My BMA Cover 1946 (Complete Set)

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Description

This is a post-war registered cover franked with complete set of North Borneo stamps overprinted BMA (1945). 18 stamps used on the cover with 1c, 20c and 50c used twice. The cover is addressed to Mr. C.J. Collinson of London from Victoria, Labuan dated "30 AU 46". The registration number is 109, and sent via airmail. The cover itself is, I believe, issued by the Department of the Army Australia. At the back, there is a red wax seal, still intact and preserved. The SG catalogue price off cover for all 15 stamps is £110, on cover the value is £110 X 3 = approx. £330.

History

The Japanese army occupied North Borneo from 1942-1945. In June 1945 the Australian 9th Division landed in Brunei and liberated much of North Borneo before the end of the war. North Borneo was placed under British Military Administration (BMA) until  the British North Borneo Company decided to sell its interests to the British government in July 15, 1946 to become the British crown colony.  

Most Expensive North Borneo Stamps in ebay January 2010

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"Most Interesting, Most Expensive January 2010"

From 1 Jan to 31 Jan 2010, several hundreds North Borneo stamps have been listed in ebay. From this few hundreds of stamps, only several listings managed to fetch more than €100 price. The list below includes listings available internationally and with auction format only. Overall, the cumulative price for the 5 items is $2606. The top 5 most expensive North Borneo stamps are as follows:

Rank
Picture
Description
Remarks
1

$961.00
(€679)

This is a very impressive record breaking price! The stamps are in excellent condition, mint and unhinged. Seller described it as "Extremely Scarce North Borneo 1939 KGVI Pictorial set of (15) stamps (SG 303 - 317) in unmounted mint condition".
Ended 24.01.2010

SG Cat price £900

Seller:
arce12340

South Africa

3 bids
2
                                                                            
$599.00
(€416)

This one stamp comes second with a jaw dropping price of 599 bucks. The stamp is in immaculate condition, MNH. Seller described the stamp as "Mint Never Hinged with original gum. Scarce & Rare !!" 

Ended 07.01.2010

SG Cat price £375

Seller:
stampmalaya

US

1 bid
3

$371.00
(€259)

Next in the list is this lot of North Borneo stamps from a well-known international stamp dealer. This lot contains not only North Borneo stamps but also other Japanese Occ of Malaya and Brunei.
Ended 16.01.10

SG Cat Price (?)

Seller:
nystamps

US

20 bids
4
$360.00
(€251)

Another quality stamp from stampmalaya. The stamp is in pristine condition, well centered, clean crisp condition. Seller described it as "Mint Extremely Light Hinged with original gum. Scarce & Rare !!"
Ended 08.01.2010

SG Cat Price £475

Seller:
stampmalaya

US

5 bids

5
  
$315.10
(€220)

These BMA stamps are relatively easy to get but not the postmark! These North Borneo stamps were used in Brunei post war and bear postmarks from Kuala Belait and the Brunei capital.
Ended 09.01.2010

SG Cat Price £58.55

Seller:
sarawakiana

Malaysia

18 bids

This is for January 2010 list, to see the other list, click the following:
February 2010
March 2010
April 2010

Fake North Borneo Postcards

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Postcard 1


Another junk being offered in the internet. A postcard with monkeys and a stamp depicting another ape - what's more impressive than that? I have no idea as to when this postcard is produced but it seems that this type of colourful postcards are all forgeries. But the immitation is really bad that to refer to it as a "forgery" seems to give some credit to it!

Postcard 2



This postcard appeared in one of the internet auction sites and offered for €10 from a seller in France. Four "North Borneo" stamps with the oval of bars postmark are glued on each corner of the postcard.  Apparently the postmarks do not appear on the postcard, not suprisingly because the postmarks are forged and probably printed at the same time as the stamps. The stamps look very coarse, lack of details in the design and awfully poor colour. Suprisingly, the picture of this postcard also appears in Proud's Postal History of North Borneo but without any description (page 152)!

