A social-thematic philatelic display and talk by Dane Garrod
There are so very many themes, countries and periods that any philatelist, stamp-collector, or even social historian, can collect and research, that we are spoilt for choice. One can marvel at those who are determined to place all their energies and time in having interest in just one area or theme. However, diversity brings its own rewards by allowing a constant return to a collection that has been temporarily put aside, but to which one can return with fresh enthusiasm and retained knowledge.
My upcoming display and talk at the BPMA will cover ten such diverse collecting interests – there should be something for everyone here – and a brief resumé follows concerning some of what will be shown and alluded to. Many will include stories of the people who shaped their time, and their country.
Austria – 19th and early 20th century: To begin, a very early stamp-issuing country in Europe, the first letter of the alphabet, and the first item is their first stamp from some 160 years ago – catalogued as S.G. No.1, it is the unused 1kr orange of 1850. The sheets in this section continue with the design work of J.F. Renner, who designed all the stamps for Austria from mid-1919 to mid-1921. Beautifully written-up in Gothic script, but not by this presenter. Research has failed to find who this illustrious Austrian collector was, but he has left his philatelic legacy in this format.
Avis de Réception – 21st century: Covers/envelopes from many countries requesting acknowledgement of receipt, with the returning cards prepared for despatch. This began in the early 19th century in Austria, and spread worldwide in later years. Now much in decline, it served as a procedure for confirming receipt of letter, package or parcel. These items shown are from very recent years.
British Commonwealth – King George VI issues: A display of covers and stamps, with stamps from Ceylon, Mauritius, and Kenya, Uganda & Tanganyika, as examples of diversity of design and colour shades. The covers have stories to tell, which is revealed in the PowerPoint display.
Germany – The Third Reich: With additional supporting items such as a postcard from the set sold on the ill-fated Hindenburg airship, and a voting slip for the 1932 Presidential election, the philatelic material includes stories and examples of a forged German postcard, a Red Cross transmitted item from occupied Guernsey, and the use of the Olympic Stadium postmark of 1936.
Great Britain – Parliamentary: One of the oldest item shown in this display was written by Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough, dated 1714 – her parliamentary involvement is well known. There is an envelope and letter to Willy Sax in Zurich, paint supplier to Churchill – items connected with John Stonehouse and with David Cameron (not to be mentioned together, of course) – and part of an undated petition to Parliament from the Lady Howard and her daughters, which would have been transmitted by messenger at some date in perhaps the late 1500s.
WWI Prisoner of War mail to Kopenhagen: World War One prisoner-of-war envelopes/covers, despatched to the Danish Red Cross in Kopenhagen, from Russian prisoners in Germany or Poland. They show the full details of the sender, prison camp, and even the barrack block, and would have contained letters in cyrillic that were sent onwards to their families and loved ones. The display shows how the covers changed in their pre-printing over the five years of use.
Revenues: A field of collecting now returning with a measure of revival in recent years. Shown are Saar revenue stamps, and British revenue items including vehicle tax discs from the 1950s, a TV licence when it was just £3, and various Motor Ration Books from the 1973 oil crisis – prepared and issued, but fortunately not required.
Württemberg – Stuttgart Privat Post & other stories: One of the highlights in this section is the postal stationery produced by Wilhelm Leopold for Stuttgart city post from 1888, in competition with the official German post. Leopold’s attractive postcards were popular with the city inhabitants who were prepared to pay 3 pfennig for them instead of the usual 2 pfennig. When the German postal authorities decided to increase their rate to 3 pfennig, Leopold reduced his to 2 pfennig!
British Commonwealth – Queen Elizabeth II issues: Mint stamps from Gambia, Sierra Leone and Swaziland are featured, the last two countries showing the use, or even over-use, of overprints on definitives sets. A few covers to compete this section, including an air-mail letter from independent Rhodesia that was surcharged upon entry to Britain, as the Rhodesian independence was declared illegal.
Great Britain – Social/Open class & other stories: Perhaps the most interesting and diverse area of philatelic and related material, most with a story to tell. Included are items from a forced 5-year honeymoon, begun in June 1940 in Guernsey – a letter-card from the Titanic’s sister ship, the Olympic – hand-drawn Edwardian covers – and finally, a much-loved acrostic. If like the writer originally was, you are unsure what an acrostic is, then I urge you to come to this PowerPoint talk and display on 22nd April and enjoy being well-informed and much entertained…
Dane Garrod will speak at the BPMA on 22nd April. For further information and booking details please visit our website.