Tag Archives: stamp competition

Autumn Stampex 2010

 by Jennifer Flippance, 2010 Exhibitions & Project Manager

Stampex at the Business Design Centre

Stampex at the Business Design Centre

If your interest in stamps and postal history has been piqued by our blog posts or any the events that have taken place this year as part of the London 2010: Festival of Stamps, why not go along to Stampex next week.

Stampex takes place twice a year at the Business Design Centre in Islington, London. It’s free and 2010 Autumn Stampex is on 15-18th September.

There are many dealers’ stands, including a substantial presence from Royal Mail. Get the new stamps (Medical Breakthroughs) from their first day of issue on Thursday and from Friday you can get brand new pictorial Post & Go stamps. Don’t miss the instant Smiler booth.

I like to stock up on attractive commemorative stamps I’ve missed during the year to use on my own post. It’s always much nicer for someone to receive a special stamp.

Competitive stamp displays at Stampex

Competitive stamp displays at Stampex

Everyone who attends Stampex gets a free postcard and the opportunity to buy other special products only available at the show. There are also displays from the National Competitions of the Association of British Philatelic Societies.

The BPMA Friends will be manning a stand as usual. Pop over to say hello and pick up the brand new free 2010 postcard featuring George V. We’ll also have a selection of our postal themed products on sale, including the popular new Post Offices book by Julian Stray.

Kids auction at Stampex

Kids auction

One of my favourite parts is the children’s auction on Saturday, which is always great fun to watch. Any young philatelists who come along get the chance to collect points by doing activities and these can then be spent at the auction on stamps. There’s always a lot of tactical bidding!

For more details including directions and opening times see – http://www.stampex.ltd.uk/

Solihull Stamp Fair & Midland Philatelic Federation Spring Convention

by John H Barker, Solihull Philatelic Society

Visitors to this third Regional event organised by members of the Association of British Philatelic Societies came to Solihull on a warm sunny day to enjoy the spirit of London 2010: Festival of Stamps.

Brian Goodey, Chairman of the Trustees of the British Postal Museum & Archive opened the Fair with words of encouragement to collectors about the Festival of Stamps and how it is providing a stimulus for organised philately in the UK. Brian outlined some of the developments at the BPMA in its search for new premises. After much thought and careful evaluation, a decision has been made to focus on siting the new premises in the old chain testing works at Swindon.

John Smith, winner of the aerophilately class

John Smith, winner of the aerophilately class

19 competitive exhibits were on display, each of 16 sheets. Awards were presented by John Baron, Chairman of the Executive Committee of the ABPS to John Smith of Solihull who won best in show with his aerophilatelic exhibit of ‘DLH South America’ with Laurance Kimpton, also of Solihull, coming a close second with ‘The RAF Cairo – Baghdad Airmail Service’.

Clive Jones, who won the Postal History class with ‘Halifax Postal History’

Clive Jones, who won the Postal History class with ‘Halifax Postal History’

Clive Jones, Solihull, won the Postal History class with ‘Halifax Postal History’, Chris Jackson, Redditch, won the Open class with ‘ The Fishing Industry in Redditch’, John Smith, Solihull, won the Traditional class with ‘British Somaliland’ and David Gabe, Loughborough, won the Thematic class with ‘Mathematics and Philately’.

Tony Whitehead won the popular vote with GB GV Postal Orders

Tony Whitehead won the popular vote with GB GV Postal Orders

A popular vote by visitors to the Fair for the BPMA Open Trophy resulted in Tony Whitehead of Solihull taking the Trophy with his entry on GB GV Postal Orders and Colin Searle, also of Solihull, coming second.

The British Thematic Association held a successful workshop during the morning and the Great Britain Philatelic Society and Midlands (GB) Postal History Society both held meetings in the afternoon. A steady stream of members of the public brought in collections for valuation by Tony Lester, Auctioneers who kindly supported the event.  John Davies provided a Stamp Active Network table for younger visitors attending the Fair.

The Solihull Philatelic Society starts a new season in September with meetings every Tuesday evening at the Solihull Cricket and Tennis Club, Marsh Lane, Solihull. Our excellent Library, club packets and auctions provide members with support for their collecting interests. New members and visitors are always welcome.

For further details visit www.solihullphilatelicsociety.org.uk or contact Paul Woodness on 01564 776879.

London 2010: International Stamp Exhibition

Last Saturday the London 2010: International Stamp Exhibition opened at the Business Design Centre in Islington, London.

Eagerly awaited by enthusiasts, and taking place just once every ten years, this 8-day stamp spectacular is one of the highlights of the London 2010 Festival of Stamps.

Royal Mail's stand at the London 2010: International Stamp Exhibition

Royal Mail's stand at the London 2010: International Stamp Exhibition

There is much to see (and buy!) at the show, with over 200 stand holders, including many foreign postal administrations, plus numerous societies represented.

The centre piece is the impressive Royal Mail stand, surmounted by two arches of giant stamps. Around the exterior of the stand is a display put together by the British Postal Museum & Archive with unique items from both our collections and the security printers Enschedé.

Half the display deals with the low value stamps of King George V’s reign, including the Downey head stamps – the first stamps of George V’s reign – and declared a ‘disaster’! The display includes dies, rollers and printing plates, including some for unissued stamps.