Postcard 3


This is another postcard that appeared in ebay and ended on 29 Jan 2010. One forged stamp was used and pasted on the lower left corner of the postcard. Again, the postmark appears to suddenly vanish beyond the stamp surface. If you compare this 2 cent stamp to the one on the top postcard, you'll notice that they are actually identical! The Position of the postmark, the angle etc are all identical, which means that they are printed by the same individual. This particular postcard was offered for $49.99 from a seller in Netherlands.

Maintenence in progress

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Silam Postmark (1888-1896)

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This article is no longer maintained. An updated version on Silam Postmark may be found in my new North Borneo stamps site.



History

Silam was a small town in the Eastern part of North Borneo, situated west to Lahad Datu. The BNB company Agricultural Research Station was established around 1884 here. The postmark was used from 24 June 1888 to 14 February 1896.

Blue ink was used from 1888 - 1892, and replaced to red ink from 1892 - 1896. When the government transferred the postal service to Lahad Datu in 1897, the postmark was used from 27 May 1897 to 6 December 1897 (blue ink).

This particular postmark is unique among the other North Borneo postmarks due to the depiction of a lion at the centre, signifying the company's crest. Generally speaking this is one of the most sought after postmark of North Borneo and is considered to be among the rarest.


NoPictureDescription
1

                                                                                                                                                     
This cover bears the rare Silam postmark dated 6 Nov 1897 adressed to Belgium from Lahad Datu. The stamp used is the 10 cents surcharge on $1 (SG 88) consistent with the UPU rate at that time (10 cents). It was auctioned by a German auction house and ended in 19 February 2010. Guess how much it was sold for? €1250!
2


Cover picture taken from Proud's postal history of North Borneo. Shown is a registered cover from Lahad Datu to Château de Fabrègues, France. Franked with 18 cents, 10 cents being the standard postal rate and another 8 cents for registration charge. The stamps are cancelled using the Silam blue seal.
3


Another cover picture from Proud's. This 1888 cover from Silam was sent to UK and franked with 12 cents stamps. Two Silam postmarks were used to cancel the stamps, certainly a cover to behold!
4


1897 envelope registered to Barcelona, bearing 1895 10c. on $1 and 1897 pictorial stamps. All three are clearly tied by blue-ink circular Silam postmark (Type K1). Also Sandakan registration h.s. (Type R3), Lyon to Marseille t.p.o. Ex-Patrick Cassels collection.
5


1897 envelope to USA bearing 1895 10c. on $1 clearly tied by circular intaglio of blue Silam post office mark. Ex-Patrick Cassels collection.

Related Topic
North Borneo Postmarks

This article is no longer maintained. An updated version on Silam Postmark may be found in my new North Borneo stamps site.

Forgeries of 8 Cents Surcharge on 2 cents (1883-1884)

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The Forgery

Due to its high prevalence, I'm trying to put some records of the forgeries of North Borneo SG2 and Scott #5. Genuine stamp of this surcharge is very rare, and we are uncertain if the surcharge of this issue is ever sold. All perforated 14 stamps bearing this surcharge are forgeries. Genuine stamps must have a perforation 12.

In Stanley Gibbons catalogue, it says that a surcharge without a fullstop is considered a forgery but the essential aspect is actually the perforations. Most of the forgeries on this issue if not all, used the later stamp issues of 1886 which has a perf 14. This particular stamp issue appears from time to time in ebay and other online auction sites and it's very sad that buyers pay for such a high price for this piece of junks. Most sellers are also unaware of this and despite knowing the perforation inconsistencies, could not decide further what it really means. Buying this stamp without any certification of authenticity is like buying an Euromillion Jackpot ticket, your chance of winning is 1 in several hundreds millions.

The Cancels

In the early days of North Borneo philatelic study, there is a doubt as to the status of the vertical 8 cents surcharge altogether. Stanley Gibbons catalogue for example stated that "There is a grave doubt as to the authenticity of No. 2" but since the 1978 edition, the statement is omitted. Although a genuine sample of postally used stamp bearing this surcharge is extremely rare, several cancellations may be used:

Oval of 15 bars - Red brown ink
Oval of 16 bars - Black ink
AC mark in oval - Blue ink

Most forged stamps however, have the forged postmark of 13 or 14 bars in black ink.

