7 Beautiful Logos and Symbols of North Borneo that are Almost Lost and Forgotten

North Borneo’s rich history and heritage can be reflected on these beautiful logos and symbols that were once part of the people’s lives.

North Borneo’s history goes a long way back and all of the different symbols and logos used below were from the early days of the colonial era until the formation of Malaysia.

1. ‘Jesselton’ North Borneo Railway Sign

This signage was used in all stops and stations in Sabah before and just after World War II. The design was inspired from the iconic London Transport logo.

The Chinese characters shown on the sign is read ‘Ya Bi’ which was the Chinese name of Jesselton that was used by the local Chinese community. Arabic characters were also used to identify Jesselton on the signage.

[Order online / COD here]

2. North Borneo State Cigar Syndicate Ltd.

The fact that Borneo is the only portion of the wide British Empire which produces tobacco capable of being made into cigars.

North Borneo tobacco which was once planted in Darvel Bay near Lahad Datu and Marudu Bay in the North, unlike Sumatra, possesses a flavour and aroma of its own, which is found nowhere else outside Cuba.

North Borneo State Cigar Syndicate Ltd. was the company responsible in planting tobacco leaves and producing one of the finest cigars in the world before the decline during World War I.

A sample of the box is shown in the photo above that was produced in c. 1910.

[Order online / COD here]

3. Colony of North Borneo

After the end of the World War II, North Borneo was administered by the British Military Administration and in 1946 it became a British Crown Colony.

The Crown Colony of Labuan joined the new Crown Colony during its formation.

This emblem was used on the passports of the citizens of North Borneo up to the formation of Malaysia in 1963.

[Order online / COD here]

4. Silam Post Office North Borneo Post Mark

Silam is a small town in the Eastern part of North Borneo. Situated west to Lahad Datu, early British settlement and administration in Silam was recorded around 1881.

The place came into existence as an experimental garden in 1881 whereby tobacco grew very well in the area.

This particular postmark is unique among the other North Borneo postmarks due to the depiction of a lion at the centre, signifying the company’s crest. It is one of the rarest and most beautiful post marks.

[Order online / COD here]

5. North Borneo Air Mail Stamp 

This is my personal favourite.

The first North Borneo air mails were carried by two R.A.F seaplanes on survey or training flights under the command of Squadron Leader G.E. “Gerry” Livock.

Because of the rarity of such flights in those days, mails that boarded the planes are mainly of souvenir and philatelic nature.

Sarawak, Brunei and North Borneo all produced specific airmail postmarks for the special and rare occasion.

The North Borneo air mail postmark was used in Jesselton, Kudat, Sandakan, Tawao and Lahad Datu in 1930’s.

[Order online / COD here]

6. British North Borneo $5 Stamp 1888-89

The stamp collection from North Borneo is definitely one of the most sought after collections in the world.

The North Borneo Company issued stamps from 1883.

The issues before WWII bear the country name in Arabic, Chinese and English – the country name being ‘North Borneo’, ‘British North Borneo’, ‘The State of North Borneo’ or ‘The State of North Borneo, British Protectorate’.

The ‘British North Borneo’ version was issued in circa. 1888-1890.

[Order online / COD here]

7. North Borneo Coat of Arms

The first arms of North Borneo were granted on July 21, 1882 and were granted to the British North Borneo Company.

The two arms in the crest symbolize the European and native populations.

The company motto “PERGO ET PERAGO” in Latin means “I undertake and I accomplish.”

[Order online / COD here]

Your purchase will help support our plan to access and research historical records at the archives and museums in the UK later this year.

There are many more logos, emblems and symbols from the colonial and pre-war days. I hope that the followers of North Borneo Historical Society are able to appreciate these.

In order to preserve these heritage we are making them available on limited edition T-shirts which you can order here (COD available).

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Richard Ker

I love the history of North Borneo (Sabah) and strive to digitally archive any related information on this website. Follow me on Twitter @richardker.

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