Categories
Stamps

Pond Life Definitives: Reprint Stamps (2011B)

The Pond Life Definitive stamps were released in 2011, featuring pond creatures in their natural habitat. Earlier this year, an additional design for the 1st Local and 2nd Local denominations were introduced.

On 11 July 2011, first reprint stamps for the 20c, 30c and 50c denominations will be made available at philatelic outlets across the island. They include the branches at Change Alley, Changi Airport, Chinatown, Jurong Point, Killiney Road, Singapore Post Centre, Robinson Road, Tanglin, Thomson Road, Toa Payoh Central and Woodlands.

Each stamp will be marked 2011B. These stamps can be purchased individually. For special requests including colour checks, plate numbers and reprint markings (“RP”), a minimum of a block of 4 stamps per denomination must be purchased, subject to the availability of stocks.

In addition, the first reprint of the Pond Life Definitives booklets (2012B) will be made available. At the bottom right corner of the stamp, the “2012B” is printed in black, instead of “2012A” in white. In addition, the “1RP” marking is found at the bottom right corner of the self-adhesive stamp booklet.

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Stamps

Gardens by the Bay (2012)

To commemorate the opening of Singapore’s latest attraction Gardens by the Bay on 29 June 2012, Singapore Post released a set of two $1.10 stamps. The stamps are designed by Mr Eng Siak Loy. He has previously designed a large number of local stamps, including the issue 150 Years of Singapore Botanic Gardens.

Among the three gardens at Gardens by the Bay, Bay South is the largest. Spanning 54 hectares, Bay South will feature the best of tropical horticulture and garden artistry through two contrasting sets of foliage, the Heritage Gardens and the World of Plants. Two cooled conservatories and man-made supertrees ranging from 25 metres to 50 metres in height form the backdrop of Bay South. The 32-hectare Bay East spans 2 kilometre along the Marina Reservoir to link Gardens by the Bay with East Coast Park. The 15-hectare Bay Central will provide access to cultural activities at The Esplanade Theatres on the Bay arts centre.

The new attraction is a short five-minute walk from Bayfront MRT. A free shuttle service operates between Marina Bay MRT station and Gardens by the Bay at ten-minute intervals, from 9 am to 9 pm daily.

Stamp size: 120 mm by 40 mm
Perforation: 13
Sheet content: 10
Designer: Eng Siak Loy

Images and adapted text: Singapore Post

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Stamps

United Nations International Year of Co-operatives (2012)

On 31 May 2012, Singapore Post has released a set of postage stamps to mark the United Nations International Year of Co-operatives (IYC) 2012. These stamps highlights five milestones in the Singapore Co-operative Movement, including Founders of the Co-operative Principles in 1844 ($1.10), Birth of Singapore’s First Co-operative in 1925 ($1.10), Birth of NTUC Co-operatives in 1969 (50 c), Birth of the Singapore National Co-operative Federation in 1980 (1st Local), and Singapore celebrating the International Year of Co-operatives 2012 (1st Local).

On 9 June 2012, President Tony Tan will launch ‘Co-opalicouz’, an event which will attract some 15000 members of the co-operative movement and the general public. The theme for the International Year of Co-operatives is ‘Co-operative Enterprises Build a Better World’.

Denomination: 2 designs of 1st Local, 1 design of 50 c, 2 designs of $1.10
Stamp size: 37.5 mm by 38.2 mm
Perforation: 14.40 x 14.61
Sheet content: 10
Designer: Alynn Teo

Images and adapted text: Singapore Post

Categories
Stamps

New Bishan Post Office

On 14 May 2012, SingPost will open a new post office at Bishan. The new Bishan Post Office is
located at:

51 Bishan Street 13
#01-03
Bishan Community Club
Singapore 579799

Operating hours as follows:

Mondays to Fridays: 9.30am to 6.00pm
Saturdays: 9.30am to 2.00pm
Sundays & Public Holidays: Closed

The new Bishan Post Office will provide a wide range of postal, remittance and agency services. In addition, the 24-hour SAM will also be available at this post office.