NoForgeries NoteRemarks
1


An interesting vertical surcharge with red ink bars, possibly 15 bars

Fullstop variety.

However, the perforation is 14, which means that this could be a forgery too

Appeared in online stamp auction in 2009, I can't remember which one it was or how much it sells for.
2

                                                                                         
Perforation 14 rather than 12.

Fullstop variety.

Offered at $500!

Note: I actually emailed the seller about this, but haven't got any reply yet, so I suppose "ignorance is bliss"?
Seller:
(USA)

Ebay Item No:
380033902265

Due to end
24 Feb 2010
3

Notified by Tapiapi on this forged stamp.

Typical Perforated 14 rather than 12

Fullstop variety

Opening bid at
$75.00
(No bid)
Seller:
(Spain)

Ebay Item No:
360321511077

Ended
28 Nov 2010
4


Another forged surcharge of the 8 cents on the 1883 2 cents stamp.

Perforation 14 rather than 12.

Has a fullstop at the end of the surcharge.

Opening bid at
$90.00
(so far 1 bid)
Seller:
(Spain)

Ebay Item No:
360228354118

Ended
31 Jan 2010
5
                                              


This stamp has a perf 14 not 12 and appeared in ebay on Jan 7 2010.



Surcharge with fullstop.



Opening bid at
 $49.99 
 (1 bid)


  
Seller:
(Spain)

Ebay item no: 360223051530

Ended
13 Jan 2010
6
This one also has perf 14 rather than 12.



Surcharge with fullstop.



Appeared in ebay sometime ago with an opening bid of $110. 1 bid.

7
Another example of mint stamp of this issue.

Condition is excellent only to find out that it's actually a forgery too.

Surcharge with a fullstop.
8

Same with perf. 14 but without a fullstop.



13 bars cancel, likely to be a forged Sandakan K1 cancel.
9

Similar to the above example, with perforation 14

No fullstop.



The cancels are very interesting. 3 cancels for one stamp?

Comments are welcomed!

Cancel To Order (CTO) of North Borneo Stamps

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Figure: Parker Cover from Labuan 1905. Oval of bars postmark was used to cancel postally used mail.

What are CTOs?

Cancel to order (CTO) in general refers to a stamp that was marked as used by the postal service despite not being used for postal purposes. Usually, these stamps are then sold to collectors and dealers at a fraction of the face value. The reason for this is that by selling the cancelled stamps, the government can acquire additional income. It's a good solution for selling the remainders of the stamps and at the same time not having to provide the postal service.

Figure: Oval of Bars postmark used as CTO for $25 North Borneo Revenue stamps


What are Stamp Remainders?

Stamp remainders are simply the unsold stamps at a time when they are considered obsolete by the issuing agents (post office). In other words, stamp remainders are the 'expired' stamps. Now, it would be a total waste to dump these stamps because they are still valuable to the stamps collectors. That's why these remainders are usually sold at a fraction of the face values and must bear the CTO mark to avoid being used postally.

Figure: Biggest problem to North Borneo collectors - Forged stamps and CTO cancels

North Borneo CTOs?
In North Borneo postal service, an oval of black bars was used to cancel the remainder stamps from this country up to 1916. However, not all the oval bars postmarks were used to cancel the remainders. In fact they were used both for postal cancellation and remainder cancellation up to 1916. This form of postmark (oval of bars) were used for postal purposes at some post offices up to 1949. Therefore, we may generalise it like this "all the North Borneo CTOs have the oval of bars cancel, but not all of the oval of bars are used for CTO stamps".

Because it is relatively easier to counterfeit the oval of bars postmark, it has been readily targeted by unscrupulous forgers to make easy money. Many forged postmark of this kind are very difficult to distinguish and the best way to spot them is by looking at the stamps themselves. It is amazing to know that actually stamps bearing this type of postmarks sell for much lower prices than the mint version even for the genuine stamps, and you always wonder why is it necessary at all for the counterfeiters to add the extra work to forge the postmark. In ebay, especially the queen issues of Labuan stamps, the forged stamps are usually offered as a block of 4 bearing this postmark. As a general rule, expect that it is a forgery until proven otherwise.

