• Editorial
  • Membership News and Information
  • Book Review
  • Remembering David Parsons
  • Matters Arising
  • Members Ask
  • Members Share
  • Reports of Meetings and Exhibitions:

    South West England (24/10/2021)
    Manchester Virtual (11/11/2021)
    Manchester Virtual (12/12/2021)
    Melbourne (3/12/2021)
    North America Virtual (4/12/2021)
    Manchester Virtual (15/1/2022)
    Manchester Virtual (12/2/2022)
    South West England Virtual (10/2/2022)
    Specialised Virtual Meeting on the 1d Double Head (16/2/2022)
    London (22/2/2022)
    London 2022 International Exhibition (19-26/2/2022)

  • Rhodesian and Zimbabwean military formation and unit cachets: Part 2 – Depot,
  • The Rhodesia Regiment – Richard Berry Quitrent Receipt with 7/6d Rhodesia Admiral
  • The latest Storey – Brian Coop
  • The new Victoria Falls stamp, an interesting July, 1905, postal stationery correspondence – Jeremy Jackman
  • British Central Africa: Ports, Gunboats, Paddle Wheelers and Watersports – Colin Fraser
  • Francestown Postmark – Brian Zlotnick
  • Rhodesia Forces in Malaya – Keith Harrop
  • Imperial Airways and beyond – Nick Guy
  • A hardworking cover – David Spivack
  • Rhodesia and Tobacco – Mark Thomas
  • Victoria Falls: A feat on the imagination – Narendhra Morar
  • The Rhodesian Stamp Collectors’ Club – Walter Herdzik
  • Southern Rhodesia World War II – Keith Harrop
  • Fiscal use of the Southern Rhodesia George V Field Marshal and Silver Jubilee stamps by the Bulawayo Magistrate’s Court – Charles Lloyd
  • Ebay Observations


  • Editorial                                                                                           
  • Membership News and Information                           
  • Obituary: Allan MacLaren                                                                          
  • Matters Arising                                                                              
  • Members Share                                                                              
  • Reports of RSC Meetings and Exhibitions:                 
  • London (16/9/2021)        
  • Melbourne Virtual (30/10/2021)        
  • South African Nationals (21-23/10/2021)        
  • Some recent Ebay activity        
  • The Armbruster Cover – Brian Coop        
  • Bond of Security with Second Bulawayo
  • Provisional Stamps – Patrick Flanagan        
  • Lobengula’s Seals Revealed – Paul Hubbard        
  • Imperial Airways’ Meikles Hotel Advertising
  • Cancellation – Peter Wingent        
  • Two covers and three names: White, Willoughby and Govett – Ian Gordon-Cumming        
  • An interesting 1d Rhodesia Admiral – Miguel Bernardo        
  • Postage Due Labels Pay for Delivery in Harare – David Frye        
  • The Southern Rhodesia WWII Octagonal Censor Handstamp – Keith Harrop and Mark Loomis      
  • “Ghost” Print on 1963 1/- NR Postage Due – Patrick Moore and Adam Goulding       
  • The Machine Cancellations of Southern Rhodesia during Federation 1953-1963 – Mike Hughes       
  • Zimbabwe: An abbreviated Postal History – Rod Kantor       
  • Tuppence Worth – Adam Goulding       
  • Nyasaland Slogan Cancels – John Shawley       
  • The Mkushi Postage Due, type written in red –
  • Patrick Flanagan       
  • Kariba in Black and White – Narendhra Morar       
  • Charles George Glass: Does the creator of Castle Lager have a connection with Rhodesia? – Adrian de Bourbon       
  • Revenue use of the Penny Double Head in Rhodesia – Sean Burke       
  • A.J. Storey Correspondence 1897-1941 – John Shawley       



  • Editorial                                                                                          
  • Membership News and Information                          
  • Book Review                                                                                  
  • Matters Arising                                                                             
  • Members Ask                                                                                
  • Members Share                                                                             
  • Reports of RSC Meetings and Exhibitions:       
  • The Great American Stamp Show (12-15/8/2021)        
  • Manchester Virtual (21/8/2021)        
  • North America Virtual (12/9/2021)        
  • Manchester Virtual (18/9/2021)        
  • The Newspaper Parcel Stamps of Rhodesia
  • Railways 1903-1908 – Mike Hughes       
  • Cigarette Tax Labels of Southern Rhodesia and the Federation 1914-1963 – Adrian de Bourbon       
  • Emory D. Alvord – Rhodesia’s first agricultural missionary – Mark Loomis
  • Tatty but scarce! – Peter Wingent       
  • Three Paris Missionary Society related Barotseland Covers in the recent Spink “Greca’ Auction – Sean Burke       
  • James Hodgson and Arthur Rhodes – a Deed of Transfer – Adrian de Bourbon       
  • Judging a book by its cover – Sean Burke       
  • 1959 SG 21 Rhodesia & Nyasaland 2½d De La Rue printing: missing colour – Dave Cooper       
  • The City of Karachi at Blantyre in 1933 – Peter Wingent       
  • Malawi Stamp Artwork: Christmas – Stuart Ross       
  • Stanley Gibbons 2022 ‘Part 1’ BSAC Admiral Catalogue Revisions – Summary of Listing Changes – David Spivack       
  • Where’s Wally? Counterfeits I’ve Acquired Recently – Charles Berg       
  • British Central Africa: the 1899 10/- denomination – Colin Fraser       
  • The Admiral 1923 Perf. 15 stamps – Andrew Wilson       
  • Southern Rhodesia Large Falls Specimens & Die Proofs – Dave Cooper       
  • A miscellany of overs; a slightly different perspective – Justin Corfield       
  • Rhodesian and Zimbabwean military formation and unit cachets:  Part 1- Introduction to the series and The Grey’s Scouts – Richard Berry       
  • The influence of postcards: Victoria Falls – Colin Hoffman       
  • Certificates of Extra Work – Christopher Cooksey             
  • Sealed for Final Delivery: Zimbabwe Customs Tape on a Registered Letter Destined for Harare – David Frye
  • An interesting postcard from Bulawayo – Peter Wingent                                                                           

