The snow and icy conditions prevented a high attendance, but a good and extensive range of registered mail was collectively displayed and some very useful discussion took place in a good-humoured atmosphere. As always, there were some ‘housekeeping’ matters to raise. We were pleased to announce the forthcoming displays at the Royal Philatelic Society on 28th February 2013, which will include a Northern Rhodesia Aviation display from Keith Harrop, Rhodesian Essays and Die Proofs from 1890 -1924 from Colin Hoffman and Early Selected BCA material from Ian Cubbin. As this is yet another important showing of ‘our area’ at the ‘Royal’, RSC members were encouraged to show up in support. (Remember non-RPSL members are most welcome but will have to be signed in, so best to tell Colin Hoffman if you plan to attend – please do!).
Future RSC conferences were discussed. The Holiday Inn, York was booked for 12 13 14 April RSC Conference. Both Colin Hoffman and Anita McCullough have checked out the venue and all is looking highly suitable. Attendance (with partners) is promising to be strong. Furthermore, 2014 Conference is already provisionally booked at the Hallmark Hotel in Gloucester for early April 2014. So many splendid things to look forward to that we didn’t even, on this occasion, touch on the very significant Melbourne gathering, which will be a great event for sure.
Cliff Wheatley was the first to display with a time-arranged survey of predominantly early registered covers. Broad and representative and like other displays in the day, the result of years of steady accumulation, whether for the stamps or the registration labels or the postmarks. (Even though the focus was on the registered mail aspect, we were treated during the day to some stunningly rare postmarks and some fine stamps as well). Cliff showed various Specimen, unused registered envelopes; pointing out things like Waterlows imprints that are found under certain envelope flaps. Rates were worthy of note, such as a triple rate on an item to U.S.A. in 1896. Mention was made of 1909 as the earliest date for actual registration labels.
Mark Thomas followed with a display of selected registered covers, early and modern,and mostly from Northern Rhodesia, pointing out unusual items that he has aqquired. He mentioned the fact that as registered mail was rightly regarded as a serious matter, they are often a good source of clear postmarks and transit postmarks as well. This, he added was particularly true concerning Zambian postmarks that can be the devil to collect on Zambian stamps and on piece alone.
Peter O’Keeffe then showed what he called ‘mainly rubbish’, (in keeping with the ‘R’ theme!) but registered mail that appoached the modern period. As always with Peter there was a lot more treasure in his display than his introduction implied. Peter is one of those RSC members, like one or two others, that invariably ‘complete the story’ on whatever subject is being dealt with.
Richard Barnett took us up to the tea break and the Single Sheet competition. As an authority on Southern Rhodesian registered mail, particularly the classification of the registered labels, he was able to select an extensive range of material from the first use of labels in 1909 to the last Southern Rhodesia ones in 1980 . He made a useful point that labels frequently needed to be ‘used up’ due to over-production and other factors. Richard Barnett has, of course, recently published Memoir 24: ‘The Registration Marks and Labels of the British South Africa Company and Southern Rhodesia 1892 – 1980′, which is indispensable on the subject.
After the break, Peter O’Keeffe turned over his display and showed the flip side(s)! “More Rubbish”. One thing that was highlighted was usage by the bank which would apply their own handstamps. This cropped up again in Nick Guy’s display.
Peter Hickman waded in with stunning display. Mainly registered mail, but also things beginning with the letter ‘R’. Firstly his Livermore award-winning items on the early printed registered envelopes demonstrating flaws and discrepancies in the lettering. Then a comlplete set of six early “oilette’ postcards from a British Empire exhibition, paintings of Nyasaland subjects. He put up issued registered envelopes, a number very uncommon and some bearing distinguished Northern Rhodesia postmarks. He also showed some rare roller marks (not machine cancellations).We saw the crisp and complete postmark of Northern Rhodesia on a card/cover (subsequently Kalunguisi), plus other examples. Peter has worked hard at his collecting over more than forty years – and it certainly shows.
Nick Guy finished the day with “more rubbish”. He concentrated mostly on recent Zambian registered mail with handstamps from a range of commercial institutions. It was a fascinating display that I cannot recall having seen tackled before. It was inexpensive-looking material and modern in that “there must be thousands of them” kind of way, but the subject begged further research and somehow it was fitting as the final word on the day. The social philately that the London RSC readily provides lifts us in all our areas of collecting and research – and sends us scuttling back to dusty stockbooks.
If you don’t attend meetings, you don’t know the half of it!
The Single Sheet competition was won this year by Mark Thomas with a BSAC licence for a Mr A.C.R.Miller to Carry a Breech Loading Gun, issued to himself at Mporokoso, 11th June 1906. As always some most interesting items are entered. Arnold Berman brought along a wonderful large, linen -backed map from early Southern Rhodesia that showed a wealth of mining sites, missionary stations, etc. One day, it was suggested, we should have a maps workshop before a regular meeting and give them a good airing.
NEXT LONDON MEETING: at the Royal Philatelic Society, London, Saturday, 29thJune 2013 at 1.00pm.
Subject: The theme for June is ‘Toil and Trouble – your interpretation please’ (yes, I know it’s odd; blame Anita)
London Meetings Organiser