Thursday, November 16, 2023

Belgian notes pre euro 02d - series 1978

5000 bef

It was in 1982, when a new 5000 belgian francs banknote was issued.
The fourth note in the 1978-1992 series.

On the note, the portrait of the flemish (dutch part of Belgium) poet Guido Gezelle is depicted.
Born and raised in Bruges in 1830, a few months before Belgium declared its independence.

Birth house of Gezelle, now museum

Since the split of 'the Netherlands' in Belgium and The Netherlands in 1830, Dutch was the official language in The Netherlands, but in the 19th century' Belgium, French was considered as the language for the 'educated' and Dutch as the language of the common people.
Gezelle had the unique ability to write poems in his monther tongue, but typically for the Dutch language, it was laced with dialect.
Therefore, the northern Dutch speakers considered his poems at first as 'too Flemish'.
On the other hand, the upcoming liberal political movement, described his poems as too 'religious'.
Because of this writings in Dutch, he is still considered as a father of the Flemish (language) movement.

photograph of Guido Gezelle

Gezelle mainly wrote about nature, friendship, religion and death.
He was rebelous and at times also controversial.
For a while he taught as poetry teacher in Kortrijk (B), where he wrote the poem 'dien Avond en die Rooze' (the Evening and the Rose) for his barely 18 year old pupil Eugeen van Oye.
Because of the controversial way of teaching, he was asked to leave Kortrijk in 1860. He retured to Bruges, where he stayed till 1872, when again his position became disputed.
He returned to Kortrijk, where he worked as a priest till he got ill in 1899.

His most known poem, 'het Schrijverke' (the Writer) from 1857, is not about a real writer, but about an insect, the Gyrinus Substratius (according Gezelle himself : Gryinus Natans).

O krinklende winklende waterding
Met 't zwarte kabotseken aan,
Wat zien ik toch geren uw kopke flink
Al schrijven op 't waterke gaan!
Gij leeft en gij roert en gij loopt zoo snel,
Al zie 'k u noch arrem noch been;
Gij wendt en gij weet uwen weg zoo wel,
Al zie 'k u geen ooge, geen één.
Wat waart, of wat zijt, of wat zult gij zijn?
Verklaar het en zeg het mij, toe!
Wat zijt gij toch, blinkende knopke fijn,
Dat nimmer van schrijven zijt moe?
Gij loopt over 't spegelend water klaar,
En 't water niet méér en verroert
Dan of het een gladdige windtje waar,
Dat stille over 't waterke voert.
O schrijverkes, schrijverkes zegt mij dan, -
Met twintigen zijt gij en meer,
En is er geen een die 't mij zeggen kan: -
Wat schrijft en wat schrijft gij zoo zeer?
Gij schrijft, en 't en staat in het water niet,
Gij schrijft, en 't is uit en 't is weg;
Geen Christen en weet er wat dat bediedt:
Och, schrijverke, zeg het mij, zeg!
Zijn 't visselkes daar ge van schrijven moet?
Zijn 't kruidekes daar ge van schrijft?
Zijn 't keikes of bladtjes of blomkes zoet,
Of 't water, waarop dat ge drijft?
Zijn 't vogelkes, kwietlende klachtgepiep,
Of is 'et het blauwe gewelf,
Dat onder en boven u blinkt, zoo diep,
Of is het u, schrijverken, zelf?
En 't krinklende winklende waterding,
Met 't zwarte kapoteken aan,
Het stelde en het rechtte zijne oorkes flink,
En 't bleef daar een stondeke staan:
‘Wij schrijven.’ zoo sprak het, ‘al krinklen af
Het gene onze Meester, weleer,
Ons makend en leerend, te schrijven gaf,
Eén lesse, niet min nochte meer;
Wij schrijven, en kunt gij die lesse toch
Niet lezen, en zijt gij zoo bot?
Wij schrijven, herschrijven en schrijven nog,
Den heiligen Name van God!’

Guido Gezelle, 1857 

the 'writer' : Gyrinus substratius

The banknote of 5000 belgian franks, is a beautifully designed note, but it was only shortly in use, as it seemed to be an 'easy' note to be falsified.

front side of 5000 belgian francs
Gezelle and stylised view of Bruges

reverse side of 5000 belgian francs
dragon fly, leaf and feather
This series of banknotes also has a 10,000 belgian francs note with king Baldwin and Queen Fabiola.

to be continued...

