2020 News

Text Box: Henley and District Philatelic Society

Virtual Meeting

9 December 2020

The nominal theme for this third on-line meeting was celebrations, although other subjects of intricate interest were also displayed.

Truly celebratory were six 21st century annual sets of stamps depicting festivals in Argentina. These took place in many different Argentine cities and covered a wide range of themes from food and drink (apple, oranges, lemons, cherries, grapes, beer, trout) through students, foreign communities and traditions, to steam trains and petroleum.

Somewhat related to celebrations – including Christmas - was a Phantasmagoria of philately. This started with greetings cards issued by De la Rue in 1873 with chromolithographic pictures of Victorian scenes and extended up to the GB 1990 greetings stamp series depicting smiles – on the faces, for example, of the Cheshire Cat, the Mona Lisa, the laughing policeman and Dennis the Menace. In between were early 20th century greetings featuring rural courtship and the battle cruiser which was later vice-admiral Beatty’s flagship in the Great War.

Early West Indian postal cards were those issued in British colonial islands as or soon after each one joined and complied with the rules of the Universal Postal Union. First were Jamaican postcards of 1877, next Trinidad and then other islands such as Dominica, but Grenada not until 1882. The embossed stamps on this prepaid stationery were issued in up to three values from 1/2d to 2d, for example for postage within each island or for up to 300 miles to other islands. Then in about 1887 the Leeward Islands as a whole was the regional member of UPU. For pre-paid postcards, the islands adopted a common uniform key plate.

New Zealand copyright royalty stamps were also an unusual and comparatively short-term feature by which authors, artists or other copyright owners retrieved their royalties. Amounts due were recorded by stamps attached by the sellers to the product such as a book. The individual stamp values of examples shown from around 1913 were of a small amount such as 11/3d but could obviously add up to a tidy sum if many copies were sold.

GB King George V Downey heads was a subject introduced in the previous meeting. The display was now completed by showing blown-up enlargements of the stamps and details explaining both the difference between Dies I and II and some of the errors or other variations that occurred in production. Finally, a page was shown illustrating the full replacement set with values from 1/2d to 1/- which supplemented and then replaced the Downey 1d and 2d stamps. The latter (1912-1924) design was the work of Mackennel (heads) and Eve (frames). 

Virtual Meeting

25 November 2020

This second Zoom meeting, again hosted by Simon Richards, was attended remotely by about ten, possibly a dozen, participating members sitting at home in front of their computers.

Simon himself kicked off with a display of Fun with Forgeries, mostly concerning early Dominican stamps such as complete sheets of Victorian 3d, 6d and 1/- stamps. Forgeries vary in the heinousness of their execution, some just produced for amusement, some in massive sheets on sale as ‘space fillers’ for ordinary collectors, some serious fraud ending in imprisonment for faking rare material. Types of forgery included
complete unauthorized production of sheets of stamps, often detectable by faulty colouring, detail, or general quality;
date-stamp cancellation forgeries, some to fake First Day Covers, many to make mint stamps look used – some even applied on colonial stamps soon after printing in London and then sold without ever reaching the colony;
overprint forgeries: often detectable only by the quality of the letters or numbers; or – in the case of Dominica 1874 1/2d on 1d bisects – applied before rather than after bisection;
playfulness in mixing new combinations of key plates and duty plates; for example, by transposing Queen Elizabeth II onto a design intended for King George VI; or different combinations of the ‘medallions’ on colonial George V issues; several variations were produced on a single sheet;

Among contributions by other members were
De La Rue printings of Sarawak stamps;
an application for a Captaincy by a Lieutenant Philip Brown in 1745 after a battle at a place between Brussels and Lisle during the War of the Austrian Succession; he sold his lieutenancy for £1,800 but had to pay £3,100 for his captaincy; these were enormous sums in those days in what was to become an illegal trade in military ranks;
the rather poor ‘Dorney heads’ - the first GB George V definitives, produced in a rush by Harrison & Sons who were chosen finally – to save costs - against other competing printers’ proposals; the company had a reputation for fuzzy productions and they used an engraver (J.A.C. Harrison, no relation) not familiar with the process used;
Argentine stamps showing Diego Maradona who died, aged 60, today;
a letter from a Mrs Brown whose husband General Brown whose troops were proceeding up the Nile in an attempt to relieve General Gordon at Khartoum;
designs of lines on the margins of sheets, intended to protect the process and the stamp quality from the forcefulness of a particular printing process.

Material which we missed on this occasion, due to unfamiliarity with Zoom procedures, included Royalty stamps of New Zealand and more George V GB stamps. We hope to see these at future meetings.

