A Jubilee Reminiscence
IntroductionMy exhibit commemorates fifty years since the introduction of Uniform Penny Postage and the world's first stamp, the Penny Black in 1890 through the major events held in that year. The collection, now over 600 pages, was inspired by the exhibits in the Court of Honour at Stamp World London '90 and the reproductions of the 1890 postal stationery available at that Show.
The collection has been built up over the past twenty five years through a wide range of sources, including the acquisition of major collections formed by the late Francis Kiddle RDP, Theo Jones and Donald Turner. In addition, by way of example, I also recently discovered the archive in the form of a scrapbook of E G Thompson, a Post Office Official at both the Guildhall and South Kensington Exhibitions, through a bookseller. It included a number of Instructions for Duty and Official Tickets, not previously known, which form part of the exhibit.
Displays of the material are regularly shown to Societies in the UK and I have published articles in several magazines and journals including The Great Britain Philatelic Society, National Philatelic Society, The British Philatelic Bulletin and Stamp & Coin Mart about the collection. Examples include GBPS Journal Jan/Feb 2012: The Genesis of the Jubilee Envelope and March/April 2007: the 1890 Christmas Card.
Extracts from the collection (different sections) have been shown frequently to support ABPS national exhibitions in the UK. In 2011 at Sheffield, the exhibit achieved a large gold medal with 94 points and was the first entry to achieve "Best in Show" with an entry in the Open Philately Class. Five frames were shown at the London 2015 International Exhibition (FEPA/Europhilex), relating solely to the Guildhall Exhibition, achieving a large gold medal with 95 points.
The display for the World Stamp Show in New York has been extended to eight frames to include additional material from the South Kensington Exhibition and the Genesis of the Jubilee Envelope. The additional section on the Jubilee Envelope largely comprises the complete De La Rue Archive material that was originally sold in the 1970's and is unique. The Guildhall section has been reduced to four frames leaving in the most important items.
Title and Plan: Feedback from the Judges in 2015 suggested that the entry would be improved by the addition of some "non-paper" items and this has been done, where practical (some medals in my collection are too deep to fit within the frames). In addition the plan has been extended to give more clarity to the structure of the exhibit, as suggested.
Treatment: The exhibit focuses on the two major events, held in 1890, to commemorate Uniform Penny Postage. In each case, the exhibit covers the arrangements for them, the displays which formed parts of the Exhibitions, the commemorative postal stationery produced (GB's first such issues) and studies of the special cancellations produced for the events (also the first of their kind in GB).
Knowledge and Research: Personal Research has been undertaken at the British Postal Museum and Archive (now known as The Postal Museum), the Guildhall Library and the Victoria and Albert Museum (formerly known as the South Kensington Museum) to add to established sources. Surprisingly, the records of the V&A were sent for destruction in the 1950's and have not been retained.
Condition & Rarity: Rarity is indicated, where known, on the sheets and many items have not been seen in other collections of this material.
Items of special interest include:
Pages 6/7 – Duties of the Committee and Committee Badge
Page 18 – Specimen of the Guildhall Invitation
Pages 25/26 – The Guildhall Proofs
Page 38 – Guildhall Telegraph Message
Page 44 – Plate Proof of the Guildhall Letter Card
Page 49 – Penny Black cancelled at Guildhall
Page 52 – Cover to the Prince of Wales from the Postmaster General
Page 57 – Proof Sheet of the S3 Guildhall handstamp
Pages 71/72 – Instructions for Duty at South Kensington
Page 74 – Card to Frederic Hill (Rowland Hill's brother) regarding the opening ceremony
Page 78 – South Kensington Bag Label
Page 83 – Contemporary Photograph of the Exhibition
Page 89 – Proof Sheet of the Jubilee handstamps
Page 95 – Mulready Paper Trial cancelled at South Kensington
The section on the Genesis of the Jubilee Envelope is largely based on the original De La Rue Archive was sold in the 1970's (Provenance: ex F.Kiddle) and is unique, including:
Page 100 – The original sketch by F E Baines for the design of the envelope
Page 108 – Final approved proof
Page 117 – Approved Proof of the Jubilee Envelope wrapper
Page 121 – Ink Recipe
Page 123 – Official envelope for circulation to Post Offices
Page 124 – Specimen of the Jubilee envelope