The Additional Cent

It appears that a well-known securities and investment company in Singapore has decided to add one additional cent of postage to the mail it sent out. A rare sight – the numerals ‘0033’ has been imprinted onto an envelope dated 28 February 2011 in red ink.

Currently, standard mail up to the weight of 40 grams costs 32 cents when posted to a local address. Therefore, the 33 cent impression was probably an error made during the franking process, unless Singapore Post recently (or secretly) introduced a new premium of one additional cent for franked mail. However, I would say that the latter is an unlikely scenario. There was no justification for SingPost to do so, especially since the use of franked mail reduced the need to print stamps and subsequently process stamped mail.

Major establishments often opt for the more convenient franked mail over postage stamps, especially when they regularly send out large quantities of mail in assorted sizes and weights. The franking machine prints the value of the postage on the envelope and records each impression in its log.

According to SingPost’s website, the franking machine ‘allows (the user) to maintain accurate and up-to-date postage records and it prints any value of postage required’. It certainly does – 33 cents is indeed an odd value. As far as I know, certain franking machines have built-in weighing features, while others require a manual adjustment of the postage required. The older franking machines involved adjustments similar to a new day on your typical rubber date stamp.

While it seems that one cent is a small amount and that the error is insignificant, it could have cost the company much more. If this happened to be part of a bulk-mailing spree extended to the entire clientele, a huge amount – thousands of dollars – would have been incurred by this securities and investment company. As this may just be an isolated case, investors should carefully attune their confidence level in the company at their own discretion.

Revenue Stamps

This morning, I chanced upon this Singapore 10-cent revenue stamp while looking through my old collection. A revenue stamp is often used to collect taxes on documents and licences. Businesses would purchase these stamps from the government, and stick them onto the document, such as contracts and agreements which can be tendered in court. Documents which are unstamped may therefore be deemed invalid by the government.

To prevent the reuse of such revenue stamps, they would then be cancelled, often using a simple pen stroke, using an inked stamp, or punching a hole. Higher denominations may include security features due to their high value, in order to prevent counterfeiting.

In Singapore, stamp duty is often imposed on documents relating to properties and shares by the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore, more commonly known as IRAS. Today, electronic stamping has replaced these physical stamps in most countries, including Singapore.

It seems that there is not much information on Singapore’s revenue stamps online. If you would like to discuss more about these revenue stamps or would like to share pictures of your revenue stamp collection, feel free to leave your comment below.

And lastly, if you have not e-filed your income tax, remember to do so at the IRAS website by 18 April!

Pond Life Definitives 2011

On 13 April 2011, Singapore Post released the low value definitive stamps for the ‘Pond Life’ series. This series aims to showcase the detailed and vivid images of various pond creatures, which is said to ‘give a glimpse beneath the water’s surface of life on a pond’. There are a total of ten denominations in today’s stamp issue.

Two plants – the water lily and water hyacinth – were featured on the 1st Local and 2nd Local denominations respectively. The water lily has round leaves and fragrant flowers that lasted only for a few days, while the water hyacinth with lavender to pink coloured flowers with six petals is often found in water catchment areas.

Other creatures featured include the white-collared kingfisher (5c), diving beetle (20c), common redbolt (30c), ornate coraltail (45c), black marsh terrapin (50c), white-breasted waterhen (55c), common greenback (65c) and common toad (80c).

This issue was designed by Eric Kong, and was printed by rotogravure. If you were to pick up these stamps, you would find that the drawings of the flowers and animals printed on them are coated with a shiny coat of reflective ink. For this issue, note the slight variation in the perforation at the top and bottom edges.

One design defect would be that the denomination is printed in a small fanciful font at the bottom corner of the stamp, which may unintentionally inconvenience users. I might say that the value of the stamp is rather tiny and unobvious, especially when it is white in colour. If you happen to get hold of one of these stamps sometime soon, do take a look. The mark for the first issue ‘2011A’ is printed in black, at the bottom right corner of the stamp. Now that’s even smaller, collectors may soon be using a magnifying lens to detect any new reprints.

Two months back on 16 February, a set of high-value definitive stamps on Pond Life were released. They include the common tilapia ($1.10), pond wolf spider ($2), water skaters ($5) and water scorpion ($10).

2XU Compression Run 2011

The 2XU Compression Run 2011 was held on 10 April in Singapore’s Central Business District. The 12-kilometre run brought participants to places such as the Esplanade and Marina Bay Sands. The race was flagged off at the F1 track next to the Singapore Flyer at 6:55 am.

Participants first headed north towards Republic Avenue and into Kallang Road, making a turn into Kallang Riverside Park at the 3-kilometre mark and back to the Singapore Flyer. Up next was a right turn to the Floating Platform and subsequently the Esplanade. Yes, the bright red Merlion Hotel was also spotted along the route. This is followed by a left turn into Marina Boulevard and towards the Marina Bay Sands integrated resort.

Before realising it, there was a flight of steps ahead leading up to the Helix Bridge. At the 10-kilometre mark under the Helix Bridge, participants were running in both directions along a narrow path – and with a number of them cutting across to the other lane – for an entire kilometre. This left many runners on the return route to run across a rough path filled with pebbles. The race officials should have used barricades instead of orange cones.

There were a total of six water points along the route. Despite the slight drizzle midway through the run, participants continued running towards the finish point, which was at the Singapore Flyer. My timing for this run was approximately 1:01.