Rare collection of Merdeka first day covers

T. N. ALAGESH

KUANTAN: First day covers to commemorate the country’s Independence Day anniversary was once described as rare items among collectors. However, these days, with the Internet playing an indispensable role in the society, collectors could easily surf websites offering the “hot” items and get their hands on the elusive Merdeka anniversary first day covers for the right price. Businessman Kent Koh is one of the avid stamp and first-day cover collectors who could proudly boast the Independence Day anniversary collection, with covers from the first and 25th anniversary were among the items. The father-of-one, who started his collection as a hobby when he was 15, said he was lucky when a collector was willing to sell the item some 10 years ago. The 33-year-old described the two covers which marks the country’s Merdeka anniversary as among the precious ones from his 300-odd first day cover collection.


Kent Koh’s first-day cover collection. Pix by Muhammad Asyraf Sawal

“The first anniversary cover was issued on Aug 31, 1958 with the postage stamp depicts the Merdeka Stadium while the 25th anniversary cover was issued on Aug 31, 1982 with an image of Dataran Merdeka in 1957 and 1982. The other Malaysia-themed covers includes when the Federation of Malaysia was formed in 1963 with a picture of the parliament building. “Nowadays, it is a little difficult to get hold of the first day Merdeka anniversary covers as people will be only interested to strike a deal if they have extra covers and are prepared to exchange or sell them at the right price. “I managed to get mine after negotiating with several collectors,” he said when met at his house here, today. Koh said, the social media has been playing a vital role for enthusiasts to further expand their collections as people with a common interest would normally share details about their respective cover collections.

“In the past, one could secure the Merdeka Day first day covers for a few hundreds of ringgit, but now I noticed that it could fetch thousands of ringgit especially after the change of government during the recent general election. When I speak to the collectors, they describe the Merdeka anniversary collection as vintage and rare. “Although people can now promote the first day covers in their possession online to potential collectors, but those with knowledge on the covers will certainly know what they need and will not simple agree to pay up. “Covers with images of certain previous leaders or special pictures could fetch a high price compared to others,” he said, adding he was prepared to add his Merdeka anniversary collection at a suitable price. He said the price for the country’s Independence Day anniversary first day covers could certainly go up in the future as it would be part of history. This is because, he said, not many people from the current generation seemed to have an interest for such items which are often described as artpieces depicting special times in Malaysia’s history. © New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd