From bank notes and coins to postage stamps


If you are in Johor Baru this weekend, head to Paradigm Mall where a Bank Note, Coin and Stamps Fair will be held from Friday to Sunday, June 17 to 19, 2022.


Postage stamp to commemorate our nation's
independence day is priced in Cents and Sen

I have a wide collection of coins and foreign currencies – left over from travel abroad – but this is not quite the stuff serious bank note and coin collectors are after.


Serious collectors would be keen on rare commemorative coins in gold or silver issued for special occasions and events that are preserved in mint condition, and come complete with certificates and proof of authenticity.


Or rare bank notes that were unintentionally misprinted which deemed them so special that they became collectors’ items…


While many communities may have gone cashless during the global pandemic, we are still using currency so bank notes and coins are here to stay…


Postage stamp designed with
English and Jawi writing

It may sound strange to this generation of people but there was a time when written correspondence was mainly through the postal system where letters were written, folded into envelopes and postage stamps pasted [at top right corner!] to post them to the addressee.


There was even an era of pen-pals where friendships were developed through letter-writing to people in foreign countries. Some of these friendships even continued into serious cross-cultural relationships.


Then as young people went abroad to further their studies, written correspondence with family and friends at home was through the post.


[Telephone calls were rare because calls were expensive. Each call – that was placed with the help of an international operator – was charged by the minute and due to the different time zones, it was often a challenge to call abroad except when absolutely necessary or in emergencies.]


Johor was then known as Johore

Air-mail correspondence was also expensive because each letter was weighed and charged according to its weight.


Aerograms was the economical answer to frequent air-mail letters because it was a single sheet that was conveniently folded and its edges pasted to seal it before posting.


Aerograms sold at the Post Office often came with a postage stamp printed on it while blank aerograms (blue sheets of thin paper!) from stationery stores needed a postage stamp to be pasted on before posting.


In the UK, some aerograms were produced to commemorate festive seasons like Christmas and in Malaysia, some aerograms were printed with colourful designs to showcase our culture and heritage.


Three First Day Covers
Postage stamps from the era of British Malaya, the Straits Settlements, and the Federation of Malaya when Johor was known as Johore, was priced in the currency of Dollars and Cents.


Interestingly the currency printed on the stamps to commemorate our nation’s independence on 31 August 1957 was both: Cents in English and Sen in Malay.


First Day Covers are the first day issue of a postage stamp on a matching cover or stamped envelope franked on the first day the issue was authorised for use.


These covers made attractive collectibles and collectors would queue up at post offices on the days of its issue to buy the franked copies, not only to add to their own collections but often bought an extra piece to exchange/trade with other collectors.


Another two commemorative
First Day Covers

There was also a time when festive greetings for Christmas, Chinese New Year, Hari Raya and Deepavali, were exchanged among family and friends through the sending and receiving of greeting cards.


The greeting card industry was BIG then and Hallmark became a household name because they produced some of the most beautifully designed cards with meaningful messages printed inside for birthdays, addressed to specific family members, special occasion like Valentine’s Day, graduations, weddings, new babies and even bereavements.


In fact, there were shops opened to sell solely greeting cards and gifts. Now, it was rare to find quality greeting cards or even the Card section in any department store.


As travel and tours became popular, I always bought postcards at destinations to post them home for my collection of postcards and postage stamps.


Postage stamps that featured the iconic P. Ramlee

With the introduction of electronic messaging through email and Short Message Service (SMS) (and now, WhatsApp!) the art of letter-writing, postcard-writing and greeting-card writing, all died a natural death.


At the demise of card and letter writing, postal services were probably reduced to only delivering catalogues, bills and bank statements. But as banks and telephone companies gradually went paperless, there were even no more bills and statements to send.


Postage stamp to commemorate the Diamond
Jubilee of Sultan Sir Ibrahim of Johore

Post Offices nationwide then expanded their range of services to being One-Stop Payment centers for utility bills, Insurance and Vehicle Road Tax renewals, among other services.


If reading this has intrigued you about rare bank notes, coins and postage stamps, then head over to the Bank Note, Coin and Postage Stamps Fair at Paradigm Mall this weekend, to see for yourself and meet collectors who are passionate about their priceless collections.


Paradigm Mall, opened from 10am to 10pm, is situated along Jalan Skudai, Johor Baru and the Fair will be held in the event space on Level One, easily accessible by escalator from the Ground Floor, near Uniqlo.

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