World's smallest perforation - Lin Yangchen
  • World's smallest perforation

©Lin Yangchen

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The coconut definitive holds a little-known world record. In 1949 an updated Singapore series was introduced along with parallel issues for Malacca and Penang, with the world's most closely spaced perforations—900 holes per metre in SI units, or 18 holes every two centimeters in philatelic convention. This was supposedly meant to make the stamps easier to separate, and continued into the Malay state issues, but it never really caught on among the world's stamps. Halewood (2007) described it as 'hideous'. Indeed, perforations are one of the hallmarks of a postage stamp; larger perforations might be perceived as exuding more of its character. Experiments conducted almost a century earlier had supposedly shown that anything finer than 15 was too fine (Easton 1949).

A riot of colour.

A rare pre-printing paper crease, showing ink spread out along the raised right-side fringe due to extra pressure from the printing plate. The stamp is marginally wider than normal. The black wavy lines intersect the white crease in a pleasing overlay of elements of modern art.

A subtle design tweak accompanied the introduction of the tiny perforation: the outer rectangular frame was thinned down to the same weight as the inner frame for some values, a change made universal in the Malay states coconut definitives.


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