Tag Archives: Royal Philatelic Society

Two new additions to the website

Henri Cheffer's original design

Henri Cheffer's original design for a proposed Anglo-French stamp issue (1940)

Over the past day we have been uploading material related to stamps from the era of George VI to our website. Ten proposed or issued stamps dating 1937-1951 are documented and large-size scans of the artworks are included. This is part of our ongoing Stamp Artwork Project which aims to make available material related to British stamp issues from the eras of George V, Edward VIII, George VI and Elizabeth II. Find out more and see what’s new on the Stamp Artwork Project page of our website.

Also uploaded today is our latest podcast The Post Office Went to War featuring thematic collector Christine Earle. Christine Earle is a Fellow of the Royal Philatelic Society London and a renowned thematic stamp collector. Her Post Office Went to War collection comprises a wealth of supporting material including GPO notices, ration books and saving stamps. To download or subscribe to our podcast visit: www.postalheritage.org.uk/podcast.

BPMA aids author

Every week many people to come to the BPMA to use our Archive Search Room. Whether it’s family historians finding out about their ancestors, historians interested in communications or philatelists furthering their knowledge, all are welcome.

Len Stanway, author of the Malaya Study Group’s new book Malaysia and the Federation of Malaya – Their Stamps and Postal Stationery, has expressed his thanks to BPMA staff for filling a gap in the available information on the printing of postal stationery for Malaya.

The author explained “When Messrs. McCorquodale took over the printing of envelopes and aerogrammes for Malaya from Messrs. De La Rue, the data on shipments was not fed back to the Crown Agents ledgers which are now held by the British Library. A Fiji researcher, John Ray, drew my attention to the existence of a BPMA file, POST 52/704, which contained reports from Post Office inspectors who were based at McCorquodale in the late 1950s and early 1960s to examine British issues and who handled Commonwealth shipments on behalf on Crown Agents in their spare time. This filled many of the gaps in the available information. You do not have to be a collector of Great Britain to find the BPMA a valuable resource.”

A registration envelope printed by McCorquodale for the Malayan state of Selangor

A registration envelope printed by McCorquodale for the Malayan state of Selangor

The Federation of Malaya came into existence in 1948, became independent of the United Kingdom in 1957 and was incorporated in an enlarged Malaysia in 1963. Len Stanway’s book explores the stamps and postal stationery issued during that period, including, where known, all printing orders and varieties. The postage due stamps of the Malayan Postal Union were in use throughout the period, so their full story from 1935 is described, as are the state and federal revenue stamps issued during the Federation period. Philatelic and political background information is covered in introductory chapters, together with brief biographies of the rulers and other eminent persons connected with the stamps.

Volume 1, covering the 1948 to 1963 period, was published this month and is available from the Malaya Study Group’s website: www.malayastudygroup.com. Volume Two will cover the 1963 to 1994 period and all Malaysia postage due stamps, while Volume 3 will cover 1995 to 2009. Supplementary information for 2010 onwards will initially be provided through the columns of The Malayan Philatelist, the journal of The Malaya Study Group.

A McCorquodale aerogramme for Singapore used by fan to ask Miss Doris Day for the words of "Deadwood Stage".

A McCorquodale aerogramme for Singapore used by fan to ask Miss Doris Day for the words of "Deadwood Stage".

Len Stanway’s interest in philately began at the age of 6 and he has been a member of the Malaya Study Group for 30 years. He is also a member of Singapore Stamp Club and the Sarawak Specialists’ Society, and a Fellow of the Royal Philatelic Society London. He holds various posts in local, regional and national philatelic societies, and has written extensively for various society publications and stamp magazines.

If you are interested in conducting philatelic research at the BPMA please see our website for further information on what records we hold and how we can assist you. The Archive Search Room is open every weekday from 10am to 5pm, except Thursdays when we are open until 7pm. The Search Room will also be open on six Saturdays throughout 2010; see the What’s On section of our website for details.

The Post Office Went to War

On 29th September Christine Earle a Fellow of the Royal Philatelic Society London will speak at the BPMA about the Post Office during World War 2. This event year marks the 70th Anniversary of the start of the Second World War, and appropriately Christine’s talk will be preceded by a screening of The First Days, a GPO Film Unit film which documents the changes underwent by the population of London during September 1939.

A still from The First Days: nurses volunteer to fill sandbags

A still from The First Days: nurses volunteer to fill sandbags

Christine Earle has been a thematic stamp collector for over twenty years, using stamps and philatelic material to tell a story. More recently she has become interested in ‘Social Philately’, which allows the use of ephemera type material, as well as stamps and covers to be included in the collection. This has led to the ‘Post Office Went to War’ collection, which describes the effect that war had on the General Post Office during 1939-45; using a wide variety of philatelic material supported by associated items of the period including GPO notices, ration books, savings stamps, etc.

Christine has been a member, committee member and chair of many regional philatelic societies. She was Chair of the British Thematic Association until last year and is currently Honorary Secretary to the Council of the Royal Philatelic Society London. She has not only won 5 F.I.P Gold Medals for thematic collecting but is also an accredited judge for Thematic and Social Philately. Since 2003 Christine has been an F.I.P International judge for Thematic Philately. She conducts thematic judging seminars around the country as well as thematic collecting workshops nationwide.

