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'Passed by British Philatelic Association'

Introduction

Early in World War II, exchange controls on the export of capital and capital assets were set up by the Government to ensure that exports were paid for with hard currency or a barter agreement, and imports paid for via the proper currency channels. Valuable small items like stamps had potential for evading the controls by being sent out of the country in the post to be sold abroad. Although censors could be expected to realise the value of items such as jewels, spotting a rare stamp among a packet of common material took expertise.

In order to trade, permission from the Foreign Exchange Control Department of the Bank of England was required. When the "Phoney War" ended in May 1940 the rules were tightened up. From 1st July, export of stamps was prohibited except under licence. The stamp trade was hardly vital to the war effort, but as a net exporter it brought in valuable foreign currency.

A meeting of stamp dealers agreed that the British Philatelic Association (BPA) would operate a "Philatelic Import and Export Control", under a committee of leading figures in the trade. This proposal was readily accepted by the Government departments concerned, and full details were published in Stamp Collecting's July 20th issue. Anyone wishing to trade in stamps overseas had to obtain a permit from the BPA, who acted as agents for the Board of Trade and the censor, assuming responsibility for the bona fides of the sender and also for payment of the sum due.

Packages for export had to be sent to the Central Clearing House in the BPA offices at 3, Berners Street, W1, to be checked. Dealers had to inform overseas correspondents to address stamps sent to Britain c/o the BPA, who opened them to ensure that invoice and contents matched, recording the sender and value of all packets. An enclosed prepaid envelope addressed to the customer was required, normally for registered post -- although most dealers in Central London preferred to make their own arrangements for collection and delivery at Berners Street.

This self-regulatory system applied to all stamp sales and exchanges, by dealers, exchange clubs, and private collectors. There was no fee for the service, even for non-members of the BPA. Currency restrictions remained after the war, however, and although regulations were relaxed for the "sterling area" shortly after VE Day, the BPA continued to act as a middleman for other stamp imports and exports until 30th June 1953, having performed a crucial role in keeping the stamp trade going during difficult times.

This exhibit gives a broad overview of the BPA Control, showing cachets, postal arrangements, forms, and general workings of the system, as well as some related matters such as the treatment of certain items of philatelic mail by the censor.


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Frame 1

Introduction
  1. Introduction
Pre-Control Philatelic Mail
  1. Philatelic Letter in Transit to USA at Outbreak of War
  2. Philatelic Letter Sent During 'Phoney War' Period
  3. Censored Philatelic Letter Sent During 'Phoney War' Period
  4. Application for a Permit to Export Stamps (1)
  5. Application for a Permit to Export Stamps (2)
  6. Whitfield King - Purchase of Wartime New Issues
  7. Currency Declaration Form Numbers Specified by Whitfield King
  8. Whitfield King Permit Numbers
  9. Stamp Collecting - A Patriotic Act?
  10. "Help Pay for the War" Label on Philatelic Package
  11. See sheet 11
  12. "Philately and the War" - Booklet by Dealer E.F.Hurt
  13. "Philately and the War" - Text of E.F.Hurt's Booklet (1)
  14. "Philately and the War" - Text of E.F.Hurt's Booklet (2)
  15. "Philately and the War" - Text of E.F.Hurt's Booklet (3)
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Frame 2

The BPA Control During the War
  1. Letter from Winifred Worsell Describing the BPA Control
  2. Early Letter Sent via the Control
  3. Two Early Letters via the BPA Control
  4. Letters Sent via the Control
  5. Makeup of Registered Packets
  6. BPA Control Registration "Sub-Office" Number
  7. Trade Permit Censor Mark
  8. Non-Registered Letters Sent via the Control
  9. Cachet Signed by S.E.Murphy
  10. S.E.Murphy Signature on OHMS Letter
  11. See sheet 26
  12. Application Form for Stamp Import Permit via BPA (1)
  13. Application Form for Stamp Import Permit via BPA (2)
  14. Changed Addressing Arrangements for Dealers
  15. Censorship Regulations for Stamps Sent to Northern Ireland
  16. Stanley Gibbons Mailing Address via the BPA
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Frame 3

