On Tuesday 4th December Mervyn Benford visited the society with a part of his collection of philatelic material of Hungary. Mervyn explained how he came to own a small collection as a teenager just after the war and that this had developed into a life-long interest in postal history from that country: envelopes, letter, postcards and parcel labels. The evening’s display covered the period 1920-1930 when Hungary suffered from rampant inflation. In 1926 the government introduced a new currency, the pengo, in order to try and stabilise the financial market. With it came a new issue of stamps and it was the use of these stamps over a ten year period that Mervyn illustrated with a wide selection of material. Because of inflation, postage rates rose rapidly and regularly and so there were covers with stamps paying a rate that was only valid for a few months; stamp shortages meant that as well as a re-printed issue with slight design changes, there were also many overprints and surcharges, sometimes both. Mervyn had covers which showed all of these and was able to explain which stamps were being used and what rate was being purchased.
In the second half we were introduced to government mail. For a period, government mail was sent unstamped with the recipient expected to pay the postage. In order to keep the accounts correct, stamps were still needed and so a special postage due was required. Another short lived experiment was to set a flat rate for government mail up to 100g – but the ‘standard’ rate was still cheaper for some types of mail, so Mervyn had examples of both of these.
The display finished up with a selection of air-mail material from 1918 through to 1950.
The next meeting will be on Tuesday 18th December at 7:30pm at Hanwell Fields Community Centre when Simon Richards will talk about ‘Dominica’. The Banbury Stamp Society is on-line at ‘www.banburystampsociety.co.uk’, or contact John Davies on 01295 255831.