Wednesday, November 15, 2023

Belgian notes pre euro 02c - series 1978

1000 bef

The third  note in the 1978-1992 series is a 1000 belgian frank note (€ 24.79).
On this note we see the image of André Ernest Modeste Gretry (1741-1813).
At the time of his birth (and death), Belgium was not yet created. He was born in Liège, currently Belgium, but at the era of life and work of Gretry, part of the French empire.
Although he was born in 'Belgium', he spent most of his life in France. He was burried at Père-Lachaise (Paris) but according his last testemony, his heart was returned to Liège.

André Ernest Modeste Gretry

Gretry wrote not less than (comic) operas, of which L'amant Jaloux (the jealous lover), Richard Coeur de Lion (Richard Lionheart), Zémire et Azor (Zémire and Azor), are the most important.
Being a contemporary of Mozart, and working in the same business, was probably not easy.

His first opera, 'the Samnite weddings' (written in 1768, and reviewed in 1776) was no success at all, nevertheless, the great master himself, Mozart, took one aria out of this opera and wrote 8 variations on it.
see: 8 Variations on "Dieu d'amour", K. 352/374c :

The 1000 belgian franc note, with french on the front side this time, shows the composer at a younger age.

1000 belgian francs - 1982 Gretry

At the reverse side we see some tuning forks, and 'views of the inner ear'.
1000 belgian francs back - 1982

The banknote exists with 5 different signature combinations.

to be continued...

Monday, November 13, 2023

Belgian notes pre euro 02b - series 1978

500 bef

The second banknote in the 1978-1992 series of belgian notes, depicts Constantin Meunier.
Meunier started his carreer as painter. At first his mayor topics were religious paintings and drawings.
When he was asked to make some illustrations of the life and work of the labourers in and around the belgian coal mines.
He was quite impressed by the hard work of the workers, in such a way that his art became more realistic. The upcoming social movement, to improve the life of the many workers at the end of the 19th century, brought him back to making sculptures. 

the 'miner' by C. Meunier

On the 500 bef-note, now with French on the front side, and Dutch on the reverse side, we see Constantin Meunier with the mine conveyor tower in his back.
The note exists, just like the 100 bef - note, with 2 different sets of signatures.

500 bef - Meunier - 1978

At the back side of the note, 5 circular ornaments are depicted.

reverse side of 500 bef - 1978

In 1957, a stamp of 3 bef was issued, with Constantin Meunier and Constant Permeke next to each other.
Permeke was the painter on the later 1000 bef note, see : .

1957 - Meunier and Permeke

to be continued...

Sunday, November 12, 2023

Belgian notes pre euro 02a - series 1978

In 1951, King Baldwin became the king of the Belgians, after the adbication of this father Leopold II.
The first set of banknotes during his rule, were printed between 1961 and 1971.
This set will be presented later. The second set under his rule, was introduced in 1978 and stayed in circulation till 1994. (see :

The set starts with a 100 belgian franks note. These notes (and all notes from 100 BEF and above) remain exchangable at the national bank of Belgium. 100 BEF = € 2.48.
Therefore these notes are still expensive to purchase. Unfortunately, the National Bank does not sell the old notes, just accepts them.

100 BEF

1978 - 100 bef (Beyaert)

The architect Hendrik (Henri) Beyaert is depicted on the first note of this series.
As a young man, he started to work in the national bank of Belgium in Kortrijk, the city where he was born. Shortly after, he became an apprentice mason, involved in the construction of the train station of Doornik (Tournai) in Belgium. His skills for designing brought him to study at the Royal Academy of fine Arts in Brussels. He graduated succesfully, and became the architect of the central building of the national bank in Brussels.
The 100 belgian franks note, has text in Dutch on the front of the note, and French on the back of the note.

reverse side of 100 bef - 1978

At the back side of the note, a geometric design is drawn.
There are 2 different signatures possible on the notes:

first set of signatures

second set of signatures

to be continued...

Monday, October 30, 2023

Malaysian stamp history - 03 d Federated Malay States - Selangor

The last of the Federated Malay States, is Selangor.
This is the state that surrounds the capital area of Kuala Lumpur.

State of Selangor

The history of the stamps of Selangor, start also with the ones from the Straits Settlements, overprinted with 'Selangor'.
In 1935, other than the surrounding states, Selangor issues a series of stamps, depicting a mosque and the sultan on the higher values.

1935 Selangor stamps

When in 1938, sultan Sultan Alaeddin Sulaiman Shah Ibni Al-Marhum Raja Musa dies, he is succeeded by sultan Sir Hisamuddin Alam Shah Al-Haj Ibni Almarhum sultan Alaeddin Sulaiman Shah...

