Rare stamps to go on sale

Rare stamps to go on sale
Ms Tresnawati Prihadi, general manager of SPM standing in front of rare stamp sheets that will go on auction.

Singapore Philatelic Museum will hold its first auction of surplus stamps tomorrow as it starts a campaign to raise funds for its expansion.

With visitor numbers rising over the past decade, it is considering growing beyond its 19th century Coleman Street premises, which house nine small galleries and an atrium exhibition space.

About 139,000 people visited the museum last year, up from 121,000 in 2012, and general manager Tresnawati Prihadi said the space is tight.

"We hope that stamp lovers and collectors will support this event," she said. "The amount raised will help us reach out to a larger audience."

The museum is supported financially by the Government.

Among the items on sale is the rare 1953 Queen Elizabeth II revenue stamp sheet series. These mint-condition stamps, worth $500 each at the time, were printed by British company Da La Rue and used in title deeds by lawyers here in the 1950s, but were never purchased in full sheets because of the cost. They were therefore issued in very small quantities.

Some 13 sheets of 50 stamps each will go on sale, with a starting bid of $12,000, at the Hilton Singapore hotel from 10am tomorrow. A preview of the stamps will take place today at the same venue.

The auction is being held in collaboration with auction house Spink. About 50 to 60 stamp collectors are expected to attend, and phone and Internet bids will also be accepted.

Other stamps on sale include the 1955 Queen Elizabeth II definitive stamps, overprinted with the words "Postal Training School". They were used for staff training at the Postal Services Department Singapore - the predecessor of Singapore Post.

Despite a $1,000 starting bid for the stamp sheets, they are expected to be a hit with the estimated 20,000 stamp collectors here.

A cultural-themed 1968 series, featuring masks, different Singaporean ethnic dance forms and musical instruments from post-independent Singapore, is also expected to start selling from $1,200.

Dr Chua Eu Tiong, president of the Singapore Stamp Club and the museum's board director, said collectors will "love to do a comprehensive study of the stamp sheets and panes".

He added: "As these are the only surplus stamps put on sale, it is really a very rare opportunity for collectors to acquire (them)."

Meanwhile, Mr Seow Shin Horng, 38, who works in the banking industry, said he is prepared to part with up to $18,000 for the 1953 Queen Elizabeth II revenue stamps. "I believe many stamp collectors will be more than willing to spend more at the auction to help fund the museum's expansion efforts, as it has grown to be an important educational tool for younger generations," he said.

This article was first published on Sep 19, 2014.
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