The Bi-colours of the Rhodesian Double Heads – Reah-Johnson & Hensman

Mission Statement – Rhodesia Double Heads

by Stephen Reah-Johnson and Simon Hensman

It is the aim of this current work to be a collector’s companion for those particularly interested in the 1910-1914 Rhodesia bi-colours called the Double Heads, thought by many to be the most attractive issue of the British Empire.

It must be made clear from the first that this work is not meant to degrade the previously published work of the Double Head Committee (DHC) in the Rhodesia Study Circle (RSC) Journals, which was based on the catalogues of Stanley Gibbons, the RM Gibbs collection of 1987, and the Sir Gawaine Baillie collection as represented in the 2006 auction catalogue.  These were a pioneering work, suggesting all sorts of possibilities, but too complex and ambiguous to be used as a collector’s companion for all except the most undaunted.

The current work has preserved what has withstood the test of time, played down categories that have proved to be speculative, and attempted to rearrange all in what we think is their chronological order, based on head-plate type, head and frame flaw development, and usage dates, which we think is much more collector-friendly.

As a result, many listings have been simplified, a few have been added, and there has been a general improvement in the descriptions of colours, printing texture, gums and papers, etc.  And, colour pictures have been added.  The records of numbers printed, of those sent to the Stamp Registry in Salisbury (Rhodesia), of those remaindered, or of those claimed by the marginal dates on the Waterlow files sheets have been reconciled, to the extent possible.  (But, beware that only fiscal or proper postal frankings can be used to date printings; the CTO’s, which show in-period dates from 1911 to 1913, were not applied until 1924, and can be misleading.  In a number of cases such cancels actually predate the printing of the stamps.)

For the first time, fiscal usage has been given equal consideration with those postally used and mint – as being a very essential part of the complete story.  In fact, fiscally used stamps are not only more affordable but often have superb colour if kept for their duration on a fresh document.

The distribution of printings that we see in post-marked and fiscal examples from 1910 to, say, 1917 is often very different from the distribution we see today in collections and auctions owing to low vs high survival rates and the fact that some printings, despite their frankings, were never sent to Rhodesia.  Some items are almost unknown postally used; others are scarce mint.  Rarity today has little to do with the number printed.  Quite often the profile they present of stamps in 1910-1913 Rhodesia is very different from the survival pattern we see today.

We have avoided, to a large extent, the description of proving Plate flaws except the most obvious or essential.  Though they are worth something of a premium, they are a separate and very complex subject, which is addressed elsewhere.

Finally, this is not meant to be the final word on anything; the aim has been to put the collector in the position of taking part in a meaningful dialogue about final words.

A Word About Certificates and Lists

Certificates do three things that must be kept separate in the collector’s mind:

(1) They appraise condition, detect flaws or repairs, and ascertain fakes.

(2) They forensically identify printings based on special knowledge.

(3) They offer opinions.

In the first, (1), the detection of flaws, repairs, and fakes, most services do a reasonably good job.  But expertisation, (2), and opinions, (3), are done outside the scene, for some reason, and in secrecy — so that the “expert” is mythologized and cloaked in mystery.  There is no excuse for this.  The reason for coming to some conclusion re: identity, (2), should be made plain and the operations involved should be delineated.

Opinions, (3), on the other hand, occur in those situations where the forensic criteria are not visible or not available—in which case, a comparison must be made to a known, proven example, but comparisons introduce the possibility of error; or where it is just a question of shades, or e.g. where one must make a call between anilinity and ink-run.  These are not expertisations and should not be confused with them.

In the list that follows, whole numbers indicate categories that can be forensically expertised, (2).  The collector is entitled to query the basis in any given case.  But, (3), letters after numbers — -A, -B, -C, etc — indicate subcategories from the same Plate state that are becoming more or less distinct but cannot be forensically separated.  (These are fairly clear and not so much matters of opinion.)  But, shades and variants are vaguer still, and in these, opinion plays an even greater role; they are not facts and should not be given the status of expertisations.  Many certification practices do not keep these distinctions clear.