In Stanley Gibbons catalogue, the values of the CTOs are indicated in the third column (up to 1912 stamps issues), usually at a fraction of the postally used and mint values. The Scott catalogue lists the used price (in second column) as the CTOs up to 1912 and indicates that stamps with clear dated postmarks sell for much higher price.

First North Borneo Airmail Postmark

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This article is no longer maintained. An updated version on First North Borneo Airmail may be found in my new North Borneo stamps site.



North Borneo Airmail Postmark (June 1930)

History

These mails were brought by two R.A.F seaplanes on survey or training flights (S1149 and S1419) under the command of Squadron Leader G.E. "Gerry" Livock. The mails that boarded the flights were mainly of souvenir nature, due to the rarity of such flights with the accompanying postmark. Sarawak, Brunei and North Borneo all produced specific airmail postmarks for the flights. The Sarawak postmark being circular with the town name inscribed on the top half and "AIR MAIL" inscription on the lower half. The date is inscribed at the centre. The Brunei airmail postmark is somewhat similar to North Borneo, just without the plane symbol at the centre of the rectangular postmark. The North Borneo postmark incorporates both the plane symbol and the inscription of "AIR MAIL NORTH BORNEO".

The North Borneo airmail postmark was used in the following towns:

Jesselton (2 June - 3 June 1930),
Kudat (4 June- 5 June, 25 June 1930),
Sandakan (9 June and 21 June 1930),
Tawao (13 June - 14 June 1930 ); and
Lahad Datu (18 June 1930).

As the dates imply, the route may have been from Jesselton to Kudat then to Sandakan, to Tawao and to Lahad Datu. From Lahad Datu the plane went to Sandakan and then to Kudat, before returning to Jesselton. That's the route in North Borneo. The two planes actually started their voyage in Singapore in 26 May 1930 to Kuching, Sarawak. From Kuching, the planes flew to Sibu and Miri in 30 May 1930. From Miri they then continued to Kuala Belait and Brunei capital in 1 June 1930. From there the flights then went to Jesselton in 2 June 1930.

Pictures

R.A.F. Southampton Flying Boat S1478


Southampton Flying Boat N225

RAF Seaplane J9060


Airmail Rate

In 1930, the normal surface rate for letters in inland North Borneo and Labuan was 3c for the first ounce and 2c for the next additional ounce. Postcard rate was 2c. For foreign address the rate was 12 c for the first ounce and 10c for each subsequent ounce. Postcard rate was 4c.  To board the RAF seaplanes, an additional charge of 25c is applied for every half ounce of a letter in addition to the normal surface rate. This is not entirely bad, because in return, not only that your mail reach faster, but you will also get a special and rare airmail postmark, specifically designed for the flight. That's why most of the mails that boarded the planes were souvenir covers. In 1933, three seaplanes made similar surveying journeys (S1479, S1420 and S1151), but unfortunately did not carry any mail.

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 Sandakan Airmail Postmark (9 June 1930)

This cover was listed in ebay in 14 February 2010 and ended in 21 February. It is franked with 3 stamps - 1cent, 16 cents and 24 cents; and tied with a clear airmail postmark. The upper part of the cover shows the town and date of postage - Sandakan (9 Jun 1930).Guess how much it went for? $762 or £494!!!

Note that the cover is addressed to H.A. Dabell Esq in wireless station , Tawau. This is quite interesting because a number of airmail covers of North Borneo are sent to this person as the Jesselton and Kudat covers below.
2



Jesselton Airmail Postmark (2 June 1930)

This cover appeared in SSS auction in autumn 2009 bearing the first North Borneo Airmail Postmark dated 2 June 1930. The stamps used in this particular cover is 28 cents rather than the normal 3c per ounce for normal surface mail in inland North Borneo (Nov 1921 rate). Dated 2 June 1930, the earliest possible date for such a service. Sold for £210.

I think the address should have been:
"H.A. Dabell Esq,
C/O A.J. B. Broodbank Esq,
Sandakan, British North Borneo".
I think the collector is Mr. Dabell himself, trying to get the airmail postmark from all five towns of North Borneo.


