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first issues > countries > sarawak


1st March 1869

British Colony 27

  Sarawak Sc1 SG1  

perf 11, no wmk, lithographed
Printed by Maclure, Macdonald & Co., Glasgow

Description   Scott# SG# Mi# Y&T# Mink#
3 cents brown, yellow   1 1   1

George VI and a trogonoptera brookiana
1950 Sc180 SG171

At the time of its first stamp, Sarawak was ruled by the Brooke family and the stamp features Sir James Brooke the 'first of the white rajahs'. Sir James had, however, died on 11th June 1868, after the order had been placed but before the stamp was issued. Mackay [1] therefore describes it as "the first to portray a ruler posthumously".

Sarawak was placed under British protection in 1888 and it became a Crown Colony in 1947, although its stamps continued to feature only members of the Brookes family until 1950: even then, on the first stamp (other than common design types) without homo brookus, the image of the trogonoptera brookiana butterfly was larger than that of King George VI.

Changes of Administration

Japanese Occupation
British Military Administration
State of Malaysia
1942 SC-N1 SG-J1
violet o/p
1945 Sc135 SG126
black o/p
1965 Sc228 SG212

Japanes forces landed in North Borneo om 16th December 1941 and attacked Sarawak on 23rd December. Japan administered Brunei, North Borneo, Sarawak and later Labuan as a single entity. Until Q3 1942, Sarawak's own stamps continued to be used but then unoverprinted stamps of Japan and overprinted stamps of Sarawak and the other elements of the combined territory were inroduced.

Following the Japanese surrender, Australian stamps were first used from November 1945, followed by Sarawak stamps overprinted BMA (again, stamps from neighbouring territories were valid). Administration was returned to the Brooke family on 1st April 1946 but after consulting the populus, the territory was ceded to Great Britain and administered as a Crown Colony until it became a member of the Federation of Malaya on 16th September 1963. Local stamps continued to be used for some time after that because of currency and postage rate differences.

Sources: JM1[1], Mink1, ScC, SGP1, YTC.

Images from JM1, ebay

FI ref: 153 Page credit: NB

Page created 26 Jan 2016 Page updated 25 Mar 2016