Exhibition and stamps mark 150th year of Singapore’s postal service

Gabriel Choo
Block of unused 1-anna stamps featuring Queen Victoria. (Photos: Singapore Philatelic Museum)

It has been 150 years since the first postage stamp was issued in Singapore on 1 September 1867. To commemorate this significant milestone, a set of commemorative stamps is being launched and a special exhibition is being held at the Singapore Philatelic Museum (SPM).

Titled ‘150th Anniversary of the First Postage Stamps Issued in Singapore’, the exhibition is jointly organised by SPM and the Association of Singapore Philatelists (ASP). It will showcase some of the rarest collections of stamps, covers and other philatelic materials.

The exhibition was launched last Thursday (31 August) at SPM. Visitors will be able to see how Singapore was connected to the rest of the world during the 19th century. The exhibits are from SPM’s collection and that of private collectors.

“This exhibition offers an important insight into Singapore’s postal history, as well as that of our history as part of the Straits Settlements. We hope that visitors, including the young, will gain useful insights into how the postal system supported the growth and development of Singapore’s economic and social life in the 19th century,” said Tresnawati Prihadi, General Manager of SPM.

Collections of Straits Settlements philatelic materials. (Photo: Singapore Philatelic Museum; images courtesy of Wong Han Min, Richard Tan, Prakob Chirakiti, Charnchai Karnasuta)

The exhibition will feature different award-winning collections of Straits Settlements philatelic material each month. Some of the exciting rarities include:

  • The only known cover bearing all four values of the 1854 Indian stamps used in the Straits Settlements.
  • A cover, dated 1 September 1867, sent from Singapore to Switzerland which had the first day release of the provisional issue of stamps.
  • A cover sent from Singapore to Hong Kong on 28 December 1857 bearing a bisected “Two anna” Indian stamp.
  • A postal stationery card featuring stylised images of the orchid flower.
  • A postal stationery card sent from the Raffles Hotel on 1 February 1894 and arrived at Malang, Indonesia on 7 February 1894.

Visitors can purchase picture postcards and souvenir covers sold from S$3. Limited exhibition catalogues are also up for grabs at S$50.

The exhibition will be held at SPM located at Coleman Street. It is opened daily from 10am to 7pm until 1 January 2018. Admission is free for Singaporeans and permanent residents. Otherwise, ticket prices start from S$6. More information can be found on SPM’s website.

Five SingPost stamps will be launched as part of this significant milestone. (Photo: Singapore Philatelic Museum)

Other than the exhibition, commemorative ‘150th Anniversary of First Postage Stamp Issued in Singapore’ stamps will also be launched by SingPost. There are five SingPost stamps and three Pos Malaysia stamps commemorating the first Straits Settlements stamps. The complete set is available at S$4.25.

The 1st Local stamp features the “Half anna blue stamp” overprinted with a crown and the denomination of three half cents while the 2nd Local stamp is a block of four “One anna deep brown stamps” overprinted with a crown and the denomination of three cents.

There are also 60¢, 70¢ and $1.30 stamps that depict three covers affixed with two other Straits Settlements stamps: the eight-cent “Two annas orange stamp” and the 12-cent “Four annas green stamp”.

There will be also be a different set of four serialised picture postcards each month, sold at S$10 for a strip of four postcards. Sale of the stamps commenced on Friday (1 September) at the General Post Office, Philatelic Store, which starts operations at SingPost Centre, Jurong West Post Office and online.

Four serialised picture postcards will be sold each month at S$10 a strip. (Photo: Singapore Philatelic Museum)

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