World Stamps

Brunei 1922 set is a good buy at up to full catalog value

Mar 15, 2023, 10 AM
The 1922 set of nine Brunei stamps overprinted “Malaya - Borneo Exhibition, 1922.” is a good buy at full Scott Classic Specialized catalog value in unused, hinged condition and very fine grade.

Stamp Market Tips by Henry Gitner and Rick Miller

Brunei is an independent sultanate on the island of Borneo in Southeast Asia. It is an enclave within and completely surrounded by the Malaysian state of Sarawak.

The population is about 70 percent Malay, 10 percent Chinese and 20 percent other ethnicities. The state religion is Sunni Islam, and about 80 percent of the population are adherents. About 7 percent are Christian and 7 percent are Buddhist.

In 1888, the sultan of Brunei signed a treaty with Great Britain making Brunei a British protectorate. Brunei was invaded and occupied by the Japanese in 1941. The sultan was removed from power but retained his title. After the Japanese defeat, the British returned in September 1945. Brunei gained full independence on Jan. 1, 1984.

The 1906 first general issue postage stamps for Brunei were created by overprinting and surcharging stamps of Labuan. The Scott Classic Specialized Catalogue of Stamps and Covers 1840-1940 lists a set of 10 local post stamps (Scott A1-A10) issued in 1895 that were only valid for postage within Brunei and for mail to Labuan.

Stamps of Brunei are of interest to collectors of Malaysia as well as British Empire collectors.

Brunei has a conservative stamp-issuing policy, only releasing about 700 stamps subsequent to the first issue. Many of the more recent stamps have topical appeal.

An interesting issue to look for is the 1922 set of nine stamps (Scott 14b-37a) overprinted “Malaya - Borneo Exhibition, 1922.” in four lines in black ink on stamps of the 1908-21 definitive set.

The Scott editors list the stamps of this set as minor-number varieties of the parent set when it would seem that listing them as major-number stamps would be more consistent with the listing policies.

The Scott Classic Specialized catalog values the set at $242 in unused, hinged condition and $800 in used condition with the value in italics. A set in unused, hinged condition and very fine grade is a good buy at up to full catalog value.

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