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GBPS Programme 2011-2012

Saturday 17th September 2011 - Autumn Stampex Meeting

Business Design Centre, 52 Upper Street, Islington N1 0QH (map)

2pmFlying Seahorses, Emblems on Parade and Far-flung Festivals (details
Iain's display concentrates on the usage of GB high values from the reigns of both King Georges in a very diverse range of postal applications.

The display commences with the express experimental airmail to Paris of 1919, and continues through Seahorse commercial usage, and intercontinental airmails of the 1930s incorporating Iain's award-winning "Flying down to Rio", with complex and difficult routes and rates featured worldwide.

The first "Emblems" high value was issued at the outbreak of World War II; usage was inextricably tied to wartime and subsequent austerity conditions, and again the display demonstrates a wide variety of routes and rates including the largest known franking of the £1 Arms.

Iain will also show the 1951 Festival issue in a variety of usages.
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Iain Stevenson FRPSL

Saturday 29th October 2011

Royal Philatelic Society, 41 Devonshire Place, London W1G 6JY (map)

11amMail by Water in the USA (details
We have long felt that an occasional presentation of something not strictly GB would be of interest to members, and who better to show us something a bit different than Hugh Feldman, who has achieved two Large Gold medals in International competition and a Grand Award in one of America's World Series events? His book "US mail routes by water" has also won awards and copies will be available at The Royal.

His display illustrates the contract and non contract carriage of mails handed loose to route agents or clerks of vessels on most of the navigable waters in the USA. Starting in 1813 on the Hudson river, the use of steamboats spread rapidly throughout the US, including coastal and lake services, and the final part of the presentation shows the various routes by water for mails to and from the west coast from 1849.
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Hugh Feldman
2pmWilding Castles 1955-69 (details
Peter Shaw has achieved success at Stampex with his displays and has again had an entry accepted this autumn. His talk covers the preparation of the Wilding Castles issue and the development of the three printers, Waterlow, De la Rue and Bradbury Wilkinson.

The display illustrates some of the problems encountered by the printers and the errors that resulted. Usage of the stamps on registered mail, telegrams, bank mail and express delivery is included.

Waterlow and De la Rue placed markings in margins as a guide to positioning the perforator, and these guide markings differ between the printers and were changed during each contract, thus a pattern has been established which may be used to identify individual plates. Bradbury Wilkinson inserted plate numbers on the issued sheets which are included in the presentation.
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Peter Shaw

Saturday 26th November 2011

Royal Philatelic Society, 41 Devonshire Place, London W1G 6JY (map)

11amColoured cancellations of the 1850s (details
Did you ever wonder why the best coloured cancellations of the Line-engraved period derive from this decade? Or why certain colours consistently derive from certain towns? Or why early experimental duplexes can be found in coloured inks?

Mark's research into this began in the 1980s and revealed an organised allocation of deliberately distinctive coloured stamping inks at Surveyor's District level throughout Great Britain. The experiment started in December 1852 and observations demonstrate that by 1858 it had become largely eroded or abandoned. The misuse of these inks, intended for datestamping, for obliteration accounts for most coloured cancellations and it is believed that confusion over whether to use "stamping" or "obliterating" ink with newly introduced double stamps (duplexes) accounts for many others.

The display will include the coloured maps Mark developed for his GBPS display in the 1990s and expanded with observations and discoveries since.
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Mark Samwell
2pmFree, Official and Returned mail (details
The first half of this display shows Free and Official mail to 1840. Examples of the ways in which mail was marked, regulated and abused will be shown and some of the rare and unusual "Failed Free" handstamps will be included.

In the second half examples of returned mail from 1764 to present day will be illustrated; the development of wrappers and envelopes used to return letters will be examined along with handstamps and the annotations applied to them.
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Bob Galland
Dealer: Mark Samwell

Wednesday 7th December 2011 - Stanley Gibbons Evening Reception

Stanley Gibbons, 399 Strand, London WC2R 0LX (map)

6pmEvening Reception and Standing Displays by GBPS members (details
We are again indebted to Stanley Gibbons for holding their annual evening Reception and we hope that there will be a good turnout of members to enjoy the hospitality and (usually) attractive discounts. Please bring along a frame or two to show to us all.
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Saturday 21st January 2012

Royal Philatelic Society, 41 Devonshire Place, London W1G 6JY (map)

11amA Week in September (details
This is of course a celebration of the first UK aerial post.