The intaglio printing plate used to print The King's Stamps, alongside some examples

The intaglio printing plate used to print The King's Stamps, alongside some examples

The other half of the display brings the story up to date with describing how the printers Enschedé produced the new 2010 stamps, based on the 1913 Seahorse and 1924 Wembley stamps.  This includes the actual intaglio printing plate.

Other things to look out for include the competitive displays. Over the 8 day show there will be 2400 frames of competitive exhibits on show. Each frame holds 16 stamp album sheets, so that’s a lot of stamps in total! There are many different entries on every conceivable subject, from the British Occupation stamp issues of Iraq (1917-1923) to ‘A Glimpse into the World of Beer’! The full list of entries can be seen here.

The world’s largest envelope

The world’s largest envelope

Hanging from the ceiling you might notice a large grey envelope. In fact it is officially the world’s largest envelope – sent by Stanley Gibbons to Brian Trotter, organiser of the show.

One of the rarest and most valuable stamps in the world is also on display; the only known example of a Swedish 3 skilling stamp inadvertently printed in yellow instead of green. It will be put up for auction after the exhibition.

The show lasts until Saturday 15 May.

London 2010 International Stamp Exhibition

Philatelist Richard West explains why he’s looking forward to the London 2010 International Stamp Exhibition.

The London 2010 International Stamp Exhibition provides the almost unrivalled prospect of being able to see many of the finest stamp collections from around the world. Although international stamp exhibitions are held two or three times a year, it is only every ten years that the United Kingdom plays host, so it is just once a decade that the opportunity arises to see the best of the world of stamps, on one’s home territory.

Cape of Good Hope cover

Cape of Good Hope cover

And just as the event attracts the finest collections, so it also means that the cream of the world’s stamp dealers and auctioneers will be having a stand at London 2010, providing collectors with a good chance of filling at least one or two gaps in the collection.

Mulready envelope with two penny blacks and a more to pay stamp

Mulready envelope with two penny blacks and a more to pay stamp

The Business Design Centre in Islington will be a magnet for enthusiasts from 8th to 15th May, and most will need to visit twice, because the displays are being changed half way through: the collections on show on 12th to 15th May will be different from those to be seen on 8th to 11th May.

Penny black cover

Penny black cover

In addition there will be an area dedicated to enthusing the young into the wonders of stamp collecting. The Stamp Active Network will be providing activities for young people throughout the exhibition, and no youngster will leave without a few goodies to add to or start a fascinating stamp collection.

Autumn Stampex 2009

The recreated Victorian Post Office at Blists Hill

The recreated Victorian Post Office at Blists Hill

This year’s Autumn Stampex starts next Wednesday and if you’re going make sure you look out for the BPMA. There will be displays on our re-created Victorian Post Office at Blists Hill, Ironbridge, as well as London 2010: Festival of Stamps. You will also be able to find a stall run by the Friends of the BPMA amongst the dealers. The Friends will be selling some of the products available in our Shop and can give you general information about BPMA activities and events. See you there!

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.

The man who posted his dog and other reasons to visit a stamp show

by Jennifer Flippance, London 2010 Project Officer

Stamp shows are an important element of philately and stamp collecting, providing an opportunity for collectors to catch up with friends, purchase items, exchange material, attend society meetings and enter their collections in competition.

Visitors and traders at Westbex 2009

Visitors and traders at WestBex 2009

Last weekend, I took a trip out to the first show of the year to be held by one of the regional federations of the Association of British Philatelic Societies, the Thames Valley & District Philatelic Federation stamp show – Westbex 2009.  It was hosted by the Thatcham and District Philatelic Society, a popular stamp club of over 80 members who meet twice a month.  The show took up two halls in a local school, which were mainly filled with dealers, catering for a wide range of tastes and budgets.

In addition there were prize-winning displays from members.  Stamp collecting has an active competitive element.  Enthusiasts collect, write up and display a topic of their choosing and these displays can be entered into a variety of classes.  These range from the more formal classes like traditional philately and postal history, but also include thematic classes and open classes where a much wider range of material, beyond stamps, can be displayed.

The National Philatelic Society also held a meeting where members could present a small selection of their collection.  These covered a broad range of subjects, from Machin stamps to posted autographs, to the history of the Post Office Savings Bank.

Viewing the competition entries, WestBex 2009

I found one prize-winning exhibit particularly interesting.  Its subject was W. Reginald Bray (1879-1939), who experimented by sending items through the post that challenged the postal system, for example, by being unusual objects or through having challenging addresses.

Bray posted himself (he is actually believed to be the first ‘human letter’) and the family dog, along with less animated items such as a turnip, sheep’s skull and bowler hat.

Some of the fascinating items on display from this eccentric individual included postcards made from shirt cuffs and others addressed, ‘to a resident of…‘ followed by an image of the town cut from a picture postcard with no other clue as to where it might be.  Some letters had addresses written in verse or picture puzzles.  Many were returned, officially stamped (and you can imagine the rather vexed postal employee) ‘CONTRARY TO REGULATIONS’ or ‘INSUFFICIENTLY ADDRESSED’. 

Next year, ABPS regional shows like WestBex, will form part of the London 2010: Festival of Stamps, aiming to attract new members to this rewarding hobby.  The dates of 2010 shows are available at www.london2010.org.uk/exhibitions-and-events