Member of the Wessex Philatelic Federation
In this issue: Club News
Triangles and Diamonds
Christmas Stamps – Did you know …. ?
Recycled Plastic Bottles Make New Stamps
What a Covid-19 Mess – but with patience we shall come through
EXMOUTH STAMP CLUB NEWS
Following from the August Newsletter, the Committee proceeded to organise a postal vote to elect to elect the Stamp Club Committee for the year 2020 – 2021. The results of the vote were:
After so many years at the helm, our chairperson decided to retire her position, no doubt to spend more time with her stamp collection! Members owe her so much appreciation for all she has done over so many years to keep the Club active and in good health, through good times and through difficult times.
The result is that today Exmouth Stamp Club is highly successful compared with so many others in the area that have fallen by the wayside or are ailing. Thanks are also due to the Committee members who have supported her over the years, some of whom are continuing as Committee members and will provide that essential continuity as we work through the current ‘viral situation’.
The new Committee will meet shortly to consider a way forward, how and where we can hold Club meetings again safely, and a programme of events for the remainder of the year. Obviously this will depend on when the Government gives the green light for Clubs to resume their activities.
If you have any thoughts about what you would like the Club to do or organise, please get in contact with one of the members of the new Committee who will bring your suggestions forward for discussion.
It is with great sadness that during lockdown we learned of the passing of several ESC members, whom we remember contributed so much to Club activities. But it is with great pleasure that we welcome new members to ESC – Peter Baker, Greg Fish, Ian Parry, David Shorer, and Richard Stupples – may you find membership a beneficial and interesting experience.
The packet circulation is continuing. To continue to be successful and to give greatest benefit and enjoyment to ESC members more books are always needed for the packet – so if you have spare stamps or other philatelic material that you wish to sell, consider making up a book for circulation. If you are in need of an empty book to fill, contact the Packet Secretary who will be only too happy to provide however many you need.
The Club website (https://exmouthstampclub.org/) is regularly updated with information so please remember to check the site regularly. If you wish to post anything on the site please contact Jonathan Blood-Smyth or the Secretary through the site.
In the short term we hope to be able to bring you a Newsletter each quarter with an update about the Club. As you will see from this issue, there will be more than only news that gets reported. Any items of philatelic interest that you may wish to write about can be included in future Newsletters – if you find it interesting, somebody else in the Club probably will as well! Please email any contributions to Hon Secretary to be passed on.
TRIANGLES AND DIAMONDS
Triangular Dies The concession for a printed paper rate was first introduced in 1892 and to make this type of mail easy to identify, a triangular hand stamp was introduced, indicating it had been properly posted and conformed to the regulations. Initially the triangular dies incorporated the telegraphic code, but later the index number for the office of posting was used.
The printed paper rate became more popular and machine cancelling came into use; the first machines using such dies were the Columbia, introduced in 1904. As the triangular dies took the place of the normal circular town date stamps, it was not uncommon to find triangular machine dies with slogans.
Diamond Dies The diamond dies were incorporated in the single impression stamp cancelling machine, which had been designed to automatically count the number of items passing through in an hour or a day, and allowed each sorting office to quantify the amount of mail they were handling.
The diamond dies were impressed on the backs of covers, or near the lower edge on the front. In the majority of instances, the diamond counting die appears alone, but occasionally a slogan was incorporated.
Each year, (usually in October), the Post Office undertakes a census on all postal traffic, including all post office counter business, the volume of mail received, despatched, or forwarded for delivery; thus allowing each sorting office to monitor its business, which in earlier days had been difficult to assess.
The old regulations governing the discounted services were extremely complicated. For example, in the 1965 edition of the Post Office Guide, the regulations for the Printed Paper Post rate ran to 3⅟₂ pages.
Greeting cards could be sent as printed paper, but there were strict limits as to what could be written inside them. “Kind regards” or “Best wishes” were acceptable, but not “Arrived safely” or “See you on Monday”. Envelopes had to be left open for inspection, even during Christmas, and spot checks were made on items with surcharges applied to those that did not conform to the rules.
