Thursday, November 30, 2006

Novelty music CDs in Tin Casings

Not all music CDs are enclosed inside those transparent jewel casings.

A few are packed inside novelty tin casings and they're collector's limited editions.

I'd bought four such novelty CDs in 1998.

They are at lower left: The Savage Young Beatles with Tony Sheridan, 8 songs, 1997 Geko Records, Made in USA; lower right: Roy Orbison, Hits You Remember, 10 songs, 1996 Eclipse Music Group, Made in USA; top left: Marilyn Monroe, Jean's Jacket, 20 songs, 1994 PILZ UK Ltd, Made in EEC; top right: Original Artists, The 60's Funny Days, 16 songs, 1993 PILZ UK Ltd, Made in EEC.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Black Sabbath, Heavy Metal Stuff

Black Sabbath, The Eternal Idol, 8 tracks, Digital Recording, Vertigo Label, 1987 Polygram International, Made in Holland.

Is this cover or picture sleeve a work of art?

Right, simply smear creamy chocolate candy onto two models and pose them as bronze sculptures, and you have yourself an attractive picture for the vinyl record.

These are heavy metal stuff, both sculptures and songs. Rock on!

Dr. Hook, My Collection of Six Vinyl Records

Dr. Hook was formerly known as Dr. Hook and The Medicine Show, a popular band making mostly country and folk songs in the 1970s with a big hit, Sylvia's Mother.

I didn't buy any vinyl record of this pop-group back in the 1970s, and this collection of six records was bought from a friend in the early 1990s.

These records are still very playable and their picture sleeves are nice and neat, very colorful works of art.

Thorens TD-166 Turntable w/Cartridge & Stylus

Thorens TD-166, Made in West Germany. Sold!

Microacoustics cartridge and stylus QDC-1e, Made in USA. Sold!

I am pleased to sell this Thorens turntable and its components to a regular customer who enjoys spinning his vinyl records on this old but reliable turntable that I'd bought in the late 1970s.

Souvenirs from those 78rpm Record-Spinning Days

Three nice items left behind from the good old days of spinning those breakable shellac 78rpm records in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

They are, from right to left, a tiny box of playing needles, a gramophone arm-attachment that you place a needle to play a record, and a cute round brush for cleaning those 78rpm records.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Paperbox without The Byrds music CD

No, it wasn't a mistake that I'd got this paperbox without a music CD inside.

This is the only empty paperbox of a music CD in my collection that I'd got it free in 1996 from a medium-size CD store formerly situated inside Far East Plaza.

Those young guys working inside that store were pretty busy cutting and tearing those paperboxes to get the music CDs, enclosed inside jewel casings, out to display them on the shelves.

I'd asked one of the guys to peel open nicely one end of the paperbox to retrieve The Byrds music CD and pass the empty paperbox to me, and he'd obliged. Maybe I should have asked for a few more paperboxes for free then, but I guess one free stuff was good enough.

Long Paper Boxes of Music Compact Discs

More than 10 years ago, as you might have recalled, most music CDs enclosed in jewel casings were packed into long paper boxes like these, as shown in my photograph.

These boxes are nice and colorful, and they are collector's items of a bygone era.

Nowadays only a handful of CDs come in boxes like these, perhaps the so-called audiophile CDs, I guess.

The Most Stupid 1989 Christmas Card

This is a good for nothing 1989 Christmas greetings card given to any staff at that time who'd bothered to take it home.

I'd seen lots of silly cards like this dumped into waste paper baskets at that time. A real waste of time and money.

Theme Collection, Fish on Stamps, F/U

Attractive stamps showing saltwater fish are a joy to look at, and I am still looking for one showing a sturgeon, though that fish isn't a saltwater fish.

Among those fish, the pomfret and the salmon are very tasty food when they are freshly cooked and eaten right away.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Theme Collection, World Atlas/Maps on Stamps, F/U

Maps are quite often featured on postage stamps.

You may notice that several tiny nation-states like to show off their small territories (or small islands) to let the rest of the world know their whereabout.

Whereabout? Mainly in the middle of vast oceans, I suppose.

Theme Collection, MINING, Postage Stamps, F/U

The Mining Industry.

Gold, tin, petroleum, and yes, whatever precious minerals you can dig out from the surface (and center) of the earth.

This is one of my favorite themes for the collection of postage stamps, although I am not able to find many of such stamps somehow.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Rare Error, Perforation Shifted Up, 1971 Singapore Festivals MS/CTO


AN EXTREMELY RARE FIND. Never Been Seen Before.

Perhaps only one of its kind posted on Yahoo! Auctions Singapore.

Bought from a philatelic shop at Beach Road in 1980, this is a hard-to-find error of the perforation which is shifted up on this piece of miniature sheet.

$10 Portrait 2AB Polymer Banknotes UNC, Over 300 pieces sold!

Over 300 pieces of Choice Uncirculated polymer banknotes bearing this Last Prefix 2AB have been sold to at least 23 fully-satisfied customers.

Full Satisfaction Guaranteed. Always here with you all the way to fulfill your dream to complete your most precious collection, anytime!

1953 Malaya and British Borneo $50 QE 2 Banknote, AU

An Exquisite Exhibition of a Perfect Masterpiece.

This is almost a perfect piece of banknote (As you know, a banknote is just like a piece of work of art) except for a slight fold across the watermark area.

I'd bought this beautiful banknote in 1980 from the cheerful lady (LATEST NEWS: Her husband is still running a numismatic shop all these years since 1970) who had also sold to me one rare Malaya 1940 $10 George VI violet-color EF banknote.

I'd like to do business with her because she'd always allowed me to bargain. I'd remembered her wearing her beautiful lace-covered sarong kebaya and had plenty of gold jewelry all over her body.

By the way, that piece of 1940 $10 banknote had been sold on January 4, 2005, and so had this piece of almost perfect banknote sometime in May this year.

WW2 Banana Banknotes

This stack of paper money is called banana banknotes, not because it's sitting on a bunch of bananas, but because there's a banana tree bearing a huge bunch of bananas printed on the front of each of these banknotes.

It seems that there's an insatiable demand for these banknotes and having sold up to 100 pieces of these banknotes to my customers, ranging from S$1.00 to $2.00 each, they're still asking me for more of these banknotes. I'm saving 5 pieces for myself and I ain't selling any of them so soon.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

USA, 1986 College Cafeteria Coupons

Coupons like these were used as payment for meals at the college cafeteria. The college made it compulsory for all the first-year students (freshies) to buy these coupons.

Toward the last month of the semester, these coupons were selling for half price or less when those freshies were desperately trying to sell their un-used coupons before expiry. That was the right time when I would buy these coupons cheap and had me some nice warm meals in the cafeteria.

1967 Newspaper Clipping used as Bookmark

Here's an interesting and informative newspaper clipping used as a bookmark that I'd found in the mid-1990s while browsing for second-hand (used) books in a bookshop somewhere downtown at Coleman Street. The bookseller had just brought in a few crates of used books from London.

This clipping, running a full length of 60 centimeters, was in fact nicely torn out from a page of The Sunday Times of London, 22 January 1967. It's an article about cryogenics, the medical science of immediately freezing the body upon death and hoping to revive it to life later when miracle science discovers the way to do just that.

Indeed, it's frightening to think about it, but then the closing statement in this clipping exhorts "And why not, indeed? Who wouldn't risk a gamble on Life Eternal now."

Three More Items used as Bookmarks

Here are three more items used as bookmarks that I'd found in the early 1990s while browsing for second-hand (used) books downtown. I think these items were found tucked inside three used books that I'd bought from Romie.

