SARAWAK: THE DE LA RUE STORY by Neville Watterson

This, the latest book, entitled ‘Sarawak – the De La Rue story’, is in strong contrast to all other treatises on Sarawak philately and postal history. This book inspired me to write my english essay on it.  

It starts with the story of Thomas De La Rue (1793 – 1866) and his Company, and then describes in detail the typography method which they adopted for the stamps of Sarawak between the years 1888 to 1934.   Both of these will be of interest to the many other students of De La Rue’s printing.

There follows the details of the orders for stamps, both postage and revenue, and the postal stationery, and the invoices submitted by the printer. These details are all given in full and for the first time, and should help to dispose of the queries about the numbers of stamps printed and/or issued.  The supervision of the Crown Agents, commencing in 1898, is also introduced.

There are chapters on the artefacts produced by and for the printer whilst carrying out the orders.   A good sample list of these items is given. There are chapters on the administrative orders and notifications published by the Postmaster-General for postage and of the Treasurer for the application of the Stamp Duty, so that all details including the postage rates are again given in full.

The operations of the Universal Postal Union, with relevant extracts of the Regulations, are recorded, whilst the development of the Universal Key-plate system of De La Rue is traced and detailed.

Other particular philatelic interests are the significance of the watermarks, the perforations and the marginal rules. The Appendix gives the London Times report of Sarawak becoming a British Protectorate, and reproductions of the first and the last orders for postage stamps to De La Rue during the period.

The book is quarto size, (8 ins x 10 ins, or 20.3 cms x 25.4 cms), hardbound, xiv + 293 pages, is copiously illustrated, 66 full pages, complete with maps, bibliography and index. Much of the information and many of the illustrations are shown for the first time. ISBN 0 9514951 5 1.

This book has received the following award:

Glasgow 2000 : Gold “An important publication”

Obtainable from:  W. N. Watterson
449 Wellingborough Road,  Northampton  NN1 4EZ.