The Rise of Setemku (Personalised Stamps) First Day Covers

Of late there is a trend of private institutions and schools issuing Personalised Stamps (Setemku) to commemorate their event. This is a far simpler process than having an official stamp issue and the cost is lower to get the stamps out.

However, it is not on the mainstream and the Setemku stamps are costly. These Setemku stamps are then made into First Day Covers with a private cancellation by the said institution or school.

  1. The trend of making Setemku FDCs are not new. However the cancellation offered has been semi-official with the consent of Pos Malaysia. These are used e.g. by the Philatelic Society Malaysia for their events. The earliest was on 12 – 16 September 2007 for the PSM 50 Years of Nationhood Through Philately Exhibition.
  2. The earliest recorded Setemku FDC with private cancellation was on 10 September 2007 for the MAWAR Silver Jubilee Celebration. However, the cancellation (cachet) hardly touches the stamp as it was not postal in nature.
  3. Subsequently Setemkus were used as FDCs for Petaling Jaya City anniversaries and 40 Years of Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia.

A new format of Setemku using a frame was put on sale on 24 March 2017. This format makes the Setemku resemble an official stamp issue.

This was put to good use by the National Art Gallery (Balai Seni Negara) for their 60 years Anniversary to showcase 6 pieces of art on 27 August 2018. The National Art Gallery produced an envelope, a Presentation Pack and a Setemku Sheetlet Folder for the occasion. A special cancellation was also made available to cancel the stamps. Note that this is a private cancel akin to a cachet.

Subsequently a host of other Setemku FDCs are released in quick succession:

  1. 09 September 2018: Chan Wa (Seremban) School Centenary (non-frame old format) – single stamp
  2. 15 September 2018: Chung Hwa (Kota Bharu) School Centenary – 3 stamps
  3. 01 October 2018: 5th Anniversary of the Tan Kah Kee Foundation – 3 stamps
  4. 05 October 2018: The Selangor and Federal Territory Hainan Association (Thean Hou Temple) – 4 stamps

As the release of information is via the institution, it is rather ineffective as the news do not always come to stamp collectors. In addition, some of the information is released in venacular press which further restricts the dissemination. I suppose the news must reach the correct audience. Something marketeers preach about incessantly.

If you have information of upcoming Setemku issues with First Day Covers, do drop me a note EARLIER. I will be keen to publish the news and also acquire a set for records and collection.

Setemku, whilst it is a quick way to “make your own” stamps, is still unaffordable to the mainstream collectors. In addition, the private nature does not encourage traditional collectors to move to this area. It appeals to fund raisers or those connected with the institution. I believe it is at its infancy and is catching on.

Here is a suggestion to those planning to issue Setemku, have the covers and stamps available ahead of the anniversary. This allows the Setemku to be postally cancelled on the day of the event. The private cancellation (cachet) can still be produced to match the event.



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