits St. Helena, Cape Town, Ascension, Tenerife and Portland.

Still on Stamp Sheets

Stamp sheets are always beautiful, and collecting them is surely not cheap. A visitor "Money Talk" to my blog commented that financial factor is the hindrance for collecting stamp sheets. Well, she/he takes the word out of my mouth, and I do not need to elaborate any longer. The beauty of stamp sheets, however, sometimes could be too much for collectors to resist. By just looking at the two stamp sheets below depicting the trains issued in 2002, many collectors could be drooling.... hehehehe

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Collecting Stamp Sheets

The printing number of current stamps by Pos Malaysia is roughly 200,000-400,000 per single stamp design, and the current stamps are normally printed in sheet-of-20. This may imply that 10,000-20,000 stamp sheets are produced for each stamp design.
This number is definitely small for stamp sheets. At least half of the number of sheets produced would be ended up in FDCs, and many sheets would be torn into formats of single, pair or block kept in the albums of many stamp collectors. So, the number of stamp sheets survived is definitely very small. Collecting stamp sheets is surely a very interesting way of pursuing stamp collecting in Malaysia. Actually, Pos Malaysia started to produce stamps in format of small stamp sheets in 2000. At the beginning a stamp sheet normally contained 25 stamps. However, the number of stamps for a sheet has been reduced to 20 since year 2002. Below are the stamp sheets of Batam stamp released in year 2001. The stamp sheets contain 25 stamps. The stamps in format of sheet look very attractive, don't they? Have you thought of collecting Malaysia recent stamps in format of sheet?

Monday, 21 March 2011

Friday, 18 March 2011

Slogan Postmarks in 1973

Recently, I acquired some slogan postmarks for my collection. I am actually quite amazed by the number of slogan postmarks being released/used in a single year by postal autority of Malaysia in 1960s-1980s. However, Pos Malaysia has reduced the number of slogan postmark in the recent years. Below are 11 slogan postmarks used in 1973.

A Town Called Yen!

There is a town in Kedah called Yen (to be more precise Yan). Yen is my name, and the below cover was cancelled by Yen Post Office on November 17, 1973. I like it!

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Where Was I Yesterday?

Where was I yesterday? Well, yesterday morning I was at the building shown in the photos below. What is this building? Well, this is the building of General Post Office of Kota Kinabalu, Sabah. What did I do in this building? Well, I went to the building to post over twenty postcards and covers.

:) :) :)

Sunday, 13 March 2011

My Machins

I developed my interest in collecting machin stamps when I was in the UK (1995-1998). I was a bit naive about the machin stamps, and I used to call them as queen-head stamps. I learned about the word "machin" when I ventured into collecting them in serious manner. I started collecting them as single stamps, and then I ventured into collecting cylinder blocks. For some reasons I stopped totally the collecting of machin stamps in 2005. I supposed the very strong Pound Sterling (1GBP = >RM6.5) and the higher stamp denomination being issue had put me off. Though now the Pound Sterling is much weaker (1GBP = RM4.8), the stamp denomination being issued is still on the rise ever since. I'm glad that I've stopped collecting machins since 2005. Sometimes, I felt that I could do better if I didn't start collecting machins at all.....