Brunei's First Stamps of 1895
In 1895, Sultan Hashim signed an agreement that allowed a company to produce Brunei stamps and sell them on behalf of the government while at the same time running the postal service from the proceeds which made this the first public private partnership in Brunei Darussalam. The post office was opened by the company, it is believed, on 22 July 1895 and a set of 10 stamps, which had been printed in Glasgow by the firm Maclure Macdonald, was placed on sale. These stamps were printed on unwatermarked paper with 14 gauge line perforations, with the values in British Trade dollars (then in circulation in Brunei).
The stamps are not that difficult to obtain as the stamps were then deliberately sold in quantity by the company to raise the proceeds. However used stamps are relatively rare and even ones with the postal cancellations were quite difficult to find. I was first offered the complete set with CTO (cancelled to order) about five years ago and the asking price was B$800 which I thought was a little steep. I declined on the offer which I regretted eventually. So I thought if I was offered a second chance, I will be willing to pay the asking price.
So this set came up on ebay a couple of weeks ago with the starting bid of GBP99 which I thought was high. However the stamps were postmarked 16 July 1896 (116 years ago!) and I certainly could not pass up on this chance again. I duly bidded and eventually there was only one other interested bidder and we fought to the end. The final price was GBP221 (B$435) which was a lot more than what I had wanted to spend but definitely a lot less than what I was asked to pay for five years ago. This is the first complete CTO for Brunei's first ever stamps and will go nicely with the two mint sets which I had already acquired.