These are nice collectible souvenirs: a printed-in-England card with instructions and contents of a brand of cough syrup (bottom of the photo), a doctor's prescription from a clinic in USA (upper left), and a kind of receipt from a book-binding company (Aha, something to do with books) in Singapore.

Old Train Tickets used as Bookmarks

I like to drop into second-hand (used) bookshops whenever I go downtown. You know train tickets are commonly used by readers as bookmarks, and I'd found three of these interesting items while browsing some used books inside Sultana Bookstore, that was then run by Romie in the 1990s.

I've heard of absent-minded readers who'd conveniently used banknotes as bookmarks but, being a keen paper money collector myself, I don't have any luck yet in finding one so far. I shall definitely post it up here for you to see if I should come across any banknote left behind by any absent-minded reader.

I will show you some other interesting items used as bookmarks that I have found in my 25 years of browsing and buying used books, the last 15 years browsing and buying most of the time from Romie's bookshop.

You can never know some of those weird, if not interesting, stuff readers like to tuck into their books as bookmarks. Have you ever heard of the story about someone who'd found a piece of ham bacon left behind as a bookmark?

Friday, November 24, 2006

Bookmarks from my friend, Romie

12 nice and neat bookmarks given to me by my friend, Romie, who runs a bookshop called Books Galore at Scotts Road.

I've been collecting bookmarks since my early school days and I'd found some nice bookmarks (among other interesting items that I'll show you later) tucked inside some of the many used books bought from Romie, as well as inside several other used books I'd bought from other bookshops.

In all these 15 years that I've been buying used books and magazines from Romie, not even once have I ever asked him for any bookmark that he might have come across from sorting his thousands and thousands of books and magazines. Not until sometime last month, that idea somehow came into my mind when I was drinking coffee with him in his bookshop.

Romie then run through his two drawers of his desk and handed over to me these 12 pieces of nice and neat bookmarks. He told me he'd thrown away several bookmarks throughout those years, and he'll save for me any that he can find from now on.

Books Galore

14 Scotts Road,
Far East Plaza,
Singapore 228213.

Sole Proprietor: Romie (left),
Telephone Numbers: 67328773 and 93852696.

Check out my friend's bookshop selling mostly second-hand (used) books like Fiction (Novels), Non-Fiction (Self-Help, Inspirational, Motivational, Business, Fashion, General), Children's Books, Comics, and Imported Magazines.

Best bookshop downtown selling and renting used books. No regrets walking into Romie's bookshop 'coz I've been buying used books and magazines from Romie since 1991. This is the man who has been selling books since the good old school days at Bras Basah Road. He will gladly answer all your questions about books. Have a nice day.

Expedition Whydah, read by Barry Clifford

Barry Clifford with Paul Perry, Expedition Whydah: The Story of the World's First Excavation of a Pirate Treasure Ship and the Man Who Found Her, New York: Harper Audio, 1999, Audiobook, 2 cassettes, 3 hours.

This audiobook, read by Barry Clifford, was bought from a large bookstore at Orchard Road in 2002. It serves as a complement to the hardback of the same title that I'd bought from Romie in the same year. Nowadays, Romie sells a few used audiobooks in cassettes and audio CDs.

In the early 1990s, I'd bought several audiobooks in the form of cassettes and they're still very playable and their sound quality hasn't deteriorated much. It's fun listening to them once in a while.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

My First Ever DVD Video bought in 2003

Von Ryan's Express, Fox War Classics 2001, NTSC 1, 116 mins., Made in USA.

Bought from a retail store downtown in 2003, this is my first ever DVD and I like this movie very much.

I recall first watching it in Globe cinema at the Great World Amusement Park in the late 1960s when I was a schoolboy.

This is one of my favorite war movies.

My First Ever Video CD bought in 1996

Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark, 1993 Paramount Pictures, King's Video PDV-1013.

This 2-disc Video CD was bought at a relatively high price in 1996 from Amconics Industry P L, a medium size computer store at Funan Center.

