Guardian of postal heritage


An artist’s impression of the upcoming Stamp Museum being built in Section 14, Shah Alam. Its exterior is designed to resemble an envelope.

The Selangor Malay Customs and Heritage Corporation (Padat) is looking for contributors for an upcoming stamp museum.

Expected to be completed by 2022, the 8,580sq m purpose-built complex is to be located in Section 14, Shah Alam.

Designed to resemble an envelope on the outside, the museum would be a reference centre featuring the nation’s postal history, said its project officer Abdullah Anas Abu Bakar.

On its latest progress, Abdullah revealed that permission for earthworks had been obtained from Shah Alam City Council and preparation for construction work was taking place at the site.

It would come under the supervision of the Selangor Public Works Department, he added, with Senireka named as the main contractor.

“The contributions we are seeking from individual collectors are to complement the existing collection sourced from Pos Malaysia, Philatelic Society of Malaysia (PSM), National Archives, Museums Department and national security printers, ” said Abdullah.

“These contributions can either be done through donation, temporary or permanent loan, or rental.

Among the  materials that will be exhibited include a collection of stamps and  historical postal service items from pre-independence until present day. The earliest stamps during the Federation of Malaya era, as shown here,  feature tin  dredges.Among the materials that will be exhibited include a collection of stamps and historical postal service items from pre-independence until present day. The earliest stamps during the Federation of Malaya era, as shown here, feature tin dredges.

“We prefer the contributor to donate their collection voluntarily and those who do will be given a certificate of appreciation.”

He assured that contributions would be well taken care of, with receipts provided in accordance to agreements made between the museum and contributors.

Names of the contributors will also be displayed when the collections are exhibited.

For contributors who are looking to sell their items, Abdullah reminded that museums were meant to educate so contributors should see this as a service to state and country, not as a way of making a profit.

To ensure authenticity, every collection will be evaluated by experts.

However, he said, the museum was also considering having a section for forgeries.

Abdullah with a drawing featuring Tunku Abdul Rahman by artist A.B. Saman.Abdullah with a drawing featuring Tunku Abdul Rahman by artist A.B. Saman.

“This is for educational purposes so visitors and collectors can learn about forgeries and compare the differences between fake and genuine items, ” he said.

The fragile and valuable nature of philatelic collections, Abdullah added, meant expert consultants would be brought in from PSM to ensure the items were properly stored and displayed.

Fire safety has also been taken into consideration in the planning and design of the building.

The research and acquisition process for the museum’s collection has taken five years to curate.

In total, the museum hopes to acquire up to 30,000 pieces of artefacts to enable the display team to come up with an exhibition that is varied and visually interesting.

Among the masterpieces in its collection is a rare Malayan Union stamp dated June 8,1946, which is also known as the “Victory Stamp”.

Anuar showing some of the post office cancellations from his collection.Anuar showing some of the post office cancellations from his collection.

“This series was originally prepared to commemorate the forming of the Malayan Union to unify the Malay Peninsula under a single government but because of opposition, it resulted in the forming of the Federation of Malaya in 1948, ” said Abdullah.

“When Malayan Union did not materialise, this stamp series had to be destroyed but, a few pieces were saved.

“It is believed that there are now only 22 pieces from this series left in the world.”

Another is a sketch featuring Bapa Kemerdekaan Tunku Abdul Rahman by artist A.B. Saman.

This later graced a 10sen stamp to commemorate the 1957 Merdeka celebrations.

Stamps  depicting a young farmer, her arms laden with padi, by artist Mohd Hoessein  Enas, to  commemorate Paddy Year in 1969.Stamps depicting a young farmer, her arms laden with padi, by artist Mohd Hoessein Enas, to commemorate Paddy Year in 1969.

Other artworks include ones by Harisson and Sons Limited for the coronation of Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah in 1961 and a drawing of a young farmer, her arms laden with padi by artist Mohd Hoessein Enas to commemorate Paddy Year in 1969.

The museum also has in its collection, the first stamps used in the country from the Straits Settlement era, dated 1867. One interesting piece from the international section features a micronation known as Hutt River.

Only 75sq km in size, it had a population of fewer than 30 people.

This section also has stamps from countries that no longer exist such as the Soviet Union, which was dissolved in 1991, and Yugoslavia, which became Serbia and Montenegro in 2003.

In addition to stamps and philatelic items such as mini sheets, first day covers and aerogrammes, the museum is also interested in design drafts, artworks and printing machines used to manufacture postage stamps.

It is also on the lookout for vintage equipment used in postal services such as postmen’s uniforms and their badges, post boxes, weighing machines, rubber stamps used in postal offices to mark dates, items that are either rejected or registered and historically relevant documents such as inventory lists and old photographs.

“Of special interest to us are first edition stamps from the pre-independence era, specifically during the years when the country was still known as the Federated Malay States, Straits Settlements and later, Federation of Malaya, ” said Abdullah.

One collector who will be contributing his collection to the museum is PSM president Datuk Anuar Bashah Mohd Sohore.

“The idea of a stamp museum for Selangor actually came about 15 years ago when the Sultan of Selangor attended one of PSM’s shows in Bukit Jalil, ” he said.

Among the masterpieces to be exhibited at the upcoming Stamp Museum is a rare Malayan Union stamp also known as the ‘Victory Stamp’.Among the masterpieces to be exhibited at the upcoming Stamp Museum is a rare Malayan Union stamp also known as the ‘Victory Stamp’.

Anuar was overjoyed that the dream would finally come true.

He was thinking of having his collection of mosque, orchid- and monarchy-themed pieces on permanent loan to the museum.

The former Special Branch deputy director, who is also taking on an advisory role in the project, said the goal of the museum was to show stamps from the first issue until the latest one by Pos Malaysia. The first stamp was provided by the post offices of British India and overprinted with a crown and new values in our currency in 1867.

Ideally, he said, items contributed should be in mint condition and unused.

“It would be best for the museum to collect entire sheets as they contain details like the printer, date, value and colour identification, ” said Anuar.

In addition to stamps, he said the museum also had a wish list for cancellations of all the post offices in the country throughout the different eras of history.

These are postal markings applied on a stamp to prevent reuse.

Each post office has its own postmark denoting its location and comes in varying designs.

“During the British occupation for example, the cancellation for Kuala Lumpur was spelt ‘Kwala Lumpur’, ” he pointed out.

One rare cancellation the museum hopes to receive from contributors is the cancellation from the Dinding (now known as Manjung) post office in Perak during the Straits Settlement era.

A stamp from a micronation known as  Hutt River is set to be on  display at the international section of the museum.A stamp from a micronation known as Hutt River is set to be on display at the international section of the museum.

“Not many letters came from here. Back then, the local population did not send letters.

“Most who did were the British who would send letters back to England.

“There are about six collectors we know who have this cancellation, so we hope they are reading this, ” said Anuar.

Two other contributors who will donate their books are the late Dr Abdul Majid Abu Kassim and past PSM president, the late Dr VT Nathan. The widow and father of the deceased, respectively, will be presenting these to the museum.

Interested parties can go to padat.gov.my for details or contact Abdullah at 03-5519 0050 or anas@padat.gov.my.

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Stamp Museum , Shah Alam , contributors , 2022.

   

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