Monday, March 20, 2006

My Stamp Collection

Layyoong’s interesting post (Snail Mail) about the Singapore Philatelic Museum reminded me of the time when I used to collect stamps as a hobby. I guess that was probably in the 1960’s. She will be surprised to learn that not only nerds, but uncouth kampong boys also liked to collect stamps. I think we were introduced to this hobby by our more civilized cousins, the Ngs.

Fortunately, I was able to locate my old stamp album and so I can share some photos with you.

Flipping through this old album of mine, I realized that our world has changed a great deal in one generation. Many of the countries in my album do not even exist today; or have since adopted other names. For example:

Aden and Ceylon

Sarawak (before Merger)

And even Malaysia at a time when we had to sing the Negara-ku.

I particularly liked stamps from Hungary. I recall being fascinated by a set of diamond shape stamps and pestered my father to buy them for me. I think it was quite indulgent of him to blow 20, 30 cents for a packet of just 4 or 5 stamps that had no practical value.

I also remember exchanging stamps with one Indian boy who used to come around to our kampong every afternoon to peddle home-made kuehs which he carried in a basket. This boy studied at Bartley School and lived in Bartley Road area: which means, he had to walk about 2 to 3 km one-way just to sell a few dollars worth of kuehs. I wish he is reading this blog.

I also remember 1 silly incident. Once, I saw some beautiful stamps in a magazine and I place the mail order for them. On receipt of the stamps, I was supposed to make payment via postal order. Because I was too ‘swaku’ to know what was postal order, I did not make the payment until I received a stern warning from the vendor. I immediately, packed the cash in an envelope and sent it to England.

Even though I stopped the hobby in secondary school, I still have the habit of cutting out stamps from foreign countries. For example, whenever our domestic maid receives a letter, I would ask her to cut out the stamps for me. Consequently, I have a whole box of cut stamps from Sri Lanka, Philippines and Indonesia.

When I was working in the National Productivity Board in the 80’s, the staff regularly received offers to purchase First Day Covers. I never could resist putting in my order.

Question is, Now what do I do with my stamp collection? How much are they worth today?

Maybe I will just leave that problem to my grandchildren


Francis Ho said...


I envy your Sarawak stamps!

Your stamps're priceless.

Anonymous said...

I greatly enjoyed reading your recollections of stamp collecting as a boy.

In answer to your question: your stamp collection is extremely valuable to a boy who enjoys geography and history and colored bits of paper!

The question that remains is: can you find this boy and give him your collection?

kk said...

Nice collection of the stamps. I love those old stamps and in fact i have also uploaded my own series of Malaysia Singapore old stamps. Will share my collection of the Sarawak stamps also later :-)

Anonymous said...

nice blog, i also have a site talking about stamp collecting directory, its informative..

Stamp Listing said...

Good blog, I am inviting you to join the , a philatelic classifieds portal.

dashing hongeng said...

At one time I was quite serious about stamp collecting. I was in charge of the Tanjong Rhu Boys' Stamp Club and got the members to join in Junior Stamp Exhibition. I am also a sleeping member of the Singapore Stamp Club. Due to less demand for stamps today, I feel their worth is declining. That's why I say that stamp collecting will become a hobby of the past.