Looking closer to the Pahang Heritage issue, we tend to wonder if its a coincidence or another one of those famous blunder by POS Malaysia. If you are wondering what I'm talking about, please take a good look at the stamps.

I have to agree they surprisingly look good but a black border is definitely very disturbing. Black border stamps are often associated with "national bereavement" or more commonly called "mourning" stamps. OMG, this is definitely a big blunder if you ask me.

Although this is not a cast in stone rule, I truly believe POS Malaysia and the designer should have avoided this kinda controversies. It will definitely add to the bad rapport POS Malaysia is currently building. Agreed that Pahang's flag is black and white but I'm sure there are millions of ways to reflect them on a stamp; not neccessarily with a black border.

I believe the Sultan himself or the state authorities must have seen the proofs and approved it before it was forwarded to POS for printing. So many parties was involved yet no one noticed? Its rather unbelievable.

Samples of mourning stamps with Black borders:

The Greek 250-drachma-on-3d stamp (Scott 499) shown in the stamp above was issued as a memorial for King George II, who died on April 1, 1947. The stamp was surcharged with a new value and overprinted with black borders. Overprinting existing stamp stocks allowed a quick release of the mourning stamp, just 14 days later on April 15.

Those in mourning used letter paper and envelopes that were edged in black. Some sources say that the width of the borders varied from narrow to broad based upon the closeness of the relationship of the writer to the deceased, the amount of time that has passed, or the importance of the deceased. The cover above illustrates a mourning cover mailed from Chelsea, England, to Yonkers, N.Y., in 1937.

The use of black borders was not restricted to postage stamps. In 1935, Belgium used black borders on semipostal stamps depicting the lovely Queen Astrid. Astrid was a Swedish princess who married Belgium's Crown Prince Leopold in 1926. In 1934, he ascended the throne and Astrid became the queen consort. On Aug. 29, 1935, 29-year-old Queen Astrid died in an automobile accident in the Swiss Alps. Just two months later, on Oct. 31, Belgium issued the 70-centime+5c Queen Astrid semipostal stamp (Scott B174) shown in stamp above. It was the first of a set of eight black-bordered Queen Astrid semipostal stamps.


Firstdaycover said...

Don't take this rule into account, simply because Pos Malaysia doesn't always play with the rule at all.

Anonymous said...

You have a nice blog, i add you in my blog, do the same.

keijo at stampcollectingblog.com said...

Hi Ron,

Excellent post... I recall reading that in many Asian (and African) cultures black color is not associated to death / mourning like in western world. Instead white is the mourning color, and black usually expresses joy of life... I'm not sure how the colors are perceived in Malaysia, but maybe (and just maybe) the stamp designers simply stood up with traditions and neglected the meanings of western world.

ronny said...


LOL... true true

ronny said...

Valter Marques,

Thanks for the compliments. Will add you into my blog too... :)

ronny said...


Thanks for your compliments and its truly an honor to have u here, my dear friend.

I'm not too sure about other Asians but the Chinese definitely associates Black with death. Some even go to the extend to accept black as a taboo or bad luck.

its interesting that some culture actually think of white as the mourning color and vice versa.

However, when it comes to the designer, I definitely believe they should be more conscious of traditions to avoid any miss understanding. They have to understand that they are stamp designers and the stamps they designed is destined to travel the world. What will the world say about the stamp?

If you asked me, I believe its pure negligence. Yes, its sad but its true...

keijo at stampcollectingblog.com said...

Hi Ronny,

"I'm not too sure about other Asians but the Chinese definitely associates Black with death. "

Here's something interesting (but I'm not sure about the accuracy of it):


Obviously the traditional views on colors are changing...

Chen said...

Hi Ron,

I learn from your blog a lot.

In Malaysia, Chinese use dark blue and white in funeral and in Hong Kong they use black and white.

Are there any Asia or South East Asia countries following this mourning stamps rule?

ronny said...


Ooops, Guess I need to really learn the culture. Nevertheless, I guess most Asians have adopted the western culture today. Thanks for the info too.

thanks for the compliments and hope to hear from u more often. Thanks for the info.

On your question, as ive mentioned before this is not a cast in stone thingy. However, the general rule of thumb says that black border means mourning stamps. anyway, u gave me something interesting to study on.. will try to do some research on it. if you have any additional info, kindly share it with all of us.