For further information and booking details please see the Events section of our website. The First Days is available on the DVD If War Should Come.

The London Philatelist

by Jennifer Flippance, London 2010 Project Officer

The BPMA Search Room holds many old journals, which can make fascinating reading. Among the many periodicals available to view is The London Philatelist (the journal of the Royal Philatelic Society London). Published since 1892, it gives an absorbing insight into the world of stamp collecting over a century ago.

Past issues are an intriguing mix of philatelic news, reviews, essays, adverts, auction and exhibition reports, warnings about forgeries, new stamp issues (from the British Empire and beyond), obituaries and accounts of meetings.

In volume IX, covering 1900, there are a number of curious articles including an appeal for help in locating a man, described as ‘age about 40, grey mixture jacket suit, bowler hat, heavy moustache, rather dark, otherwise clean-shaven” who was accused of stealing a book of old German States stamps from Messrs. Bright & Son.

Another article relates a report from the Daily Mail on how it had been found possible to spread tuberculosis through stamps if they had been licked by a carrier.  Child collectors were cautioned against placing any stamps near their mouth to moisten them and it was advised that foreign stamps were disinfected in a solution of carbolic acid.

There were several reports on the efforts of the Philatelic War Fund Committee, who raised over £1500 for the Boer War through a combination of sales, auctions and donations. One meeting was held the day after the relief of Mafeking. Perhaps not surprisingly, much interest was also given to the postage stamps used during the siege.

By 1914, the nation once again found itself at war and The London Philatelist considered the effect this would have on philately, speculating that the loss of Germany’s colonies would see an end to the large number of overprinted stamps they produced. No great loss, the author implied patriotically, as they were of little interest to any collectors outside Germany.

Then, as today, international stamp exhibitions were significant and much anticipated events. The very first issue reported on the 1890 London Jubilee Philatelic Exhibition, at which Alfred, the Duke of Edinburgh and second son of Queen Victoria, displayed a considerable portion of his own collection. This tradition continues to this day and parts of the Royal Philatelic Collection will be on display in the Empire Mail exhibition at Guildhall Art Gallery during the period of the London 2010 International Stamp Exhibition in May 2010.

Browsing the competitive class list for the 1897 London Stamp Exhibition, the differences are very striking. In one class, competitors faced no restrictions on how much material could be exhibited, unlike today where even top international exhibitors are limited to a maximum of 128 album pages. In 1897, individual entries could consist of several thousands stamps.  One entry numbered over 20,000 stamps in 24 volumes.  I certainly don’t envy the judges of that class.  Another class, no longer held today was ‘For Philatelic Accessories and Appliances for use by Collectors.’

However, despite the huge changes philately has seen over this period, some things remain the same. The October 1896 editorial discussed the challenges of attracting new young collectors, a subject still very much of concern to philatelists today.

Her Majesty The Queen Patron of London 2010: Festival of Stamps

Her Majesty The Queen has graciously agreed to be Patron of London 2010: Festival of Stamps, a year-long festival of philatelic exhibitions and events, marking the centenary of the accession of George V, the philatelist king. This continues a long standing tradition of philatelic patronage by the UK Royal Family.

The Queen has been Patron of the London International Stamp Exhibitions each decade since 1980. She is also Patron of the Royal Philatelic Society London, the oldest philatelic society in the world, of which George V was executive President until succeeding to the Throne, when he agreed to be the society’s Patron.

The Queen’s private collection – the Royal Philatelic Collection – includes many exceptional rarities, among them unique items such as drawings and proofs, and is said to be the world’s most comprehensive collection of postage stamps of Great Britain and the Commonwealth.

The Royal Philatelic Collection began in 1856, when the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII) and his younger brother Prince Alfred (later Duke of Edinburgh), were given examples of the then new 6d stamps. Prince Alfred continued to collect and served as Honorary President of what became the Royal Philatelic Society London from 1890 until his death in 1900. His collection passed to his nephew (later King George V) whose own collection was already substantial. The form and structure of the Royal Philatelic Collection today is the creation of King George V and his philatelic advisers. After his death his successors have continued to add to the Collection.

The London 2010: Festival of Stamps will combine a wide range of exhibitions and events such as the International Stamp Exhibition at the Business Design Centre, and the exhibition ‘Empire Mail: George V and the GPO’ at Guildhall Art Gallery, featuring material from The British Postal Museum & Archive (BPMA) and the Royal Philatelic Collection. The BPMA is also coordinating this wider festival, which includes special displays at the British Library, the Royal Philatelic Society, London, the British Museum, Marylebone Cricket Club Museum at Lord’s, and several other venues across London. A range of philatelic events throughout the UK are also being coordinated by the Association of British Philatelic Societies.

2010 also sees the 170th Anniversary of the Penny Black and Twopenny Blue, the world’s first adhesive postage stamps.

Michael Sefi, Keeper of the Royal Philatelic Collection, commented: “We are delighted to have The Queen as Patron for this very exciting Festival, which will bring stamps and philately to a wider audience”.