There are over a dozen services that sometimes do Double Heads: the R.P.S. (Royal Philatelic Society), the B.P.A Expertising (U.K.), David Brandon (U.K.), Sergio Sismondo (Canada), Peter Holcombe (Switzerland), Alberto Diena (Italy), the Philatelic Foundation (New York), A.P.E.X. (American Philatelic Expertizing Service), the P.F.S.A. (Philatelic Federation of Southern Africa, Chris Ceremuga (Australia), and even Gibbs himself.  Of these, the most reliable has been the B.P.A., which almost always got it right, and Gibbs, who always got it right and wrote certificates well worth reading.  Descriptions in auction catalogues have often proven less reliable.  Even major catalogues can also be misleading — check the 8d SG 146 vs SG 148, our No.3; or the 2/- SG 154a, our 1A.  Furthermore, the DHC can add to the confusion — check the 10/- SG 163 and RSC-A, both our No. 3, Hook III.

A Word About Ultra Violet Lamps

The use of U.V. lamps is another point of confusion.  It has never been understood until recently that knowing the filter used by U.V. lamp manufacturers (or whether there is a filter at all) is of utmost importance.  A standard short-wave lamp without a filter (as is most commonly found in the philatelic trade) shows dramatic differences in reaction as compared to a short-wave lamp with a filter (as is more commonly found in the forensic/mineral trade).  It is the latter that is far more beneficial (if not essential) to help sort a number of double head printings.  Conversely, where long-wave lamps and their reactions are cited, it is those lamps that are without a filter that are more helpful.  The role of U.V. lamps has its place in the DH picture, but we caution against depending too much on the perceived U.V. property, except for gross differentiations.


There is nothing wrong with developing ever longer lists of shades and variants ad infinitum, based on ever finer differentiations of degrees of anilinity, nuances in U.V. light, or of colour.  The collector must decide for himself whether he wants to accept these, or indeed, if he wants to build a list of his own.  The list that follows may supply a base from which such an enterprise might take off.

Analysis of each Value:

Rhodesian Study Circle Annual Conference 2022

Conference 2022

Friday, 29 April, to Sunday, 1 May.

The Strawberry Bank
Main Road, Meriden, Coventry, West Midlands, CV7 7NF, UK



Friday 29 April

9.00 – 12.00 Morning:

Silent display by Andrew Wilson (UK) – Fauna and Flora meet philately

12 noon: RSC Council Meeting

1.45pm – Welcome and Opening

2.00 – 3.00pm RSC AGM (in-person and on Zoom)

3.15 – 3.45pm – Derek Lambert (UK) – Lake Tanganyika WW1 – Before, during and after

4.00 – 4.30pm – Ian Menzies (Switzerland) – Images, Icons and Identity – philatelic representations of colonial Africa before and after the First World War

4.30 – 5.15pm – Dave Trathen (UK): Rhodesia’s UDI Propaganda Machine

7.00pm – Dinner

Saturday 30 April

9.00 – 10.00am  Adrian de Bourbon (UK) – The Revenue Stamps and Documents of Southern Rhodesia 1924-1953 

10.30 – 11.30am Narendhra Morar (UK) – Colour, Class and Caste: My family and other Indians

11.30am -12.30pm  Pat Flanagan (South Africa) – Zimbabwe stamp production since 1990

12.30pm – 1.30 Lunch:  plus Livermore, Single Sheet and Postcard competitions

2.00 – 2.30pm  Christopher Cooksey (UK) – Active Service Air Letters (Zoom Session)

2.30 – 3.30pm  Peter Hickman (UK) – Four frames of fine registered covers

3.45- 4.15pm   David Spivack (USA) – The Admiral listing changes in the Stanley Gibbons Catalogue

4.15 – 4.45pm  Andrew Wilson (UK) – a complementary selection of Admirals

4.45 – 5.15pm Huw Williams (UK) – Selected items from a forthcoming RSC auction. TBC

8.00pm Dinner

Sunday 1 May         

9.00 – 9.20am Geoff Brakspear (UK) – Further updates to the Encyclopaedias

9.20 – 9.40am Anita McCullough (UK) – Dissecting Memoir 32

9.40 – 10.00am Dirk Kind (UK) – The triple-ring cancellations

10.30  – 10.45am Sean Burke (Australia) – Celebrating recent publications

10.45 – 11.15am Peter Hickman (UK) – Choice and previously un-displayed postal history

11.15-11.35am Ian Shapiro (UK) – The challenge of auctioneering

11.35 – 12.00noon Andrew Wilson (UK) –  ‘Anecdotes’ from his Friday display


The RSC Annual Competitions

The 2020 and 2021 Livermore, Postcard and Single Sheet Virtual Competition entries and results, along with the 2022 entries may be viewed on the website.


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