Malaya - Johore State
Sultan Ibrahim Definitive Issues

Watermarked Multiple Rosettes
Updated - March, 2018

Johore State is on the extreme south of the Malay Peninsula near the island of Singapore. Thru a series of treaties, Johore became a semi-independent state under the Straits Settlements. Overprinted stamps of the Straits Settlements were issued beginning in 1878 until they were eventually replaced by stamps with the image of Sultan Abubakar in 1891. Upon the death of the Sultan in 1895, Sultan Ibrahim was crowned as the new Sultan. An initial set of stamps using a portrait of Sultan Ibrahim was issued in 1896. This set was replaced in 1904 with a series of stamps using a newer portrait. This portrait was used until 1941 when the Japanese captured the territory. During this time period, paper with four different watermarks was used to print the stamps, effectively creating four different collectable sets all with the same portrait of Sultan Ibrahim.

The 1910 set was printed on paper watermarked with Multiple Rosettes. Since this was just a new type of paper with the same design as before, you could really call it an evolution rather than a new set of stamps. As new values were needed they were printed on this new version of the paper. You can identify this set by determining the multiple Rosette watermark. Later issues were printed on paper watermarked Multiple Crown CA beginning in 1918, and finally Multiple Script CA beginning in 1922. The 1910 set was printed on chalk coated paper, so if you are having trouble understanding the difference between the papers, this is a good way to figure it out.

If you have trouble determining the watermarks on these stamps, try looking at them face down against black paper. The stamps watermarked with a Singe Rosette will always be centered fairly well on the stamp, and the design does not repeat, so even if you can not see the entire watermark, only one Rosette will be visible. See the images of the four watermarks below for reference. They are shown as they are normally seen from the back.

Initial printings in 1910 were issued on paper watermarked with a sideways watermark. This encompassed three values, the 3c, 4c, and 10c issues. Stamps printed beginning in 1912 used paper watermarked with the upright watermark including later issues of the three values that were previously printed on the sideways watermarked paper. Determining the difference between the upright and sideways watermark can be done by measuring the height and width of the cross in the rosette. The cross is slightly taller than it is wide in the upright watermark. My copies measured about 10mm for the shorter side of the rosette and about 12mm for the taller side.

Unlike modern stamps which are issued in the millions, definitive sets from this time period were issued very conservatively. I do not have the quantity printed, but would be interested in adding this information to this page if a fellow collector provides it.

The catalog numbers are from the 2013 Stanley Gibbons Stamp Catalogue (SG) and the 2011 Scott catalog (ST). The historical details, description and dates are from "The Postage Stamps of the Federated Malay States, Johore, Kedah, Kelantan, Negri Sembilan, Pahang, Perak, Selangor, Straits Settlements, Sungei Ujong, and Trengganu" by Dr. F. E. Wood. You can access the catalogue publishers using the "Links to British Colonial Stamp Sites" at the bottom of this page.

The images were saved in a larger size and at a higher resolution so you can more easily see the details used in sorting them. Please be patient if it takes a few minutes for this page to load.

Single Rosette
Multiple Rosettes
Multiple Crown CA
Multiple Script CA
SG 78 - ST 76
1c Dull Purple &
SG 79 - ST 77
2c Dull Purple &
SG 80 - ST 78
3c Dull Purple &
SG 81 - ST 79
4c Dull Purple &
SG 82 - ST 80
5c Dull Purple &
SG 83 - ST 81
8c Dull Purple &
SG 84 - ST 82
10c Dull Purple &
SG 85 - ST 83
25c Dull Purple &
  SG 86 - ST 84
50c Dull Purple &

SG 87 - ST 85
$1 Green &


This article was written to help you identify your stamps.
Please feel free to ask a question, or include a correction.

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Classic Malaya-Johore Stamps for sale based on the identification from this article.
Index to KGVI Stamp Description Web Sites
Links to British Colonial Stamp Sites