Peter's collection is the most comprehensive held by one person, and the display encompasses the colour trials and proofs for both postcards and envelopes, including the Royal proofs for the violet envelopes, waybills, dispatch notes, bag labels and bundle labels, together with many pilot signed items.

Trade advertisements with many varieties are displayed as well as various printings of the souvenir stationery. Much of the souvenir ephemera is that of Capt. Walter Windham or the Campbell family.

The return flight from Windsor starts with the unique waybill for bag 1, cancelled the 17th due to the delay by weather, and the silver vesta case that was presented to the pilots, and ends with the two versions of the Box Closed greetings card.
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Peter Lister
2pmSociety Competitions: Lee, Willcocks, Jones, Macpherson and Overseas awards (details
Followed by display of Competition entries and judges' critique (entry details)
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Saturday 25th February 2012 - Spring Stampex Meeting

Business Design Centre, 52 Upper Street, Islington N1 0QH (map)

11amJoint meeting with FgGB (details
Our meeting at Stampex is a joint meeting with our German friends of the Forschungsgemeinschaft Großbritannien. Don't forget to book your place(s) for our Dinner with them, the previous evening of the 24th.
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Saturday 31st March 2012

Royal Philatelic Society, 41 Devonshire Place, London W1G 6JY (map)

11amPostage Due markings (of the Channel Islands in particular) (details
The study of Postage Due mail can give us an insight into some of the more unusual postage rates. Postage Due and Instructional markings fall into three groups:

  1. those indicating a certain amount of postage is to be collected
  2. marks explaining the reason for a charge which includes the amount due
  3. those detailing an irregularity in transmission.

Much of the display will feature postage due markings of the Channel Islands. It will begin with manuscript instructional markings from the mid 1800s, followed by markings on local and unpaid mail up to postal independence in 1969 including an extraordinary 3½d mark. Scarce use during the period of German occupation is shown, followed by the markings of the independent administrations, some of which were only in use a few months.

Underpaid mail from overseas destinations received a totally different series of handstamps conforming to international regulations.

After 1895 letters mailed at the printed matter rate and then returned to sender lead to a new series of handstamps.

After 1969 British stamps were not allowed catching out holidaymakers and leading to new "Stamp invalid" handstamps.

A fascinating subject!
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Gerald Marriner
2pmGB Overprints: British Levant (details
This display features the stamps and postal stationery used by the British Post Offices along the Ottoman seaboard during the second half of the nineteenth century to provide a reliable service for British administrators and merchants.

The Constantinople Post Office was established in 1854 for the British Army in the Crimea, was closed in 1856 when the troops were evacuated, but re-opened for civilian use in July 1857. Subsequently offices were opened in Smyrna (1872), Beyrout (1873), Stamboul (1884), and Salonica (1900) Initially, unoverprinted GB stamps were used, until 1885 when inflation of the Turkish piaster caused the most frequently used values to be surcharged, and from 1905 GB stamps were also overprinted LEVANT for use on postcards and parcels.

British and other foreign offices were closed with the outbreak of World War I, and only Smyrna and Constantinople reopened briefly after the war. The display will feature mail going in and out of all the offices up to the 1914 closures, particularly illustrating the various usages of the surcharged and overprinted stamps and postal stationery of British Levant.
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Tony Stanford
3pmGB Overprints: Morocco Agencies KGVI and QEII Postal History (details
This presentation shows postal history of the British Post Office from the beginning of the reign of George VI to the closing of the BPO in Tangier in 1957.There are examples of the nine British Postal Offices in the French, Spanish and International zones during the period, some of which closed at various times during the two reigns.

Barrie's display falls into four parts

  1. KGVI in the French Zone: Casablanca, Fez, Marrakesh, Mazagan, Rabat and Saffi
  2. the Spanish Zone, Larache and Tetuan
  3. Tangier in the International Zone
  4. the Post Offices open during the reign of QEII.

We shall see a variety of items including ordinary mail, airmail, registered mail, registered airmail, post cards etc with a range of instructional marks including OAT and Ship Letter handstamps.
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Barrie Cook
Dealer: Mark Samwell

Saturday 21st April 2012

Grosvenor Philatelic Auctions, 399-401 Strand, London WC2R 0LT (map) (notes
Grosvenor will be holding an auction during the week following our meeting, and Nick Kerridge of Grosvenor has willingly agreed to make specific lots available for inspection on the 21st if you will email him beforehand; .