 

3


                                                                                                                       
Kudat Airmail Postmark (5 June 1930)

This cover was sent from Kudat to Sandakan on the 5th of June 1930. 5 airmail postmarks were used to cancel the set of 13 stamps from 1cent to 25 cents.

4



Tawao Airmail Postmark (14 June 1930)

Very interesting cover franked with British North Borneo 1c, 10c definitives + 20c on 18c surcharged stamp. Tied with boxed "Air Mail/ North Borneo" cancellation depicting the single engine airplane, endorsed in manuscript at upper left, "1st Air Mail/ from N. Borneo" to Scotland; On the reverse shows Tawao 14 Jun 1930 origin postmark, then transit to Sandakan in 20 Jun 1930 and arrives in Jesselton on 25 Jun 1930. Good condition, cancellation ink offset and smears on front and back.

This cover appeared in ebay in 12 Oct 2009. I can't remember exactly how much the winning bid was but I think it's more than $200.
5




Sandakan Airmail Postmark (21 June 1930)

Another nice airmail postmark of Sandakan. The cover is franked with a $1 stamp of 1925-1928 stamp issue, tied neatly with the boxed airmail postmark. The top centre of the cover shows the Sandakan town postmark, dated 21 Jun 1930. The cover was auctioned in the Spink Singapore auction in 25 June 2000. The estimated price was $240 - $300, and sold for $223.

The cover is again addressed to H.A. Dabell Esq, now in Kudat address. It is difficult to establish who Mr. Dabell really was. Nonetheless, there's a good chance  that other airmail covers addressed to H.A. Dabell may exist out there, waiting to be discovered.

6



Sandakan Airmail Postmark (21 June 1930)

A very interesting cover franked with 1c, 3c, 6c, 8c, 10c, 16c, 20 cent on 18c and 24 cents stamps of "Malaya-Borneo Exhibition 1922.". These stamps are tied with the boxed airmail cancellation, and adressed to Kudat. The date of postage is written at the bottom left of the cover as "21-6-1930" and next to it with "By Airmail" inscription. The cover was posted from Sandakan on 21 June 1930 to Kudat. The Malaya-Borneo Exhibition stamps are rarely found on cover, and combined with the airmail postmarks, this got to be one of the rarest airmail covers. It appeared in Argyll Etkin Stamps auction in Sept 24, 2009 with an estimated price of £350-400. The hammer price is unknown.

7




Sandakan Airmail Postmark (9 June 1930)

Cover carried on the First Flight from Sandakan to Tawao. Franked  with 1909-22 4c, 8c and 1925-28 1c, 2c, 3c, 5c, 6c and 10c cancelled by three strikes of boxed "AIR MAIL / NORTH BORNEO", with datestamps of Sandakan and Tawao. Dated 9 June 1930. Appeared in Argyll Etkin Stamps auction in Sept 24, 2009 with estimated price of £250-350. Hammer price is unknown.

Note:

1.Apparently there is a third airmail flight from Jesselton on the 6 June 1949. The second airmail trip in April 1933 did not carry any mail.

2. There are many airmail covers sent to (or collected by) Mr. H.A Dabell as above. His grandson emailed me about who Mr. Dabell was; apparently he was a postmaster general of British North Borneo in the 1930s and retired in 1940. He was presented with silver platter and a certificate as tokens of appreciation for his hard work and dedication from Jesselton telegraphs and post department. It was believed that he was a wireless telegraph officer on merchant ships in the South Atlantic just after the 1st World War and may have intercepted communications which brought him to the attention of the British Government and perhaps he was then offered a posting there. Thanks to Mr. Robert Dabell for the information.

This article is no longer maintained. An updated version on First North Borneo Airmail may be found in my new North Borneo stamps site.

My Japanese Occupation Cover 1944

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Description

This is a Japanese Occupation cover that I recently acquired, dated "2 10 2604" (2 Oct 1944) and adressed to Mr. Paul Leong, Kuching. One of the stamps is from Brunei (SGJ6). Curiously, there is a diagonal line at the end of the overprinted character joining the horizontal line on top of the last 3 characters. Because I'm not very familiar with Brunei stamp, I'm not sure whether this is a common occurence or not. 5 other North Borneo stamps were used (SGJ24, J25, J26, J27 and J46). Collectively, the SG catalogue values for all these stamps off cover is around £157.50. On cover, the value should be much higher.

