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News Items for Session 2019 - 2020
Visit from Edinburgh Philatelic Society

28 November 2019

Vistors

This evening members of the society gathered to see four different presentations from members of Edinburgh Philatelic Society, Irene Catto, Steve Cowles, Sid Morgan and Bob Catto (as seen in the picture on the right).

Irene Catto began the evening with a display entitled 'Maritime' and the consisted of stamps, postcards, covers and other memorabilia. Irene outlined the history of each ship in the display, which covered Steamships, Battleships and Shipwrecks, finishing up with two covers commemorating the new aircraft carriers Queen Elizabeth II and the Prince of Wales.

Steve Cowles followed on with a display of 'Stamps with Stories' and was a selection of some stamps that he likes to collect as well as some covers from the same era. These included stamps from the KGV and German 3rd Reich time, and some covers from Egypt to Scotland which were addressed to a relative of Steve's in Tillicoultry. Also shown were stamps from the USA, Austria, Poland, Belgium and the Netherlands.

Next to display was Sid Morgan who presented a display of 'Birds of the World' which as would be expected consisted of stamps from all countries of the world depicting birds, such as Owls, Penguins, Pigeons and various other varieties of birdlife.

The final display of the evening was from Bob Catto who displayed a series of American pre-paid Postal cards from the United States of America ranging from the 1880's to the 1960's. Included within the display was a card with a prepaid stamp of George Washington which when the card was turned over to see the back contained a prepaid postmark with the image of Martha Washington.

Award from Revenue Society

14 November 2019

The Revenue Society have awarded the Research Medal to our local member Francis Podger FRPSL, in recognition of the work done in producing the recently issued publication.

Straits Settlements Revenue Stamps

1867 to 1902

The Postal Museum De La Rue Archive




Paul Stephens (Perth P.S.} - 'Sudan Censorship'

14 November 2019

Paul Stephens

This evening members had the pleasure of receiving a display on "Sudan Censorship" from Paul Stephens (a member of Perth Philatelic Society). Paul's particular interest surrounds the resealing labels used during the censorship period. Paul began by explaining that during WW1 all military and civilian mail were censored by the same people whilst in WW2 they were separated and censored by separate groups of people.

In the first part of his display Paul began with covers sent and received in Sudan during World War 1, where all covers were stamped 'Passed by Censor' using triangular censor stamps. Two types of resealing label were used, general issue blue labels followed by orange labels which were only used in Sudan. These labels were all tied by the censor stamp or routing stamp. In 1917 the labels were changed, and these are quite scarce to find. Paul then showed an unusual cover sent in 1924 which was still censored.

Members viewing The first half of the display was completed with a set of covers sent during World War 2 covering the military censorship with active service covers, and different shapes of censor stamp being used e.g. Round, Oblong, Square, Octagonal and Tombstone styles. Finally, on show was a set of French Sudan Covers and a cover with both British and Indian censorship. Indeed, one of the covers on display was sent to an address in Bulawayo at which our Secretary used to cycle past when he lived there.

The second half of Paul's display covered the civilian censorship during World War 2 and Paul explained that most civilian letters in and out of the country were censored, and which used a number of different types of label. One cover shown was censored twice, once in the Sudan and the other censorship was carried out in France. A number of Airmail covers were shown, one of these was actually crossed out as it couldn't be sent by Air. Most covers contained censor marks using the same number as the resealing label, but a few on display showed different numbers. One of the covers shown was sent from a member of the armed forces based on HMS Illustrious.

One or two covers on display also had a horseshoe cancellation to show that they had to be flown via this alternative route during the war.

John Sussex FRPSL RDP - 'Modern British Postal History'

24 October 2019

John Sussex

This evening members had the honour of welcoming a distinguished philatelist to the society. John Sussex is a fellow of the Royal Philatelic Society, London and a signatory to the Roll of Distinguished Philatelists. John's topic for the evening was 'Modern British Postal History' and he began by explaining that he started out collecting over 65 years ago and eventually after buying a collection of Machin covers decided that he needed to do something with them. Hence tonight's display which starts from 1952 and runs up to the present day.

When setting up the display John had some ground rules in that all covers used must be commercial, define the rates to be used at the time and have a readable cancellation. In total John has amassed over 7000 covers to date and finds it very difficult to find covers for the period 1990's onwards.

John's display began with a series of covers with Scottish Regionals and explained that it was easier to find covers using 2nd class stamps than it was to get 1st class ones. He also explained that over a period of 30 years there were 28 changes of postal rates. On display were internal mail covers and some foreign mail covers, overseas mail being hard to find using the regional stamps.

Members viewing display Following this a number of covers, including air mail covers, sent to various destinations in Canada were on show, covering a number of different rates. These were then followed by a number of postage due covers. John highlighted the fact that the post office charged VAT using postage due stamps and one parcel cover on display had postage due stamps to the value of £99.97.

