Monday, May 13, 2013

Is a NAME more than just a name................

Ever had anyone called you by a different name or wrote an article about you and used the wrong name!!

Well, here are Straits banknotes depicting three different signatories whose names were either published or known differently from their actual names, two of them are almost correct whereas the third one is completely different......................

I supposed someone took a look at the signature and deduced that the person's name should be L.M. Lean by the way he signs his name,............... what do you think?

           What about this one? It was deduced and published as Luis Shelley.

Well, both were close but incorrect and "a miss is as good as a mile"!!

In fact, the person/expert(s) responsible for coining these incorrect names should have done some research from the newspaper archives or relevant Straits Settlements documents in the first place, rather than be looked upon as experts, and unwittingly misinformed a lot of people, publishers, auction houses, etc for some forty or more years.

Well, I hope they see this article and refer to Owen Linzmayer and Mike Prizov contributions in The Banknote Book and realized the errors and so correct their catalogs, publications, etc to hopefully re-informed the Straits banknotes collectors and restore rightful ownership of a correct name and acknowledged achievement of a Straits Settlements Officer.

 These are some newspaper clippings from the 1930s that confirms the correct names of these honourable gentlemen whose names were all these many years spelt wrongly.

                                             Singapore Free Press & Mercantile Advertiser article dated 30/09/1937
 .....published as L.M. Lean, should be Lachlan Mclean

                                                                    Singapore Free Press & Mercantile Advertiser article dated 23/4/1931

  published as Luis Shelley, should be Malcolm Bond Shelley

           Now for the 'MOTHER of ALL ERRORS'

           The name published as REX CURALL
Well got to give the 'fella' credit! Signature really looks like Rex Curall..............Right?..... WRONG!!!!!

Guess what................................................................may I present the Hon. Mr "Rex Curall":

                                                               Singapore Free Press & Mercantile Advertiser article dated 20/3/1936

                                     SHOCKING !!
                                        "Alamak"   ;-)

The names: L.M. McLean, Luis Shelley and Rex Curall  can never be found in any official Straits Settlement documents!

This is not all................ the early 1900s banknotes (3 CC signatories type) too have names with numerous spelling errors......oh! what disappointment.......

If you need to know the correct names, etc friend Owen Linzmayer has just published the whole series of the Straits Settlements banknotes which is for sale from his website:

I hope that our esteemed learned banknote experts can concur and correct these glaring mistakes and restore the rightful acknowledgement of Mr Lachlan Lean, Mr Malcolm Bond Shelley and Mr Alexander Sym Small's appointments and invaluable selfless contributions to the government and people of the Straits Settlements era.


  1. Hi Clement,
    Excellent detective work!

    I've always been suspicious of that "Rex Curall" signature. In the 1930s Rex was not a popular name in the UK, except perhaps in Hollywood circles - as in Rex Harrison, the actor. The "Rex" part looked as though it was hiding some combination of initials more typical of a sedate colonial employee of HM Government. Never would have guessed the surname "Small" was hiding behind "Curall" however!

    As for "Luis" Shelley, I always knew that was incorrect. Luis is not a first name in any British colonial country and simply didn't match the surname. Even I could read it as M.B. Shelley. Cudos to you for finding a news article with the full first name!

    Now for "LM Lean", or "LM Leau" as it was (even more shockingly) in Tan's catalogue. I must say it was a surprise to see this deciphered as Lachlan McLean. This is a very typical northern Scots name. Very rarely you come across the surname in the form M' Lean. It's unusual, however, to see the Mc abbreviated to an "M."

    All you need now is to decipher "A.M. Dounting" on the 1925 issued notes, or "A.M. Pountney" according to Tan.... In this case I really don't know which is correct.

    1. Hi,
      According to The Government Gazette dated 13 Feb 1914, Mr Arthur Meek Pountney an Officer Class III of the Civil Service of the Federated Malay States to be Treasurer, Class I of the Civil Service to the Straits Settlements, effective 1 Feb 1914.


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