It's my very first Video CD ever bought and I'd first played it with a 2-speed Matsushita cdrom drive running on Microsoft Windows 3.1 operating system in a Digitek 486 computer.

The following few months, I'd returned to the same computer store twice to buy Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade to complete my series of three Indiana Jones movies. I still enjoy watching these movies today.

My First Ever CDROM bought in 1995

Lost Treasures of the World, Follgard CD-Visions 1994, Made in Canada.

Bought from Challenger Superstore at Funan Center in 1995, this is my first ever CDROM and it ain't a computer game.

This is serious stuff about those quests for lost, buried or hidden treasures around the world, and it's good reading material for any armchair adventurer like me.

November 23, 2006: The Haze Has Gone!

Looking out from my window this afternoon at about 2:45pm, I can see that the sky is clear and sunny, and just some white clouds up there.

I can see clearly now that the haze is gone and I can certainly see those trees out there at the far side. It's a great day to find some inspiration to write something here.

By the way, a heavy thunderstorm has occurred at about 4:45pm and I guess the rain is good for those trees out there at the far side.

My First Ever Music Compact Disc

The Best of The Tremeloes, 20 songs, 1992 Rhino Records, Made in USA.

This compact disc, enclosed in its jewel casing and sealed inside a long paperbox, was bought in 1995 from a small CD shop previously situated on Level 2 of OUB Center at Raffles Place.

It's my first compact disc ever bought and I'd bought several more compact discs from the same shop for another year or so, many of them sealed inside long paperboxes. These paperboxes are collector's items today and I still keep them in my collection.

That CD shop had closed down two or three years later, perhaps due to the 1997 Asian currency crisis, resulting in the 1998 economic downturn that badly affected its business.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

My First Ever 12-inch/33-rpm LP Vinyl Record

Jethro Tull, Benefit, 10 Tracks, 1970 Reprise Records, Made in Australia.

This is my first ever LP vinyl record and it's still very playable and nicely kept in my collection, although I don't spin those old records anymore.

I won this particular record in 1970 as a prize from a popular music contest of a Sunday radio program, hosted by Mr Bernard Solosa, one of the best radio DJs in Singapore from the late 1960s to early 1980s.

I met Mr Solosa in the office of Cosdel Singapore Private Limited at Lau's Arcadia, East Coast Road, and collected this record personally from him. That was some wonderful experience for a schoolboy like me at that time. Subsequently, I'd won another record a few weeks later and met Mr Solosa for the second time.

Naigai 8mm Movie Sound Projector

This is it! Going back to the good old days of seeing an old jerky 8mm movie in the comfort of your home.

Back in the mid-1970s, I'd got a good friend (a former schoolmate) who'd won this made-in-Japan Naigai 8mm movie sound projector as a prize from a newspaper contest.

He'd borrowed a reel of b/w documentary movie from the British Council and invited me to his home to enjoy a private screening. Man, this friend of mine then handed me this projector as a gift to bring it home!

I didn't screen any movie with this projector since then and kept it in its original carton-box until today. It's some kind of a dinosaur now and I don't know if its mechanism still works. But then, where do you find those old reels of 8mm movies today?

Latest Information: This movie projector has been sold on December 23 to an excellent customer who has traveled a great distance to collect it from my place of residence. Sold!

SBC 1-kilo 999.0 fine Silver Bullion Ingots

Two of the finest silver bullion kilobars ever cast for Swiss Bank Corporation and hand-picked more than 15 years ago from the vault of Credit Suisse Bank at Battery Road.

The photograph on your left shows my third and fourth pieces of silver kilobars that were sold a few months ago.

I'd already sold two other pieces much earlier, the first piece as early as September 2004. I am pleased that all my four customers who'd bought those silver kilobars from me are now enjoying some substantial gain in the intrinsic value of the silver bullion.

