Today in Postal History


Straits Settlements (Paquebot) to Denmark
March 7, 1913

This picture postcard entered the mails in Singapore as mail from a ship traveling from Sarawak.

The card is datelined Goebilt which is on the coast 10 miles north-east of Kuching.
A mail service is known there between 1910 and 1928.
Most mail from Goebilt was sent by Ha Buey Hon but the initials on the postcard are obviously not his.

The card was given a single double ring CDS and marked PAQUEBOT.
It subsequently was given a transit mark in Penang on March 8.
The stamps are from the Sarawak 1899-1908 key-plate issue portraying Sir Charles J. Brooke.
There is a 1c grey-blue and rosine issued in 1901 (SG 36) and a 3c dull purple issued in 1908 (SG 38).
4c was the prevailing rate to all countries.*

Sarawak is on the northwestern side of Borneo.
Sarawak was placed under British Protection in 1888 and ceded to Great Britain in 1946.
It was administered as a Crown Colony until 1963 when it became a state of the Federation of Malaysia.

The destination was Helsingôr, Denmark, which is about 40 km north of Copenhagen.
It is at the closest approach of Denmark to Sweden.
There are no arrival markings.
There is pencil docketting which suggests that it might have
arrived on April 21 although the year date is probably a year off.
Its recipient was a Catholic priest.**

The illustration appears to be a typical choice for the world travelers of the early 20th century.
Native villages were often chosen as that is what they went to see.

The message suggests that this was sent to a philatelist.
Surprisingly to me, the message is in English.
I would have expected Danish although English is the language of Sarawak.
I have been subsequently told that the
greeting, at the bottom,
is in Danish "mange hjertelige hilsener" (Many kindest regards).

*Thanks to Paul for his corrections (sorry) and wonderful supplemental information.
** Thanks, too, to Knud-Erik for his added information.


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