First Postage Stamps Issued in Singapore

First Postage Stamps Issued in Singapore

Some of the rarest collections of stamps, covers and philatelic materials will be on display at the Singapore Philatelic Museum from 1 September 2017 to 1 January 2018. One of the highlights on showcase is the first set of stamps issued by the Singapore post office on 1 September 1867.

Organised by the Singapore Philatelic Museum and the Association of Singapore Philatelists, the exhibition, titled 150th Anniversary of the First Postage Stamps Issued in Singapore, celebrates the postal milestone of the issuance of Singapore’s first set of postage stamps and highlights the important role of post as a key mode of communication in the past.

Ms Tresnawati Prihadi, General Manager of the Singapore Philatelic Museum, shared that the exhibition will offer visitors insights into how the postal system supported the growth and development of Singapore’s economic and social life in the 19th century. She said, “Traders, shippers, bankers and government officers affixed stamps to their mail and to commercial and official documents. New migrants to Singapore relied on letters to stay in touch with their families back home in Europe, China, India, the Middle East and other parts of Asia.”

In 1867, the Straits Settlements, comprising of Singapore, Penang and Malacca, were transferred from the jurisdiction of the East India Company in India to British rule in London as a Crown Colony. Singapore assumed the seat of government of the Straits Settlements and took charge of its postage affairs. In commemoration of the change of governance, a set of stamps was issued for the first time on 1 September 1867. They were existing Indian stamps used in the Straits Settlements but overprinted with a crown to denote the Crown Colony status. The values were changed from Indian to Straits currency by surcharging with Straits dollars and cents.

Mr Richard Tan, President of the Association of Singapore Philatelists, highlighted the importance of the stamp and how that piece of paper connected Singapore to the rest of the world. On display are rare exhibits from the museum’s collection and that of private collectors. He added, “Over the next four months, visitors to the exhibition shall witness an array of unique stamps and blocks, only known covers and postal marking used on mail sent to all over the world. The postal covers proved that Singapore was already a very significant little dot during the 19th century with international travelers setting foot in our homeland.”

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