PHILATELIST Paul Chong (pic) bought 60 Penang Free School stamps, first covers and miniature sheets in his hometown of Sibu, Sarawak, and then hopped into a plane to George Town to get the special postal marks stamped on them.
“The postal mark is worth my four-hour flight here,” said Chong, 61, while lining up in Penang Free School.
Pos Malaysia Group chief executive officer Datuk Mohd Shukrie Mohd Salleh said that the postal mark was given only at the school yesterday.
First day covers with brochures are sold at 55sen each, while folders are RM6.35 each.
A miniature sheet with special gold foil is RM5 each. There were only 35,000 pieces printed.
A complete set worth RM71.45, contains a brochure of the school’s history; 70sen, 80sen and 90sen stamps (20 each), a miniature sheet and two first day covers.
A check on several post offices in the city showed that the collection was sold out before noon.
“We printed 5,000 complete sets and 170,000 stamps for each of the three denominations,” he said.
Ex-principal G. Krishna Iyer, 83, and wife Xantha Krishna, 77, were among those spotted buying.
“My father taught here from 1939 to 1959, I studied here from 1948 to 1953 and was the principal from 1983 to 1988.
“My three children studied here. Even my wife is a former PFS teacher,” he said.
At 7am, about 100 people gathered at the tomb of school founder Rev Robert Sparke Hutchings (1782-1827) for the annual thanksgiving memorial service at the Protestant Cemetery in Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah.
St George’s Church Bishop Charles Samuel graced the 30-minute service with the assistance of Rev Ho Kong Eng.
Hutchings was also the founder of St George’s Church Penang and Raffles Institute in Singapore. SMK Hutchings was named after him in the 1920s.