In the second part of his display John concentrated on the Postal Services functions. John informed the members that Royal Mail gave up Registered mail in the 1990's but following an insistence from UPU that it be replaced International Recorded Delivery was introduced. John's display included examples of Special Delivery, Recorded Delivery, which is now Royal Mail Signed For, and Advice on Receipt labels. Also shown were Express Service Labels and Registration labels. John went on to show examples of Special Delivery Machin's and a cover showing an SG label, for Saturday Guaranteed. John finished his display with express to overseas covers, Parcel Datapost which is not seen very often, and a scarcely seen London Parcel service label.

Robert Murray - 'Philatelic Vexillology'

10 October 2019

Annual Competition Winners

Tonight's meeting was an excellently presented and explained display of philatelic vexillology (Flags on Stamps) from Robert Murray of the Robert Murray Stamp Shop in Edinburgh. Robert began his display by posing a question to his audience asking what other uses flags can be used for. Some suggestions were as Warning/Signal flags, Communication, Celebration, Mourning, Protests, Changes of national Status to name a few. he also explained that there are three types of Territorial Flags, National, Supra National and Territory.

As part of his display Robert showed some of the uses flags were put to and followed this up with flags from USA, African, Latin American and European Countries. During this display Robert imparted two facts to the members. He explained that the Brazilian Flag depicts the star positions in the sky at the time the nation of Brazil was born. He then informed everyone that the Venezuala was named from early Spanish/Italian navigators who found villages on stilts over water and named it Little Venice.

In the second part of the display Robert displayed more flags on stamps from Asian and European countries and others from the Scandinavian countries. Robert explained that the scandinavian country flags have the style of a christian cross on its side.

Also on show were stamps from U.S.S.R., Taiwan and the Provinces and Territories of Canada.

In finishing his display Robert highlighted the fact that there are no flags shown on old stamps, and this is simply due to the fact that old stamps were in single colour and it was only when multi-colour printing came along that flags started to appear.

President's Night

26 September 2019

Annual Competition Winners

The President's Display = Part I - 1967-91

David Millar presented his 3rd Presidential Display. This was a comprehensive collection of GB Machins from 1967 to 2019 – a very long run. He stated that the commercial aim of the Post Office was to market stamps and make money. Hence every stamp that was not used postally was a source of profit.

The Machin design was from a plaster cast by Arnold Machin. The £.s.d. stamps included the 4d sepia, liked by the Queen because it resembled the penny black but unfortunately postmarks did not show up well and the colour was soon changed to red.

David showed examples of Machin issues in their various guises, including First Day Covers, Presentation Packs, stamp booklets both machine issued and sold over the counter. These latter had various series of pictures, often changed when the stamps in panes inside changed. To make up the cost of the booklets the panes inside were invariably made up with different se tenant values with an almost infinite number of variations.

Prestige Booklets, first issued in 1972, initially annually, contained several booklet panes, one of which se tenant, initially included one value with a unique phosphor band pattern not used elsewhere in sheet stamps. Initially priced £1, the most recent issues attracted VAT due to EU regulations.

Annual increases in postal rates meant new Machins being issued, usually in March or April with up to seven new values in different colours. David said that between 1980 and 1990 postal rates were increased eight times. Other Machin oddities illustrated by David included High Values in large vertical format including the parcel rates - £1.30, £1.33, £1.41, £1.50, £1.60, Europe and Worldwide rates, Recorded signed for, Special Delivery.

Most of the stamps are rarely seen used apart from on First Day Covers!

In 1971 came decimalisation. Unfortunately the Post Office was on strike on February 15th the date of issue, and the stamps were delayed. The initial decimal high values had previously been issued in June 1970.

The President's Display = Part II - 1992-2019

No value Indicated (N.V.I.) stamps were first issued in 1989 (1st and 2nd class) and self adhesive stamps date from 1993 (horizontal format). There were various colour changes over the years. A new 1st class stamp design was issued for 2000.

Other changes included elliptical perforations to discourage forgers (1993), four die-cut U shaped slits and an overall iridescent ROYAL MAIL overprint (2009) to discourage reuse of uncancelled stamps. Seriously, for self adhesives there was no longer a water-soluble layer of gum between paper and self adhesive so used stamps could no longer be soaked off envelopes!

The final items of David’s magnificent display were examples of the counter-printed self adhesive labels which are now the most convenient way of posting parcels at a post office especially as many don’t seem to stock higher Machin values anyway.

Will the only Machins readily available in the future be the 1st and 2nd class self adhesives from booklets widely obtainable from supermarkets, card shops, W.H.Smith and other newsagents?


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