The BPA Control During the War (cont)
  1. Approval Selection with Exchange Rules Noted
  2. Form BPA/1 For Export of Stamps (1)
  3. Form BPA/1 For Export of Stamps (2)
  4. Form BPA/1 For Export of Stamps (3)
  5. British Colonial Offers - Advantages to US Collectors
  6. Carrying On Trade Despite the Blitz (But Using A Lettersheet)
  7. Supply of Swedish New Issues to Whitfield King, 1942
  8. Letter to Famous US Dealer with Permit Number Marked
  9. Permit Mail to RAF Officer in Northern Ireland, No Sequence Number
  10. Incoming Philatelic Mail via the BPA
  11. Unregistered Mail to Dealers Checked and Forwarded by the BPA
  12. Check Mail for the Children's Fund via Stanley Gibbons
  13. Dealer First Day Covers Subject to the Control
  14. The End of Regular Censorship
  15. Whitfield King - Correspondence from Overseas Contacts
  16. Soldier on Active Service Requesting Stamps
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Frame 4

The BPA Control During the War (cont)
  1. Airgraph Messages Relating to Unavailability of Stamps
  2. Letter via the BPA Control Examined by the US Authorities
  3. Stamp Sending Examined by Both British and US Philatelic Controls
The BPA Control After the War
  1. J.Sanders of Southampton Returns After the End of the War
  2. Post-War Stamp Exchanges
  3. Channel Islands Collector Starting Again After the Occupation
  4. Change from Type 1 to Type 2 Cachet
  5. The Second Type BPA Control Cachet
  6. Non-Registered Letters with Type 2 Cachets
  7. Use of Western District Office for BPA Registered Postings
  8. First Restart of Numbering Sequence, 1947
  9. Second Restart of Numbering Sequence, 1951
  10. Late Use of Type 1 Cachet
  11. The Third Type BPA Control Cachet
  12. The Fourth Type BPA Control Cachet
  13. Later Treatment of Incoming Mail via the BPA
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Frame 5

The BPA Control After the War (cont)
  1. Incoming Mail from China Not via the BPA
  2. See sheet 65
  3. Incoming Mail from China via the BPA
  4. See sheet 67
  5. Incoming Mail from Mexico with Stamps Redirected to the BPA by the Customs
  6. See sheet 69
  7. Incoming Mail from Mexico with Stamps Not Redirected to the BPA by the Customs
  8. See sheet 71
  9. Undeliverable Letters Returned via the Control
Miscellaneous Aspects of the BPA Control
  1. Supply of Stamps to Dealers
  2. Recruiting Leaflet for BPA, 1947
  3. See sheet 75
  4. British Philatelic Association Cachet and Printed Envelope
  5. "Philately" - The Journal of the British Philatelic Association
  6. "Official Paid" Labels for Dealers to Send Stamps to the BPA
  7. Letters Sent Via the Control with Customs "Green Label"
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Frame 6

Miscellaneous Aspects of the BPA Control (cont)
  1. Expertised Stamps Returned via the Control
  2. Stamps Sent by Exile Governments
  3. Promotional Item Sent Via the BPA Control
  4. Postal Stationery and the Philatelic Exchange Control
  5. Insured Mail Sent via the Control
  6. Dates for Elements of the BPA Control Appearing on Covers (1)
  7. Dates for Elements of the BPA Control Appearing on Covers (2)
  8. Dates for Elements of the BPA Control Appearing on Covers (3)
General Censorship of Philatelic Mail
  1. First Day Cover to Belgium with Instructions to the Censor
  2. See sheet 89
  3. Returned to Sender by the Censor - Form P.C.178 (revised) (1)
  4. Returned to Sender by the Censor - Form P.C.178 (revised) (2)
  5. Returned to Sender by the Censor - Form P.C.178 (revised) (3)
  6. Return of Letters Found to Contain Stamps
  7. See sheet 94
  8. Treatment of Letters Containing Stamps Sent Without Licence
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Frame 7

General Censorship of Philatelic Mail (cont)
  1. Return of Letters Found to Contain Stamps (1)
  2. Return of Letters Found to Contain Stamps (2)
  3. See sheet 98
  4. Collectors Referred Back to the British Philatelic Association
  5. Return to Sender by Order of H.M.Customs - Form R.962
  6. Postage Stamps Returned Due to Lack of Licence
  7. Post-War Export of Stamps by Private Collector Refused
  8. PC82 Censorís Memorandum - Sending Postage Stamps Abroad
  9. Private Stamp Exchanges Stopped by the Censors
  10. Letter to Collector from the BPA
  11. Stamps Missing When Letter Opened for Censorship
  12. Condemned Philatelic Mail (1)
  13. Condemned Philatelic Mail (2)
  14. Condemned and Released Swedish "Stamp Day" Letter
Post-Control Philatelic Mail
  1. Stamp Exports Under £10
  2. Stamp Exports Under £25