The following 5 metal datestamps will also be provided:

BISHAN
BISHAN A
BISHAN B
BISHAN C
BISHAN D

Categories
Banknotes

Distinctively Malaysia: The New Series of Malaysian Banknotes

Bank Negara Malaysia has announced that the new Malaysian banknotes series will be introduced into circulation from 16 July 2012, replacing the current series that has been in circulation for over ten years. Themed ‘Distinctively Malaysia’, the banknotes feature intricate illustrations of the nation’s culture and traditions. In this series, the RM 2 banknote was no longer issued, while a new RM 20 banknote was included in the line-up.

The fourth series of Malaysian banknotes consists of six denominations, including RM 1 (Traditional Pastimes: Wau Bulan), RM 5 (Wildlife: Rhinoceros Hornbill), RM 10 (Flora: Rafflesia Azlanii), RM 20 (Marine Life: Hawksbill, Leatherback Turtle), RM 50 (Agriculture and Technology: Oil Palm, Biotechnology) and RM 100 (Natural Wonders: Mount Kinabalu, Gunung Api Valley).

The obverses of the banknotes retain the portrait of the first Seri Paduka Baginda Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Tuanku Abdul Rahman ibni Tuanku Muhammad. In addition, other common motifs on the banknotes include Malaysia’s national flower (Rosa-sinensis hibiscus) and patterns of traditional songket weaving in the background.

The smaller denominations of banknotes (RM 1, RM 5) are more commonly used in day-to-day transactions and printed on polymer to increase their level of durability. The larger denominations remain printed on paper.

Incorporating modern printing technology and security features, the fourth series of Malaysian banknotes contains a pixel watermark portrait with highlight numeral, as well as the use of micro lens thread and iridescent patch. Existing security features which are retained in the fourth series include perfect registration, multicolour latent image, intaglio printing, microprinting, colour shifting security thread, holographic stripes and UV elements.

Bank Negara Malaysia has also released a commemorative folder containing the fourth series of Malaysian banknotes on 22 December 2011. The complete set, limited to 50,000 sets and priced at RM 300, consists of six banknotes of the same serial number. Currently, low serial numbers – AA0001500 and below – have not been observed, except for AA0000001 which is used throughout BNM’s website. Two smaller folders, one containing the RM 20 banknote (sold for RM 30) and another containing the RM 1 and RM 5 banknotes (sold for RM 15) were also available, with a more generous supply of 500,000 sets.

If you have been to Malaysia in the past few years, you would have already noticed the new RM 50 note in circulation. This banknote was first introduced in December 2007 to commemorate Malaysia’s 50th Anniversary of Independence. The first 50 million pieces (AA0000001 to AE9999999) of the note is overprinted with the logo of the 50th Anniversary of Independence on the reverse, including 20,000 sets sold in a limited edition folder. A number of these overprinted notes continue to exist in circulation alongside those which does not contain the overprint (AF0000001 onwards). The new RM 50 banknotes released in December 2011 have 3-letter prefixes (AAA0000001 to AAA0050000).

Image: Bank Negara Malaysia Website

Categories
Stamps

Wet Markets (2012)

Wet markets are a common sight in many neighbourhoods around Singapore, and is part and parcel of the weekly routine of a number of residents they serve. It is said to meet the basic needs of the community, providing a convenient space for interaction among members of the public. The stallholders would use ice to ensure that the seafood is fresh, and from time to time, clean their stalls with water. Due to the wet floors, these markets are commonly known as wet markets.

Four new stamps featuring common sights in wet markets were released on 18 April 2012.

Back in the 19th century, markets used to comprise loose clusters of vendors and peddlers with their wares spread out neatly on the ground or in baskets. In 1822, a market was constructed near the north end of Market Street, under the order of Sir Stamford Raffles. In the 20th century, more wet markets were developed to house street hawkers.  Many of these markets were integrated with the development of public housing in the 1950s and 1960s, as part of a neighbourhood centre, gathering residents around the area.

Today, there 107 markets cum hawker centres located across Singapore. Over the next decade, 10 more hawker centres will be built, with emphasis on hygiene and cleanliness. Eventually, wet markets will be drier and their existence will be very much a part of history.