Virtual Meeting

28th October

In continuing what may be a long Covid 19 lock-out of Bix Village Hall, members contributed scanned displays related to the colour blue.

Three pages of stamps concerned a wide variety of Victorian GB 2d blues. In their various edge and corner forms and plate numbers, these were printed for forty years (1840 to 1880) and were probably in use for a year or two later - perhaps the longest single colour use of a design, as remarkable as the later any-coloured multi-value Machins.

The Munich Courier Stadt Post was authorized for use from 1896 to 1900 after it had been shown that the private system could be more economical for local post. Special blue stamps were used and were franked by a round postmark recording the date and time (4 deliveries per day). These were displayed on several postcards or ‘courier-karten’, all with superbly hand-written script.

Sapphires and other blue gems were the mineral theme, together with a range of covers posted from mines or stamps or pictures depicting the early history of mining and some modern exploration techniques. Explanations covered the geological conditions in which various gemstones were found. Covers included one from the Queensland town of Sapphire and a letter posted from the steamship Sapphire in 1852 destined for Boston USA via London.

Blue King George VI stamps included examples and covers, with full explanation, of post-war GB (and colonial stamps or overprints) commemoratives such as the 1948 Royal Silver Wedding and Olympic Games. There were covers, posted on 11May and 11 September 1945, with postmarks incorporating a V or bells and celebrating the end of the war against Germany and Japan respectively, as well as other ‘victory’ stamps such as South African. Also shown in this category were an Olympic stamp cover posted on board the RMS Andes which plied the UK-Brazil route. 

New Zealand blue revenue stamps – inscribed Inland Revenue, Stamp Duty, etc. - issued from 1867 were original designs, displayed in various colour variations. However, from 1878, the GB 1d Inland Revenue design was adopted, distinguishable only by the NZ watermark.

The Norway 4-skilling blue was the first stamp issued in that country in 1855. No less than 18 examples were shown with an explanation of certain developing features and methods of printing and plating, as well as a plethora of minor flaws. Various commemoratives were issued more recently including a 1990 card of two 5 kr stamps, one depicting the 4-skilling blue and one the GB 1d black. 

A late entry on Argentina chronicled the  emergence of blue (and white) as that country’s national colours, together with possible reasons for their choice.

Virtual Meeting: Vaccines

14th October

With talk of vaccines much in the news, a display on vaccines, including some diseases without vaccines was circulated.  This prompted a well-travelled member to offer an account of the various, usually painful, vaccines he had had to endure while on National Service and in later travels to exotic lands with varying requirements for inoculation.

Virtual Meeting: My Latest Acquisitions

9th September 2020

Owing to the Covid 19 pandemic precautions, we are no longer able to meet at Bix Village Hall – or anywhere else – from mid-March 2020 until the lockdown is relaxed.

However, in September, when we would normally have met up at Bix for the first meeting of the new season, members were invited to contribute scanned material that might have been otherwise presented on the traditional theme of My Latest Acquisitions.

Topics presented included
Imperial Austria including a 1917 First Day Cover (on the 3rd anniversary of the assassination of the Archduke at Sarajevo), a Kirchenblatt newspaper item of 1855, a 1917 first day cover for Bosnia-Herzegovina and stamps issued by the Danube Steam Navigation |Company between 1856 and 1870.
Buenos Aires: scenes at the entrance to the port and the Old Loading Mole.
Canada: 1939 Royal Tour including a cover posted from the royal train.
Costa Rica: British stamps issues and posted there.
German Army Feldpost – a range of items from 1944.
Grenada: postal stationery – very scarce QV 1881 1d; also QV 1882 1d and KEVII 1902 ½d.
Guernsey: Unauthorized c1941 use of KGVI bisected stamps.
Lockdown non-philatelic gardening activity – heavy earthmoving machinery.
Black-lined mourning envelopes with Victorian GB stamps.
Mark 2 Jaguar: a real and substantial recent acquisition, if not a philatelic one.
Newfoundland: A recently completed set of the 1910 Colonization Tercentenary set.
New Zealand: explanation of a set of c.1917 fiscal and postage stamps, from legal or ledger documents in the Otago/Dunedin district; also a ‘pigeon’ post cover and other explanation associated with the sinking of the SS Wagirerapa.
Panama Canal: first day cover on the 25th anniversary of the opening of the Canal postmarked SS Charleston – Canal Zone.
Spain: views of a bridge in Valencia and the funicular above Barcelona.


 Members’ Evening

12th February 2020

12 members met at Bix to present our Favourite Stamps. A wide variety of topics followed from this very open and inviting theme.