Sultan Hisamuddin of Selangor (1898-1960)
In 1941, just before the Japanese occupation, two stamps of the new sultan are issued.
Then first in 1949, a complete set of stamps with sultan Hisamuddin Alam Shah is issued.
The name of 'Selangor' is again written in Javi on this set.

The pictural set of 1957-1961 was issued with 2 different sultans. As sultan Hisamuddin died in 1960, the set of 1957 was partly re-issued, now with the new sultan, Salahuddin.
1957 (left) - 1961 right

For both sets, but also for the series of Negri Sembila, Pahang and Perak, the green 8 ct is the one to search for.

1957 and 1961 set of Selangor

After the formation of Malaysia, only few joint issues with the other states are issued.

1965 Orchid issue of Selangor

to be continued...

Sunday, October 29, 2023

Malaysian stamp history - 03 c Federated Malay States - Pahang

The third state part of the Federate Malay States, is Pahang.

Pahang state in Malaysia

Pahang is located east of Kuala Lumpur, and is the largest state on the western half of Malaysia.
Similar to Perak, the state is a agnatic seniority, with a sultan as head of state.

Pahang has issued two series of stamps, depicting sultan Sultan Abu Bakar Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mu’azzam Shah Ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Abdullah Al-Mu’tassim Billah Shah.

the sultan in 1945

The first set in 1935, with Pahang written in English, the second set in 1950, now with the state's name in Jawi. In the first set, the sultan is depicted frontal, where in the second set we see the sultan looking to the right.

Pahang sultan Abu Bakar 1935

Pahang sultan Abu Bakar 1950

Between 1957 and 1962 the set with landscapes is the last set before the formation of Malaysia.

Also here, the 10 cent stamp comes in two colour shades (dark brown in 1957 and reddish brown in 1961).

In 1971, similar to the other states, a set with butterflies was issued.
Since the sultan died in 1974, a new set was issued, with the new sultan Ahmad Shah.
(The 1c and 6c were not re-issued).

left, sultan Abu Bakar,
right, sultan Ahmad Shah

Now and then Pahang issues new sets together with the other states. On the 1986 stamps, we see some agricultural products. Here the sultan is in full colour.

Pahang agriculture 1986
to be continued..

Saturday, October 28, 2023

Malaysian stamp history - 03 b Federated Malay States - Perak

The second state that was part of the Federated Malaysian States, is Perak.
Perak is the state above Kuala Lumpur.

Perak state in Malaysia
Perak has issued stamps since 1878, these issues were Straits Settlements stamps, overprinted with the name of Perak.

Tigers are the first pictoral stamps of most of the federated states, so also on Perak.

Perak 1892

Perak stamps of 1895

Perak is a sultanat, and power goes from the previous sultan to the eldest male of the bloodline.
This does not always is the son of the sultan, it can be a brother or a nephew, as long as it is the eldest in line. This is called an agnatic seniority.

The first sultan on the stamps of Perak, is Sultan Iskander. He is portrayed on two sets of stamps, one in 1935 and a second one in 1938.
On the first set the sultan is depicted in profile, the second set shows the sultan from the front.

Sultan Iskander 1935 set

Sultan Iskander 1938 stamps

It takes until 1950 before a new set of sultan stamps are issued. This time, sultan Yussuf Izzudin Shah decorates the set of stamps. Now, the name of Perak is written in Jawi. The headwear of the sultan is very remarkable and makes it easy to distinguish from other states.

Perak 1950

some of the 1950 stamps
Between 1957 and 1961 the same set of pictoral stamps as Negeri Sembilan is issued. Here we see an older image of sultan Yussuf Izzudin Shah.

Perak set of 1957-1961
two shades of colour brown and reddish brown

In the years after, similar stamps are issued in all Malaysian states, each time with the name Perak.
to be continued ...

Friday, October 27, 2023

Malaysian stamp history - 03 a Federated Malay States - Negri Sembilan

From 1896 on, Neg(e)ri Sembilan,  Pahang, Perak and Selangor, organised themselfs on a federal base, known as the 'Federated Malay States'.
Only between 1900 and 1935, the issued stamps for all Federated Malay States, bare this common name. Before 1900, and after 1935, each state issued own stamps.
The 'federated' - stamps will be a tpic later on.

First start with Negri Sembilan,

Negri Sembilan in Malaysia

In the western part of Malaysia, under Kuala Lumpur, we find the state of Negri Sembilan.
The state has an elected monarch, chosen by 4 of the Undangs, or local chieftains, entitled to vote.
The undangs (probably derived from the Malay word 'undang-undang' (law)) from Sungei Ujong, Jelebu, Johol and Rembau, can not elect themselves, but choose a male (muslim) descendant of Raja Radin ibni Raja Lenggang, to be the state's leader.
Sungei Ujong, was independent till 1895 and issued stamps on its own. Most of them stamps from the Straits Settlements, with 'Sungei Ujong' overprints...
Since 1895, Sungei Ujong was absorbed by Negri Sembilan.

