Update Note all my 4 copies ( plus 2 mint copies in June 2011 post) of this stamp with P14 has the overprint in more or less the same position on the right side indicating that they belonged to the same sheet of a hundred. They were overprinted in 2 rows of 10 at a time. Three of the stamps are probably from the same 2 rows. The P14.5 stamp has a slightly different position. Is this stamp unique as there is no record of another copy?
Update I have found another copy of the P14.5. It was catalogued but unpriced in last year's SG but we may get a price this year. It should be 2-3x that of the normal.
William Clarke Cowie with the Sultan of Sulu and his court. Also present at the porceedings were Baron Gustav Von Overbeck, William Hood Treacher and William Burges Pryer, though not in the picture, should be somewhere in the background.
For readers who are not familiar with the history of North Borneo, Von Overbeck and his party managed to persuade the Sultan of Brunei to cede the part of NB under his rule towards the end of 1877 . To complete the process and with the help of William Cowie, he met up with the Sultan of Sulu at Jolo a few weeks later in early 1878. The Sultan who has been under constant siege by the spanish was happy to sign away the eastern part of North Borneo for a yearly rent before he loses everything to the spanish.
Update The other European male person in the picture apart from Cowie was Alexander Cook, later to be treasurer general of North Borneo. Some said he might have been responsible for the "AC" cancel on the earliest of North Borneo stamps. Both these two pictures were probably taken a few years later in 1883 in Sandakan during a visit of the Sultan.