Buy Something Precious Today

For your information, the price of silver hit an all-time high of US$50.00 per ounce way back in January 1980. Today, at the price of just US$13.00 per ounce, you have a great opportunity to buy something precious at a huge discount of 75 percent.

Solid Super Rock as Big as a Football

Jasper Quartz, as Big as a Football and Very Heavy. Sold!

One of my customers at Yahoo! Auctions Singapore, who enjoys the Hobby of Kings, has made a great effort in authenticating this big piece of rock as jasper quartz.

I am grateful to him for the information. This helpful customer has bought this solid piece of jasper quartz from me.

By the way, his Hobby of Kings is collecting gold coins.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

A WW2 Story about those British Ammunition Boxes

Here's a WW2 story told to me by an eyewitness many years ago. A few days after the surrender of the Japanese invading troops in 1945, a number of British army officers and scores of ethnic Indian soldiers employed by the British forces moved to a foothill location at Mount Faber. They dug up tens of ammunition boxes (quite the same as the item on display) which were buried deep in the ground. That eyewitness was nearby when he saw a high-ranking British army officer opened and checked those ammunition boxes packed with British sovereign gold coins (each sovereign coin has about a quarter troy ounce of pure gold). All those boxes were lifted up by those soldiers onto a large military truck.

I have read from a book that the British forces might have shifted some of Great Britain's physical gold reserves into Singapore when WW2 broke out in Europe in 1939. Then Singapore was known as Fortress Singapore, and as the British might have thought that it was quite safe to store something precious here, not knowing a few years later that the Japanese invading troops would occupy Singapore. Those gold coins were secretly buried in Singapore for a good period of three years. Just a thought here, but then you may want to think that there might be one or two boxes left behind, still buried somewhere in the ground of that foothill. You'll never know that you might discover some treasure there.

Penang Hill 1975, My Adventure

This old faded color photograph was shot on a fine sunny afternoon in January 1975.

On that day, I rode a cable tramcar up Penang Hill in the morning and soaked in the nice and cool atmosphere on top of this beautiful tourist resort.

Being young and adventurous back then, I'd decided to hike down Penang Hill instead of riding the usual tramcar.

I'd figured out that by starting my journey at around midday and walking along the footpath winding down the slope, I should reach that nice and pleasant Botanic Gardens at the bottom of the hill before sundown. I had a manual Minolta camera with me and that was how I'd managed to shoot several photographs along the way, including this photograph on display here.

I'd never known how many hours it would take to hike along that long footpath, but after more than an hour, I felt thirsty but had no portable drinking water. Miracles do happen if you believe in them, and when I'd wished for something cool to drink, a tiny spring just popped out from the side of a hill slope, very much like a zamzam, a small sprout of cool and clean water to quench my thirst.

Feeling much refreshed after that drink, I could then walked down for another hour and a half to reach civilization at last, indeed before sundown, to find that nice and pleasant Botanic Gardens, and a gentle stream of water flowing by that place.

I'd asked a passerby to shoot a photograph (above) of me wading in that cool stream of water. As you know, water flows down from the top of the hill and it's always found somewhere at the bottom of the hill. As for that zamzam, well, I don't know 'coz I haven't gone back there for the past 30 years.

Best Bookshop Downtown Singapore

14 Scotts Road,
Far East Plaza,
Singapore 228213.

Sole Proprietor: Romie (right),
Telephone Numbers: 67328773 and 93852696.

Check out my friend's bookshop selling mostly used (second-hand) books like Fiction (Novels), Non-Fiction (Self-Help, Inspirational, Motivational, Business, Fashion, General), Children's Books, Comics, and Imported Magazines. Best bookshop downtown selling and renting used books. No regrets walking into Romie's bookshop 'coz I've been buying used books and magazines from Romie since 1991. This is the man who has been selling books since the good old school days at Bras Basah Road. He will gladly answer all your questions about books. Have a nice day.