Published on 2 September 2017

A block of twelve unused 8-anna stamps featuring Queen Victoria. It was considered a high-value stamp - Photo: Singapore Philatelic Museum

Singapore Philatelic Museum’s latest exhibition “150th Anniversary of the First Postage Stamps Issued in Singapore” presents a series of rare 19th-century stamp collections.


To commemorate the 150th anniversary of the first postage stamps issued in Singapore, the Singapore Philatelic Museum (SPM) will be showcasing some of the rarest collections of stamps and other philatelic materials from that period.

This SPM exhibition, which is jointly organised with the Association of Singapore Philatelists, shows how the postal system was an integral part of life in 19th-century Singapore. New migrants kept in touch with their families in other parts of the world through letters, while the government and commercial enterprises affixed stamps when mailing out commercial and official documents.

“This exhibition offers an important insight into Singapore’s postal history, as well as that of our history as part of the Straits Settlements,” says Ms Tresnawati Prihadi, General Manager of SPM.

“150th Anniversary of the First Postage Stamps Issued in Singapore” will take place over a period of four months, and each month will feature different award-winning collections of Straits Settlements philatelic material. The exhibits come from SPM’s collection and that of private collectors, some of whom are world-renowned philatelists.

Here are some interesting artefacts that caught our eye:

The One with the Wrong Year

Singapore – Early Social History & Philately. Photo: Koh Seow Chuan

A cover, dated 1 September 1867, sent from Singapore to Switzerland. This is from the Mr Koh Seow Chuan collection. It has the first day release of the provisional issue of stamps – Indian stamps overprinted with a crown (to indicate Singapore as a Crown Colony). The back of the cover has a Singapore date stamp that has an error in the year – 1866 (instead of 1867). This error adds to the rarity of the cover. This artefact will be displayed from 1 September to 1 October 2017.

An Orchid Postcard

Queen Victoria Postal Stationery. Photo: Dr Chua Eu Tiong

Here is an example of Queen Victoria Postal Stationery from the Dr Chua Eu Tiong Collection This postcard, which features stylised images of the orchid flower, was sent from Singapore to Germany in 1898.  Such illustrated cards were meant to promote Singapore, and it’s interesting to see it captioned “Greetings from Singapore”. This artefact will be displayed from 29 October to 3 December 2017.

From the Raffles Hotel

Straits Settlements – Singapore Hotel Postal History & Singapore Picture Postcards. Photo: Wong Han Min

This is a postal stationery card from the Mr Wong Han Ming Collection. It was sent out from Raffles Hotel to Malang Indonesia in 1894. The card bears a Raffles Hotel cachet (seal) that was used only on mail sent out by hotel guests. The postcard is the only known item with this special hotel seal. This artefact will be displayed from 29 October to 3 December 2017.

SingPost will also launch a new commemorative stamp issue on the same theme. This special stamp set can be purchased from their online store.

“150th Anniversary of the First Postage Stamps Issued in Singapore” will be at the Singapore Philatelic Museum at Coleman Street from 1 September 2017 to 1 January 2018. Click here for more information.

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