On Tuesday 5th January Banbury Stamp Society members provided their own entertainment, displaying recent acquisitions and enjoying sausage rolls and mince pies. One theme from the material displayed was the benefits of belonging to a specialist society, with Italy and Colonies, Bermuda, New Zealand and Canada all getting a mention. As always the material was as varied as it was interesting. Our European specialist showed Mussolini ‘GNR’ overprints (a short lived issue from the end of the Second World War), Belgian specimen sheets produced for new issue publicity, and a Hungarian cover that had once formed part of the F. D. Roosevelt collection. Next came some material from Newfoundland along with a very recent GB acquisition – an envelope bearing the large second class Pricing in Proportion stamp received in the post that day and destined for a collection on Machins. Some lovely Banbury postal history followed including a 1d black on a cover with a scarce ‘Missent to Banbury’ cachet, as well as a 2d blue on cover with a Banbury postmark. One member shared material being put together by his grandchildren as part of a project on World War Two. We had some specialised Bermuda material, including an artist’s essay and progressive proofs for the Queens Staircase issue. Our New Zealand collector prefers mint stamps, but does collect used on cover where he can be certain that the postmark is genuine – apparently, because of the high catalogue value of some NZ issues, forged postmarks are common. Queen Victoria 1d red stamps were regularly mis-perforated resulting in some very odd looking stamps including some where the perforator went through the Queen’s head and was then reset to the correct position between the stamps, resulting in a stamp short by three or four millimetres. Cyprus was included with two covers and then we finished with a fascinating pair of letters from the Battle of Alma in September 1854 – the first battle in the Crimean war. The first was from the CO of a Grenadier Guards regiment telling a father that his son had been shot and injured in the battle, and the second from the son himself to his father with details of the preparation for the battle, his injury and subsequent recovery on HMS London.
The next meeting will be on Tuesday January 19th at 7:30pm at Hanwell Fields Community Centre. Colin Searle will be presenting material on the topic ‘Philatelic Congress of Great Britain’. The Banbury Stamp Society can now be found on-line at ‘www.banburystampsociety.co.uk’.