Putting a stamp on history

Daniel Lim

The usage of stamps particularly during the golden era of physical mails led to the creation of limited editions stamps to commemorate important occasions.

While the field of philately or the study, collection and appreciation of stamps still exist, it is slowly declining as younger generations rely on modern technologies to communicate.

However, there are people who are still pursuing this hobby, collecting rare stamps and showcasing their collections.

Village Head of Kampong Mumong Haji Mohd Yusof bin Haji Dulamin started collecting stamps when he was 12 years old. Sharing his appreciation, he said, “I started collecting stamps as a hobby with friends at school through the Pen Pal programme, where we kept the stamps that were attached to the letters.

“I actually bought my first stamp after I started working in Kuala Belait as a Financial Officer. It was a 12 cent stamp. The office where I worked was located near the post office. It was then I started to take my hobby seriously.”

Some of the rare and vintage stamps collected by Haji Mohd Yusof bin Haji Dulamin. PHOTOS: DANIEL LIM
Haji Mohd Yusof shows his stamp collection

He said some of his collection include a locally printed stamp that commemorated the opening of the Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Mosque in 1958; stamps made of gold; and one that commemorated the Public Housing Achievement made in the Republic of Singapore in 1985 (only 8,000 units were produced).

His most cherished collection is the stamps with the portrait of the Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Muhammad Jamalul Alam, which includes denominations of 1c, 2c, 5c, 10c, 20c, and 50c. “I appreciate the intricate design and knowing the value and the history behind these stamps, I can pass it down to my children and grandchildren for them to appreciate,” he added.

Haji Mohd Yusof hopes that the next generation will continue to appreciate the value of stamps, especially with the efforts made by the Museums Department and Postal Services Department to preserve these small but richly packed historical items.

“Collecting stamps is a way to preserve history, especially those that are made to commemorate important occasions.

“It would also be nice to have galleries set up at post offices or museums. It can help to showcase the history behind the stamps and what occasions it marked. It can also help instil interest among the youth to start their own collection.”