On Tuesday 18th February Banbury Stamp Society held its annual Robson Cup competition – three to six sheets of stamps or covers.
We started with Newfoundland in the Great War where we saw mail from serving soldiers, patriotic labels and the ‘Trail of the Caribou’ set issued in 1919 to commemorate the land engagements of the Newfoundland Regiment as well as the maritime service of sailors from that country.
In 1935 Malta joined in the celebration of the Silver Jubilee and issued a set of four stamps. As well as the mint stamps in block we were shown used blocks and covers. There are three constant flaws in the issue involving extra flag staffs and lightning conductors and we were shown a range of these including on stamps on cover.
The introduction of the uniform penny postage service along with the introduction of postage stamps celebrated its fiftieth anniversary in 1890 and the celebrations were carried out in some style. The 1890 London Philatelic Exhibition was the first truly international stamp exhibition and lead to the Royal Patronage of the Philatelic Society. We saw the official catalogue (price: Sixpence), a menu from the banquet which had copies of the 1d stamps issued over the fifty years, as well as souvenir labels and other philatelic material.
The 1950’s and 1960’s saw the continued development of air mail routes and introduced the new jetliners (the Boeing 707 and the Vickers VC10) onto the routes. In this display we saw inaugural flight covers from the Bahamas. As well as the obvious return routes of Miami to Nassau and New York to Nassau we also saw covers posted from the Bahamas to Lima, joining the BOAC inaugural service from London to Lima at the New York stopover.
In 1897 Great Britain occupied Crete in order to prevent Greece and Turkey going to war on the island. The occupation was carried out jointly with France, Italy and Russia and ran from 1897 to 1909. One of the highlights from this display was a registered letter sent from Crete back to England, complete with the contents which described rescuing a group of shipwrecked Greek sailors.
Island Posts started with Lundy, which decided to create its own postal service after the GPO withdrew. The stamps were denominated in Puffins and first issued in 1929. When the National Trust took over in 1969, they continued the tradition. Other small islands, particularly around the Channel Islands also picked up on the idea but the idea was taken to an extreme on Staffa that didn’t even have a resident population.
Pacific Islands are always good to think about in winter in the UK and the next presentation took us to Samoa with a selection of postal history. The final cover, from 1952, was a striking hand coloured beach scene. As with all good club competitions there was a display of material that many of had not realised existed – in this case, Temperance Labels. Which were exactly that, a paper seal with a temperance message stuck to the back of envelopes and we saw examples from the 1840’s. The next page of this display showed the use of paper seals on the back of envelopes and these dated from as early as 1819. The final part of this display was lace paperlace paper in the form of a bookmark and envelopes.
After inspection of the exhibits and the voting, it was revealed that in third place was David Hood with his material from Crete, Gareth Williams came in second with his Newfoundland presentation, and John Davies took home the trophy for his 1890 Exhibition.