Denomination: 4 designs of 80 c
Stamp size: 40 mm by 30 mm
Perforation: 16
Sheet content: 10
Designer: Andrew Tan (Drewscape)

Images and adapted text: Singapore Post

Categories
Coins

Singapore International Coin Fair 2012

The Singapore International Coin Fair 2012 is held at the Sands Expo & Convention Centre at Marina Bay Sands Singapore, from 30 March 2012 to 1 April 2012. Several national mints have set up their booths there, including that of Singapore, Canada, Mexico, North Korea, Thailand and United Kingdom. Of course, a complete set of coins depicting the various sports for the London 2012 Olympics are also available.

A stamp set containing the Year of the Dragon stamps from both China and Singapore is given free to people who register as a member at the Singapore Gold Coins Investment Pte Ltd booth. Registration for the membership is free. Upon registration, one will receive the set of stamps placed in a nicely designed commemorative folder.

Banknote collector Vincent and I headed down to the coin fair this morning, which was not too crowded. One possible reason was that Mavin International holding their auction of world coins and banknotes on the same day, drawing some collectors over. I managed to obtain some banknotes to add to my collection, including the latest 2012 Malaysian banknotes folders.

In addition, we also got hold of the 2003 Vietnamese coin set, which is seldom seen in general circulation these days. The five coins include the denominations of VND 200, 500, 1000, 2000 and 5000.

This year, over 60 dealers and exhibitors have set up booths at the fair. With a number of international dealers and exhibitors at the fair, the variety of coins and banknotes available are definitely higher than what you would find in local shops.

Also on display is the manual coin press machine by the Singapore Mint. This machine requires one to spin the handle with maximum force, leaving a two-sided impression on the metal planchet. This has to be done one coin at a time, and would usually take a few seconds in comparison with up to 800 coins per minute by automated machines today. One can choose to mint their own coin with a purchase from the nearby Singapore Mint retail booth. It is definitely a good experience to mint your own coin! One side of the coin contains the Merlion symbol and the words ‘The Singapore Mint’, while the other side contains an illustration of Marina Bay Sands. Following the fair, this coin press will be displayed at the Singapore Coins and Notes Museum (SCNM) located in Chinatown.

You may probably have seen the advertisement about the event in the local papers. If you have not seen it, entire newsprint pages containing the advertisements are pasted on the wall, near the entrance of the exhibition hall.

Categories
Stamps

Pond Life Definitives 2012

On 12 March 2012, two new stamps featuring the yellow burhead (Limnocharis flava) and water lettuce (Pistia stratiotes) were released by Singapore Post. These two stamps are part of the Pond Life Definitives series.

Pond Life Definitives 2012

The yellow burhead featured on the 1st Local stamp has yellow cup-shaped flowers and grows up to nearly one metre above water. In several Southeast Asian countries, as well as India, the young leaves and stems are traditionally eaten as a vegetable. While its seeds are dispersed by water, water birds and animals, this plant is commonly used to feed pigs and fish.

Shown on the 2nd Local stamp is the water lettuce. It has light green leaves arranged like a lettuce and can grow up to 14 centimetres long. They float on the water surface with its long roots submerges in water, as the leaves have parallel veins, wavy margins and are covered in short hairs that form basket-like structures that trap pockets of air and increase its buoyancy. Rarely, one may see its small, white flowers.

Stamp Size: 30 mm x 27 mm
Perforation: 14 x 14
Printer: Joh Enschede Security Print
Designer: Eric Kong (Design Vizio)

Images by Singapore Post
Text adapted from Singapore Post

Categories
Banknotes

Printing Errors Create Unique and Desirable Banknotes

This is a guest post by Imogen Reed from London, UK. 

Collecting banknotes is a multi-faceted hobby. Not only are banknotes aesthetically attractive, rich in history, and in a world of  balance transfer offers, internet transactions and debit and credit cards, banknotes are becoming a rarity in modern life. Some argue their days are numbered, but there’s no need for the modern notaphilist to worry. With such a rich history and a wide variety of notes from around the world still in existence, there will always be enough banknotes to sate the modern collector.

The great thing about banknote collecting is the richness and variety of the different banknotes around the world, and the surprises that collecting banknotes can throw up. Most people think banknotes are just printed paper, but they couldn’t be more wrong. There’s so much more that goes into a banknote than just paper and ink, and there are so many different ways banknotes are produced. And it is these different production techniques that can generate some unique banknotes – banknotes with errors.

