|Exmouth Stamp Club – a Member of the Wessex Philatelic Federation
In this issue: Club News Sheer Joy of Collecting
Historical Envelope Unusual Stamps
EXMOUTH STAMP CLUB NEWS
It was with some joy that Club Committee members were able to meet in a garden on 31 March to discuss forward plans for re-starting regular Club meetings – assuming the lifting of lockdown goes ahead as planned on 21 June. Committee members are now actively seeking a convenient venue that would accommodate us with the social distancing that we anticipate will be required. We have noticed that venue fees are likely to be higher after lockdown, so it may be necessary to make a modest increase to our annual membership fee. The membership fee was waived for 2020-21 and previously had not been increased for several years. It was pleasing to note that membership numbers have been maintained through lockdown – with over 40 members the level of support and interest is healthy. We hope to be able to hold an AGM in July this year, and hold a Stamp Day and Fair in Spring 2022.
The new logo, now prominent on our website, has been well received. It is also incorporated into a revised and invigorated Club entry on the Wessex Federation website. Mugs are now available for purchase bearing the Club logo – to purchase the mugs contact the Club Secretary. The logo may appear on other Club items in the future – more about this will be reported as plans evolve, but you may be surprised to know that our Secretary has been wearing an ESC T-shirt. If you have access to a computer, take a look at “exmouth stamp club t shirt” (no quotes) into the Amazon search bar. For now, you can purchase a Club coffee mug with the logo imprinted on it – please support the Club by purchasing one or two mugs through our Club Secretary.
We are currently compiling a list of members’ collecting interests. Please contact the Secretary (Ed Elsey) on 01395 445504 or through exmouthstampclub.org with a list of your philatelic interests. The reasons for this are firstly, it may be possible to include a greater number of stamps of interest to members in the circulating packets; and secondly, the Club is periodically given or offered stamps that can be sold on to members for the benefit of Club funds, and it is useful to know which members might be interested in these items.
Membership is the lifeblood of any Club or organisation and keeps us encouraged and well-supported in all our efforts, including meetings when they are allowed again. All members are asked to encourage collector friends known to them to join us [no fee currently so a good time to enrol] so we can expand our influence and vision into the future. Please let the Honorary Secretary know names and details for an invitation e-mail or letter to be sent to any suitable ‘new blood’.
SHEER JOY OF COLLECTING
All our members have different reasons for collecting and different objectives, I am sure. My friend M. and I find ourselves the ultimate amateurs. We meet once a week under normal circumstances of bubbling, to sort stuff, put into albums and insert onto the SG My Collection site, which gathers all information, according to countries, adding current catalogue values, totalled at the foot of the Summary page to give an idea of collection value if surrendered; with a sector for clicking those missing stamps in sets, yet to be acquired. Complete sets are worth making up. Absorbing fun.
Having inherited my grandfather’s collection, and my father’s, been given a couple of old and tattered abandoned albums and a couple of shoe boxes to sort through and having splashed out at auctions and stamp dealers for a few ‘pretty things’, my collection, like Topsy, has just growed [and growed!] Envelopes sent from friends abroad are carefully opened at the bottom and saved as entires, with interesting or unusual postmarks, the letters removed. My eyes boggle when I learn what some fellow collectors are paying for ‘that one example’ they have searched for, maybe for years, and suddenly find on the market. Sorry folks, that is not on my ‘pay-scale’.
What to do with spares? Ah, now there are many options for this, as opposed to a steam railway friend of mine who says take them down there to fuel the firebox. We are invited to make up ‘approval’ books to add to our very popular Club box circuit, pricing items moderately to sell for profit to members and/or Club funds. I make it a personal policy never to throw stamps away. A hoarder philatelist, me. Well they might have phosphor or perforation difference which I keep promising myself ‘when I have time’ [heard that one yourself?] I will look more closely at them. But I have over the last two years made up, from my spares, sixteen presentations to take to other clubs, with our trio Club team – you can book us for your Club when covid is over – to thematically interest collectors on simple aspects of a person, event, history or exploration.
No, we are not specialists: M. and I just collect for the sheer joy of having nice-looking, well-presented collections of those countries which interest us, whether or not valuable. It is a different approach to collecting, but we are a sector to be respected for our limited knowledge and expertise; and valued as members of a diverse club. How great to belong to a club which values such diversity.
This envelope is addressed to The Right Honourable William Ewart Gladstone FRS FSS (29 December 1809-19 May 1898), Vice President of the Board of Trade. He was appointed Vice President in 1841 in Peel’s second ministry and was very opposed to slavery and the opium wars. The letter was written by George Payne Riansford James (1799-1860), English novelist and historical writer. He held the office of British Historiographer Royal, and lived in Walmer, Kent from 1842-1845 and was a frequent guest at Walmer Castle of the Duke of Wellington.
The front of the envelope bears a manuscript prepaid and a red handwritten one denoting postage paid. Also, on arrival in London a tombstone red datestamp, G code, dated 18th July 1842 was applied.
On the reverse the flap has been signed G.P.R. James and Private. A 29mm double -ring undated Walmer postmark (1839-43) has been applied (Willcocks 1312). The letter was probably picked up by the post coach travelling from Deal onwards to Dover, where a double-ring 25 mm Dover transit postmark, code B, dated 17th July 1842 was applied, prior to its onward journey to London.
From the mid-1960’s some weird and wonderful shapes began to appear in the philatelic world. Examples from Sierra Leone and Tonga show unusual stamps in abundance.
|1965 Cola Plant and Nut
|1964 Self-adhesive stamps in the shape of a map issued in memory of President Kennedy.
Other 1960’s examples:
|1977 Jubilee official stamps from Tonga
The modern stamp certainly has changed and, in some cases, is not even recognisable as a postage stamp. It’s an exciting time for those who like collecting quirky additions for their collection but very disappointing for the traditionalists. One such stamp (or maybe I should refer to it as a miniature sheet!) jumps comes to mind, Covid-19 social distancing having been mentioned in the previous ESC newsletter (February issue), is Austria’s contribution to the world’s growing number of issues in the support of the battle against the Corona virus. A clever design but certainly not practical if it was ever intended to be used in the postal system. Printed on extremely soft toilet paper, I can’t think of anything softer (the Austrians must have very delicate posteriors) and assisted by lamination, the printing is surprisingly clear considering the texture and nature of the paper. However, what would happen if this was used for the intended purpose as a postage stamp? I doubt if the miniature sheet, as a result of the abrasion it would receive on the face of the stamp, would be recognisable once it arrives at its destination. Purely philatelic but will still receive a catalogue listing.
Austria has gone further in producing impractical (quirky?) stamps, such as the ‘Ski Tip’ where innovation has gone too far. Producing a stamp from the tip of a ski? – crazy and impractical. Even the face of the stamp can only be described as crude, but again will receive a catalogue listing. The alloy is certainly different but the face with the value of 700 (7 Euro) – well, I’m lost for words. Imagine this going through the mail room, a good way of wrecking the sorting machines! Probably the best and equally as clever as the social distancing Covid-19 miniature sheet is Austria’s ‘Leather Trousers’ 630 (6 Euro 30 Cent) stamp. Made of leather with crystal as belt stud decoration, is a perfect presentation for selling the Tyrol – and is more practical for use in the postal system!
|Yes – these are stamps!!
Contributors to this Newsletter were Ed Elsey, Barbara Rogers, Roger Smaldon, Gerald Smith, and Richard Wakeman.