Philatex is also taking place at that time and thus the fleet of foot may be able to look in there and come to the meeting as well. Because of Philatex there will not be a dealer present in the meeting rooms.
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11amEvolution of British Stamp Perforation 1840-84 (details
Based on original research, Ray has compiled an international gold medal-winning exhibit telling the fascinating story of the invention, application and development of stamp perforation in Great Britain, and this is the basis of the display. It traces that story from the first crude attempts to separate stamps from imperforate sheets using whatever tools came to hand, to the development by Henry Archer and others of world leading new machines to roulette and perforate stamp sheets, and their successful introduction.

Many usual items, some truly unique, illustrate the tale. Highlights from the early period include Post Office documents about the interception of a privately perforated Penny Red in 1851, numerous Archer rarities including the only recorded example of a postally used Archer pamphlet and the discovery copy of the Plate 91 Archer trial; examples from the Bemrose machine trials undertaken in Derby on American stamps; and two of the four recorded "First Day" uses of the 1854 perforated stamps. .

There are examples of scarce combination covers, abnormal official perforations, the "world's biggest stamp" (probably) and an array of perforation "errors" including the famous "Cardiff Penny" from the only post 1854 sheet issued imperforate in Britain. With a topic that embraces not only British postage stamps, but also revenues, telegraphs, foreign and colonial stamps, this display has something for us all.
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Ray Simpson
2pmOverseas for a Halfpenny 1879-1949 (details
The British ½d Overseas Printed Paper rate lasted for over 70 years, outliving its inland counterparts by nine years. During that period the ½d rate eventually embraced printed matter, newspapers, unsealed envelopes and picture postcards.

The display looks at the types of material sent abroad bearing a halfpenny stamp or using 1/2d postal stationery, ranging from Prices Current and Shipping Lists to Book Circulars and the hazards of sending postcards at the 1/2d rate, with a smattering of items bearing additional stamps to cover registration, the use of airmail, and customs duties. As such it also reflects some of the changes in Post Office and business practice over three quarters of a century. This promises to be an entertaining afternoon!
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Peter Mellor

Saturday 19th May 2012

Royal Philatelic Society, 41 Devonshire Place, London W1G 6JY (map)

11amThe President's Display: Booklet Production and Promotion - 4 Kings
Ian Harvey FRPSL
2pmGB postal history and line engraved to 1870 (details
Philip Mackey will be displaying an afternoon of traditional Postal History. This will commence with the Penny Post Reform of 8 September 1794, through to the issue of the 1840 Line Engraved, and onwards. Philip likes to see the "stamps on cover -- with varieties", with the appropriate rates and routes. This will be a good afternoon for those who like the Maltese Crosses and other early marks, for which the collection has strength in "North Britain".

The display will draw a comparison between the stamp production and use in service of the GB line engraved with those of the 1849 Classic France issues, which were printed by typography.

The recently discovered Miss Allford items will be shown, where the unrecorded Paulton undated canceller is used with a Penny Post Receiving House Mark, and which may well change Mr Oxley's annotations for the Bristol and Bath postal systems.

The display will move on to show rates and routes relating to "Echoes of the Empire", to about 1870.

During the course of the afternoon, there will be an answer to the query in the Journal, posed some time ago, on the Ardwell (Logan Loch) pen cancels, used before putting into the Stranraer Postal system.

Finally, and for TV soap aficionados, the display will touch for a little light relief on "Lark Rise at Candleford"!

Click on a thumbnail below for some noteworthy example items


Entire 18 August 1843 from Fearn, Ross-shire to Tain, franked with 1841 1d plate 27 and manuscript cancel of Fearn.

Fearn Penny Post two line hand stamp and Tain box cancel handstamp receiver.

Ex Alcock.

1835 Penny Post: A pair of unusual triangular covers, both sent locally to the same address in Lynn with the boxed Lynn/Penny Post handstamps. One is endorsed "Paid" in black, with manuscript P1, with a boxed No5 receiving house handstamp. The other is without endorsements and has an unframed No6 handstamp.

Ex Shaida: Provenance - Gibbons attribution.
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Philip Mackey

Saturday 16th June 2012 - AGM Meeting

Royal Philatelic Society, 41 Devonshire Place, London W1G 6JY (map)

11amThe President's Guest: Secured Delivery of Mail 1450-1862 (details
Though a formal system for the registration of mail was introduced on 6 January 1841, the need for such a system had long been recognised. Indeed, a number of methods to ensure the safe and secure delivery of mail had been adopted prior to this event. The first recording of letters -- or registration -- appears in an Order in Council dated July 1556, requiring all letters between London and 'the North' to be recorded in a register, and that both sender and recipient should sign for each letter.