History

During the Japanese occupation, North Borneo, Sarawak and Brunei were grouped together under one administration and was known as "Kita Borneo". Singapore was referred to as “Syonan-To”.The capital of Kita Borneo was Kuching and was run by a governor by the name of Gun Shirekan Kakka, General Yamawaki. The Japanese army first invaded Labuan in 1 January 1942. On May 16, 1942, the Allied army surrendered and Borneo was put under the Japanese rule. Borneo was later divided into two divisions; the west coast including the interior and Kudat was named Sheikai Shiu and the east coast was called Tokai Shiu. On 10 September 1945, Japanese army surrendered in Labuan.

North Borneo GPO Postmark

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Jesselton GPO Postmark (1933)

[Click to Enlarge]

Description
This is an example of Jesselton GPO postmark that appeared in ebay in Nov 2009 last year. This particular cover was sold for £42. This is an official cachet which was added to post office communications from approximately in 1890s until the outset of world war II (1943). The postmark on top right shows a date of "4 Dec 1933" while the lower left postmark shows the BNB coat of arms in the centre and inscribed * General Post Office * Jesselton B.N.B *. There are only two recorded post office official seals in North Borneo; the Jesselton GPO and Sandakan PO.


Sandakan GPO Postmark (1941)

Description
Another fine example of the post office postmark in North Borneo. The date on top right corner is not very clear but my guess is that it is "18 June 1941". Compared to the Jesselton GPO mark on top, this particular post office postmark has a lot more detail, bigger in size and has a narrower space between the innner and outer rings. Like the one on top, this is a stampless cover with the "OGS" imprint and "Official Paid" mark (30.08.1939 - 18.06.1941). It also bears a red triangle inscibed "Passed for Transmission | North Borneo | 7 ". Sold by a German auctioneer for €85 in 2006.

Sandakan GPO Red Postmark (1891)



Description
1891 (6 Apr.) OHMS envelope "On Money Order Business" to Germany, showing superb large double-ring "post office/Coat of Arms/sandakan" cachet alongside equally fine "sandakan" c.d.s. (Type D4), both in red, the reverse with Singapore (14.4) and Erfurt (9.5) c.d.s.; a rare and most unusual cover. Estimated price: $ 1000 - $1,200.
Note: North Borneo joined the U.P.U. on 1 January 1891. Under U.P.U. regulations letters on Post Office business were free of postage.

Fake Kudat Postmark on ebay: AU 15 1899

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20 January 2010



A full set of stamps bearing the fake Kudat postmark of "KUDAT AU 15 1899 " in ebay, click here. Some of the postmarks are not very clear, but many of the high value stamps show the characteristic postmark, typically strucked right in the centre. The seller is, I believe, a reputable seller (100% feedback). I'm sure he wasn't aware of the fake postmark on the stamps, which highlights one of the biggest problems collectors may face - faked and forged stamps. The seller offers the set for US $199.99. Big price for such a collection! [Seller: roemer_1 ; ebay item no: 160395113675]

4 January 2010


This is an example of the 'famous' fake Kudat postmark: KUDAT AU 15 1899 that I found on ebay while browsing the site. This particular stamp has an 8.5mm length between the two surcharges and is therefore supposed to be SG 126 and Scott 102 which values about US $24 and US $18 respectively. Unfortunately the seller offers it for US $ 44.99 which is 150% more than the Scotts catalogue value and 87% more than the Stanley Gibbons price! Imagine buying this price for the much rarer and high values stamp with 4.5 mm length between the surcharges. In Stanley Gibbons catalogue (2010), this particular postmark is considered to be fake and can be found in virtually all 1899 stamps (i.e. SG 112-126). In E. Proud's book, this is supposed to be the D3 postmark of Kudat even though there is no mention of this particular date as being fake. Nevertheless, it is always useful to be careful and watchful for this kind of trick. [Seller: filateliamk ; ebay item no: 360140667892]

 
"One sees what one knows"