Argentine carefully engraved stamps including enlargements of early commemoratives – the 1892 4th Centenary of Columbus’s discovery of America and 1902 Rosario Dock Opening – and Belgrano and Brown from the 1935 definitives.
Art Nouveau jewellery (c1890–1910) including the works of Fabergé (eggs and animals), Archibald Knox (for Liberty’s) and the Tiffanies.
An Austrian Genealogy – from Matilda and her daughter (Ed’s grandmother) in the period from about 1912 to the latter’s death in 1964; including (revenue) stamped documents such as a school report (nearly all gut or sehr gut) and authority to live in Vienna in the 1920s.
Birds – perhaps the most common thematic theme – which can be displayed by country or by type of bird, the latter including birds of paradise and lots of woodpeckers and kingfishers.
GB – George V mint – a comprehensive display including the scarce mint seahorses and the complete 1929 UPU set.
Grenada – early (1881+) postal stationery, mainly by Perkins, Bacon.
Irish postage due stamps - with many variations and some scarcer values.
Ocean Liners – postcards, stamps and books – the multi-funnelled mainly between-the-wars great days of steam ships by Cunard, White Star and Canadian Pacific; a postcard of the Titanic before setting off from Liverpool on its first and last voyage.
Se-tenant GB stamps; a wide variety of Elizabethan coil and booklet stamps with explanation of the different complications such as phosphor strips and demi-oval hiatuses in perforations.
Tanganyika from German overprints  and the different currency Kaiser’s yacht, through British occupation in World War I, the Giraffe series for Tanganyika Territory and subsequent George V definitives to the complete sets of Kenya, Uganda and Tanganyika sets for Kings George V and VI and Queen Elizabeth.
Tuva – perhaps half of the attractive large or triangular pictorial postage stamps issued by this remote central Asian country during its existence from 1926 and throughout the 1930s. 


Members Evening

22nd January 2020

Ten members gathered at Bix to display matters related to The Antipodes. Among the varied responses to this title were the following.

Birds of New Zealand.
Borneo: Early letters, with Australian stamps, by the forces liberating Dutch Borneo from the Japanese occupation in 1945.
Bouvet Oya, the Norwegian name (French Bozet) for this small volcanic island a long way South of South Africa which was visited by Rear-Admiral Evans’s expedition to study magnetic effects on navigation; he produced hundreds of stamps unofficially, some of which were unofficially put on letters from South Africa to England (Liverpool).
Chillon Heads: Early stamps of Ne Zealand, Tasmania and Queensland.
Children’s collections: a variety of NZ and Australian mid-20th century stamps.
First Day Covers: Early airmail by Empire Airways and others from Australia and New Zealand and between the two.
Franz Joseph Island in the Arctic!
Health and Peace stamps of New Zealand
Kangaroo set, the first pan-Australian stamps
King Edward VII – Dominion issue of New Zealand.
King George VI: a wide variety of Australian and New Zealand covers and stamps including several high values.
Korea and China (being at the antipode of Buenos Aires)
New Zealand Scenery: many of the scenic issues of the second half of the 20th century.
Official (overprinted) stamps of New Zealand: 12 sheets including some scarce examples.
One of Shackleton’s Antarctic Expeditions: a Daily Mail headline and photograph.
Opal, gold and other mines in Australia and New Zealand.	
Victorian stamp issues of New Zealand and the six Australian colonies.

Members’ Evening

9th January 2020

13 members gathered at Bix for our annual postcard evening. A variety of themes for displays including:

Argentine postal cards marking the transition from a definitive to a commemorative style for this type of postal stationery.

Australian landscapes and animals.

Cape Horn: an oil painting of a clipper-type sailing ship passing the island.

Cologne: views of the railway station, the bridge and the cathedral, including one showing the devastation after World War II bombing.

Franz Joseph’s 60 years as Emperor and views of Austrian cities and Sarajevo.

A French Miscellany including Franchise Militaire FM overprints and railway stamps. 

Japanese Invasion of Borneo in December 1941

London post offices

Norwegian postcards and pictures of King Haakon VII (formerly Prince Carl of Denmark); also Nansen (and his arctic exploring ship the Fram), Bjornson and Grieg.

A Norwegian wedding in full bride’s regalia.

Oriental documents: postcards from an exhibition in the Bodleian Library.

Post buses in England and Scotland.

Reading scenes – historic scenes of streets, buildings, markets, trams.

Southern India: Hill station railway and open truck passenger trains.

The Weymouth and Portland Railway.




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