Foreign Stamps in Brunei

The above is a Sarawak stamp complete with a portrait of Charles Vyner Brooke. Look closely and you will see the word Brunei handstamped onto the stamp and dated sometime 2nd March 1946. For those of you who are both history challenged and postal knowledge challenged would wonder when we used Sarawak stamps in our country? And if that surprised you, look at the stamp below.

This is a North Borneo stamp also handstamped Brunei. North Borneo was the name for Sabah, in case you are wondering. What's the story behind both stamps?

In 1945, when the Allied Forces took over Brunei and the rest of Southeast Asia basically from the Japanese, they set up a temporary administration in all of the countries. These administrations were called British Military Administration and hence BMA. These administrations in starting up the government found that most of the local stamps that were in used at the local postal authorities were mutilated - local stamps being overprinted by the previous Japanese administrations. So BMA in order to restart postal services needed new stamps.

In some countries, they were lucky to find existing stamp stocks which had no Japanese overprints such as those in Sarawak and North Borneo. For Brunei, no such luck. And at the same time, in order to simplifly administration, all three states were treated as one. So for a time in 1946, Brunei's postal authorities had to use either Sarawak or North Borneo stamps overprinted BMA and hence, that's why for a short time, foreign stamps were in use in Brunei.

When else did we use foreign stamps in Brunei? I will give a genuine 1907 Brunei stamp to the first right answer.


Anonymous said…
we also used stamps from labuan for provisional issue until our stamps arrived from London due to delays, Only five values of the Labuan stamps were used for Brunei
Anonymous said…
The government post office was opened on 11 October 1906...
Rozan Yunos said…
Thanks h.samid for the only entry. Email me your contact number and I will try to get that stamp to you.

Your answer is partly correct. The times when foreign stamps are used in Brunei:-

1. When Brooketon (Muara) was run by Rajah Brooke, he brought his Sarawak administration here and even though Muara is Brunei's territory, postal service was run by Sarawak. So you will find Sarawak stamps postmarked Brunei. This was in the late 1880 and 1890s.

2. As pointed out by H.Samid, Brunei used Labuan stamps overprinted Brunei in 1906 when the first official postal service was launched by the new Resident Government.

3. During the 1st World War, Sarawak and North Borneo stamps were used.

4. Finaly during the 2nd World War, again Sarawak and North Borneo stamps were used.
King Qi said…
fascinating stamps - i thought i have seen it all - how naive of me! =)

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