Banknotes with an error on them are even more desirable to many collectors, and often more valuable too. While banknote producers have very strict quality controls that look for any mistakes, normal human error can lead to a few slipping pass the beady eyes of the inspectors. A banknote with some form of error on it can be a highly prized collector’s item, and even a modern note printed with a minor error will be worth far more than its face value, so it’s worth checking even mundane notes for potential signs of a mistake.

Printing

Errors normally occur during the printing process. Banknotes are printed in various ways, and these different methods can throw up different types of errors. Early banknotes were printed using rather crude wooden rollers. These were blocks of wood with parts cut away to produce the image. Because wood is soft and easily splinters, it is common on early banknotes to see missing parts of an image. While few of these early type banknotes exist, and regardless of errors, are highly prized, if you do come across an early wooden rolled note, look at it carefully as it may be more unique than you may think.

Image Source: Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS)

Lithography was the next big step in banknote production. Lithography is the use of chemical to repel oil and water. Banknotes printed using these methods were created by plates covered by an ink repellent liquid. The printer applies the ink with a roller but the liquid on the plates repels it. The most common error caused by lithography is when the printer has failed to line up the roller and plates properly. Sometimes, banknotes produced by lithography have images that slightly leak over the side of the note or are not straight on the paper.

Intaglio engraving is still widely used today. The notes are produced by plates with designs engraved on them. Ink is poured over the plates and then wiped off, leaving ink just in the engraved areas. This often creates a more three-dimensional, embossed appearance and feel to the note and an indented reverse side. Errors are less common in engraved banknotes because the process is more refined. However, the serial numbers often have errors in them, as the numbers have to be changed between the printing of each note. As most banknotes normally have serial numbers on both the front and back, it is not uncommon to find one either missing or not matching.

Security Features

Besides serial numbers, errors can be found in the various other security methods employed on different banknotes. Watermarked paper is the most common security feature besides serial numbers used in banknote production, past and present. A watermark is the adding of a design on the paper, which is only visible when the banknote is held up to the light. As these designs are added after the initial printing process, a potential error is seeing a reverse or upside down watermark. These become highly desirable to collectors and are a great find if you can spot one. Of course, you do need to know the correct way the image should be originally.

The security strip is also another common security feature inserted into banknotes. This is normally inserted when the paper is being produced and cut, and it can go missing in certain cases. It is, however, possible for unscrupulous banknote dealers to remove security strips, but threaded strips can’t be removed and if these are missing the note can be quite a collector’s item. Of course, you need to make sure any banknote without a security strip is not a forgery, which is often the case.

Categories
Stamps

Local Tea Time Snacks (2012)

On 8 February 2012, Singapore Post issued a set of stamps featuring local tea time snacks. Designed by Mr Sherman Lim, the stamps show a colourful illustration of the Lapis Sagu (1st local), Kueh Dadar (50 cents), Bao (80 cents) and Kueh Tutu ($1.10). These snacks are personified and drawn in a cartoonish manner. In Singapore, it is not uncommon to see people enjoying food outside the usual hours of lunch and dinner.

The Lapis Sagu, commonly known as the nine-layered kueh, is made from coconut milk, tapioca flour and boiled with pandan leaves. The rectangular shaped snack is found in a number of confectioneries, and it is definitely something unique to eat it layer by layer.

The Kueh Dadar is a bite-sized coconut pancake. Stir-fried grated coconut flesh and brown sugar are wrapped with a green skin that is made of sifted plain flour with pandan juice.

The Bao is a type of steamed Chinese bun with assorted fillings, including meat, vegetables or paste. There are also different sizes to choose from. Traditionally, it has been a common dish in most Chinese cultures, but now it can be enjoyed at any time of the day.

The Kueh Tutu is a traditional snack which is commonly found in Singapore. A soft outer layer made of rice flour or glutinous rice flour conceals either shredded coconut or ground nuts as its filling. It is often served on pandan leaves and is certainly available at night markets.

Stamp Size: 30 mm x 40 mm
Perforation: 13.33 x 13.33
Printer: Southern Colour Print
Designer: Sherman Lim

Images by Singapore Post
Text adapted from Singapore Post