 Negri Sembilan 1935
As the stamps from 1949 only have the name of the state written in Jawi (an extended form of Arabic script), the stamps can be recongnised by the coat of arms, present on all stamps after 1935.

Negri Sembilan 1949

Negri Sembilan 1957 (brown) and 1961 (reddish brown)

After the formation of Malaysia, in 1963, each of the 9 states kept on issuing their own stamps occasionally. These stamps are similar to all states, but with different state names.
They can be considered as joint issues.

1965 'Orchid' set Negeri Sembilan

to be continued...

Friday, October 20, 2023

Malaysian stamp history - 02 b Straits Settlements

Between 1902 and 1911, roughly speaking, 3 sets of stamps were issued under the reign of King Edward VII (1841-1910).

King Edward VII succeeded his mother, Queen Victoria in 1901.
On stamps of Britain and the colonies, he appears as the 'bald' king. Since the stamps of the later King George V, are similar, it is an easy way to sort them out fastly.

King Eduard VII as prince of Wales

Some similarities with the current prince of Wales are significant:

Prince William of Wales
The first set was issued in 1902, and is similar to the previous Queen Victoria set, 'Seychelles'-style.
The watermark Crown CA is on this set, as one single 'crown'.

Watermark Crown CA
Again it is worth looking for cancellations from each of the Staits Settlements. On the 3p and the 4p above, we see 'Singapore', where on the 8p, the cancel is Penang. 

From 1904 to 1906, a new set of stamps is issued, now with the multiple crown CA.
Some of the stamps in both sets are printed on coloured paper, and the watermark is not always visible.

1904 set
In 1906, the same set is issued, with new colours, extending the set to an astonishing $500.
This high value was only exceptionally postally used, but can be found with fiscal (red) cancels.

1906-11 set

After the death of King Eduard VII, the set was reissued with the portrait of the new king.

To be continued...

Tuesday, October 17, 2023

Malaysian stamp history - 02 a Straits Settlements

The Straits Settlements, in pluaral, is actually not one physical place, but several territories under the same, British post administration.

Originally there were 3 'settlements' : Malacca (Melacca), Penang (Pinang) and Singapore, which also the Christmas Islands, and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands. They were a crown colony from 1867 onwards.
Labuan, a tiny island in front of North Borneo and Brunei, was added to the crown colony in 1896, and became the 4th settlement in 1906.
There is a territory called Dinding, but apart from the Straits Settlements stamps, they never issued their own stamps.

The stamps of the Straits Settlements were in use till 1941 - and overprinted by the British Military Administration after the war.
They kept issuing their own stamps after 1949, this time under their own names.

Map of Malaysia with Straits Settlements
Signapore joined the Malaysian Federation between 1963 and 1965, but became indepentent again, and still is.
Malacca and Penang are part of West Malaysia, Labuan, which belonged to North Borneo (now Saba), is part of East Malaysia.

Although the first stamps with the name "Straits Settlements" were used already in 1867, at first a set of Indian stamps, with overprints in cents, was used at first.
Some Indian stamps with cancels B109 (Malacca), B147 - (Penang) and B172 (Singapore) indicate their use in the Straits Settlements too.

The first series of Queen Victoria come with two different watermarks. The oldest one is the 'crown CC', the later one, the 'crown CA'.

Crown CC and Crown CA
The CC-watermarks are harder to find and thus more expensive too.
Some Victorian stamps with CA watermark

In 1892, the design of the stamps is renewed, and a stamp used in the Seychelles becomes the new base for this set. Therefore the series are called the 'Seycelles-type'.

Straits Settlements 'Seychelles types'

On the top row, we see the 'Singapore' cancel, where on the low below, a 'Penang' cancel was used.
With some luck, the set can be found with cancels of each settlement.

A closer look at two of the above stamps, reveils something extra:

Purple markings on the stamp

Parts of purple markings
These purple markings are placed by banks and companies, to prevent theft.
Also perforations, known as 'perfins' were used for the same purpose.
SS-stamps with perforation

The last set Victorian stamps were issued in 1894 - in diffent colours, and in 1899 with overprints.

last Victorian stamps of Straits Settlements
Mark the 1896 cancel on the 8 cents stamp.

to be continued...