This presentation endeavours to show how the development of the first known secured postal systems led to the introduction of registration, and to then show how the first formal system of registration developed through to the rapid expansion of registration, with the reduced 6d registration fee and growth in world trade upon which Europe grew financially strong.

Commencing with early Venetian (1450) and then Corsini 'la raccomando' Merchant and State Post Haste letters from the 1500's, this complex story continues on through the formation of the De Quester 'Foreign Posts' and the General Letter Act of 1656, resulting in the Foreign Branch and Bishop Mark at a time when the first London Penny Post of Robert Murray was established. By 1817 the Foreign Branch had introduced a system of registration for Incoming and Outgoing foreign mail and a fabulous registered Crown hand stamp. Rowland Hill first recommended a system of registration in 1839, which was firmly rejected by Colonel Maberly, the Post Office Secretary. This led to the resignation of Hill and the introduction of the draconian first 1/- registration fee, to be prepaid in cash, with the clear intent of minimising the number of registered letters to be handled. On Hill's return this fee was reduced to 6d in March 1848 and lasted for domestic mail until 31 July 1862, and 31 January 1866 for Foreign and Colonial mail.

Click on a thumbnail below for some noteworthy example items


27 December 1584: entire letter from 'Augusta' (Augsburg) to Corsini in London with an endorse­ment written by the sender: 'la racc[oman]d[at]o p il buon ricapito'. This 'raccomandata' endorsement is thought to be literally translated as: 'It [is] registered/recommended for the very best delivery'. This letter was sent in the care of Clemanz Conduttori, a Courier, from Augsburg to Cologne and onto London through the Thurn & Taxis Post. Earliest known 'La Raccomandata' Letter.

I September 1601: Elizabeth I Post Haste Letter, sent via two Post Roads from Dover to beyond Reading via London, addressed to 'Sr. Robert Cecyll Knight principall secretary to her Maty' and inscribed 'hast hast/hast post hast/hast with all/speed & diligence' signed 'Tho Fane', 'for Lyfe lyfe/lyfe'. Sent by State Post Express system and endorsed by each Postmaster along the route where new horses were provided.

Earliest known Registered Letter, dated 15 January 1841, from London to Congleton, originally enclosing seven Bank Post Bills totalling £919 2s 5d. It is endorsed 'Registered Post Prepaid' with the Post Office further endorsing the Registration number 'No. 96' and '1/2' representing postage of 2d for up to 1oz and 1s Registration Fee all prepaid.

20 January 1841 registered letter from London to Bath endorsed 'Registered Letter' and '1/-' for prepayment of registration with the postage paid by a 1d Black Plate 5 (JG) tied by a red Maltese Cross. The earliest stamped registered letter known.

Earliest Jersey first type 'CROWN/REGISTERED' handstamp on registered letter, dated 21 August 1855, from Jersey to Paris via London. Franked 8d for 4d postage plus 4d registration at the same rate (per the revised French Convention, set from January 1st 1855), showing Jersey 'CROWN/REGISTERED' handstamp and cds in black, plus red London 'CROWN/REGISTERED'.

1858 (April 16th) envelope registered from Bradford to Moscow with manuscript 'Registered' (red) and 'Franco' bearing 1856 1s pale green block of six & pair together with 1d and 2d 'Stars' making an amazing total franking of 8s 3d. Transit marks on the front include red London 'CROWN/REGISTERED', fancy boxed red 'Recomandirt', Aachen transit cds and red London 'P' in oval.

17 December 1860: registered 'Express' entire from Manchester to Calcutta endorsed 'via Marseilles & Bombay & Express Bombay to Calcutta' paid at the 3s 3d rate (single 9d postage plus 6d Registration Fee + 2s Express Fee). Bears London red 'CROWN/REGISTERED', oval 'REGISTERED' datestamps of Manchester & London, together with the very rare small 'EXPRESS/BOMBAY/PAID' date stamp. Only four examples of this little-used Express service have been recorded to Calcutta.
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Alan Holyoake
2pmAGM (followed by Members' displays)
Dealer: Bill Barrell

Saturday 14th July 2012 - WORPEX Meeting

Fownes Hotel, City Walls Road, Worcester WR1 2AP (map)

11amEdward VII
Graham Horton
2:15pmMembers' displays
Dealer: Candlish McCleery