Postcards could be sent at a discounted rate, but only if their dimensions fell within strict limits (i.e.14 x 9 cm), otherwise they became “liable to the letter rate”.
Businesses posting mail at the end of the working day placed a heavy burden on sorting offices and as early as 1922 special slogans were introduced to encourage customers to “Post Early in the Day”. Under the old structure, the Post Office could delay items sent at discounted rates, dealing with the fully paid letters first.
The need for triangular dies disappeared on 16th September 1968, when the new first and second class postage system was introduced. Below are a few illustrations of these Triangular and Diamond Dies.
CHRISTMAS STAMPS – DID YOU KNOW …. ?
Christmas stamp issues are by far the most popular of all commemorative or seasonal definitive distributed by the majority of stamp issuing countries, with the Olympic Games being very popular in second place.
Great Britain, however, was not at the forefront and did not issue its first Christmas stamps until 1966. These first designs were taken from winners of a children’s Christmas art competition, and the following year a religious theme was introduced.
Christmas fantasy and religious themes would alternate each year apart from the Millennium period, up to the present day. In 1999 the Millennium issue of ‘The Christmas Tale’ covered the Christmas period, while 2000 the ‘Spirit and Faith’ covered the following Christmas.
RECYCLED PLASTIC BOTTLES MAKE NEW STAMPS
On 7 September, Philately Liechtenstein drew attention to environmental protection and the recovery of recyclable materials from waste through the issue of a 6.30Fr stamp embroidered from recycled PET (polyethylene terephthalate – a polyester, similar to a clothing fabric) thread.
The stamp was produced by embroidery manufacturer Hämmerle & Vogel in Lustenau, Austria. 3,100 PET bottles with a volume of 600 ml each were processed to make cleaned flakes before producing a new high quality polyester yarn from them – 75 metres of thread were processed for each stamp.
With an issue of 40,000 stamps, this means that three million metres of recycled polyester thread were used. This length is sufficient to surround the external border of the Principality of Liechtenstein forty times!
A comparison of the amount of work involved is equally impressive: While the embroidery machine with over one million revolutions produced the issue in the shortest possible time, a single hand embroiderer would take about 25 years to produce all the stamps! (https://www.philatelie.li)
WHAT A COVID-19 MESS – BUT WITH PATIENCE WE SHALL COME THROUGH
Sometimes topics for stamp issues can be a disappointment. This country since 1840 has been the innovators of the postage stamp. The commemoratives which were later introduced were designed to promote its people, abilities, culture and history.
But sadly, the management people sat behind a desk have now only one purpose in their working life and that is to neglect such important anniversaries such as the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower, the 200th anniversary of the death of Florence Nightingale and the 150th anniversary of the Red Cross and replace them with nonsense anniversaries such as Coronation Street, Sherlock Holmes and the like.
It’s quite clear that, regardless of many complaints from the philatelic community, their agenda is to ‘milk’ the faithful out of their hard-earned money with meaningless gimmick issues.
Let us turn to one of the offshore islands, the ‘Isle of Man’ with their limited staff who have come up trumps. Taking into account the Covid-19 pandemic they have issued a set of eight stamps – Love, Faith, Care, Compassion, Work, Community, Words and Science – for morale support to their island community.
In addition to this commemorative set they further produced a definitive set in self-adhesive format. Over a dozen countries now have produced stamps relating to Covid-19, where was our pride and joy ‘Royal Mail’.
Then we look at our Florence Nightingale, totally ignored by Royal Mail again, but thank goodness still remembered by many countries. The Isle of Man produced eight excellent stamps in support of the WHO, ‘The 2020 Year of the Nurse and Midwife’, which could not have come at a more meaningful time as this was also a tribute to Florence Nightingale on the 150th anniversary of her death.