Singapore Philatelic Museum Highlights
Although their usage is now rapidly decreasing, stamps have for centuries been politically iconic as well as an essential part of the postal system. For anyone interested in philately, the study of stamps, or even in the evolution of Singaporean globally networking system, the Singapore Philatelic Museum is a must-see museum in Singapore. This museum details the history of the Singapore postal system and also showcases its several evolutionary and valuable stamps.
Straits Settlements Collections
As Singapore was colonized by the British before attaining its independence in 1965 and, prior to that, was one of the Straits Settlements, the most historic pieces in this museum consist of archival materials from the period of 1819 to 1965. Documents of interest include several essays, specimens, proofs, and rare stamps.
Indian Stamps Collection
The only known cover of Indian Stamps is in this collection. It features the all 4 values of the Indian stamps from 1854, the period of the Straits Settlements, when Singapore was under Indian rule. These are from a time just a little after stamps were initially introduced on mails sent connecting South East Asia to Europe.
Rare Bisect Stamp
One especially interesting display in Singapore Philatelic Museum is that of the rare bisect stamp. In a period from 1855 to 1860, there was a shortage of stamps in certain denominations. To overcome this problem, existing stamps were cut diagonally to increase their overall quantity, making it the first but also the last time that stamps had to be bisected in the Singapore postal system. As you may have guessed, this makes the respective stamps extremely rare and sought after by serious collectors.
A History Beyond Stamps
Apart from stamps in Singapore Philatelic Museum, there are also particularly rare essays: photographic proposals for new designs of stamps. One set of interesting essays are the ones created in the immediate aftermath of the Queen Victoria’s passing, whose head had been used for 60 years by the British. One essay which ended up getting adopted for a stamp features the King Edward VII’s head.
Collection of Historical Proofs
You will also have opportunity to see several historical proofs, trial stamps produced to ensure that the engraver is producing the stamp in the exact design he intended. Proofs are also studied and approved by printers for technical detail, issuing authorities for the design, and archives for record purposes. Proofs are highly sought after by philatelic experts as they are not mass-produced like stamps are and are thus extremely rare. By seeing proofs you can truly experience the process that goes behind the making of certain stamp, some of which are so highly valued today.
Other items of interest in Singapore Philatelic Museum extend to interesting tidbits: you may not have known, for example, that apart from paper, wood has also been used to make stamps.
In a day and age when the postal system itself is becoming increasingly obsolete, come witness the history of what held the world together and what philatelic enthusiasts devote themselves to even today. As always, the souvenir shop promises memorable trinkets to remind you of your learning journey and new insights into history.
Singapore Philatelic Museum
223 B Coleman Street, Singapore 179807
Tel: (+65) 6337 3888
Monday : 1 pm – 7 pm
Tuesday to Sunday : 9 am – 7 pm
$5.00 for Adults
$4.00 for Children (3-12 years)
Free for Children below 3
The museum also has open house days on occasions such as New Years and Christmas.