The Nottinghamshire Philatelic Society

From the Newsletters  




(Summer 2019 Newsletter)


As with many stamps in my various collections, I have absolutely no idea how this booklet cropped up in one of my drawers. They are not stamps issued by the South African Post Office, but are still valid for postage, in the same way, I assume, as are those of the NZ alternate posts, the Universal Mail tourist stamps in England and the various tourist stamps elsewhere in Europe. The 5 airmail, postcard-rate stamps are of good quality and were issued in 1997.

The text above the stamps states: 'Restoration of Thulamela’s stone walling was started in 1993. Once this task had been partially completed, the archaeological team could turn their attention to the excavation of the middens (rubbish dumps). It was from these diggings that the first gold jewelry was unearthed'.

'More artifacts followed. Iron Age implements, ceramic pot shards, glass beads and even a fragment of Chinese porcelain were brought to the surface. The presence of these items confirmed the theory that gold, iron and other metals had been smelted at Thulamela by a technologically sophisticated people who had had trade links with the Far East. Radio carbon dating has revealed that the settlement at Thulamela reached its peak long before the arrival of the Dutch at the cape in 1652.'

'Further excavation of the site by archaeologist Sidney Miller led to the discovery in 1996 of two royal graves. After close consultation with local communities, the graves were opened to reveal the remains of a man, thought to have been the king, and a royal woman. Both graves contained gold jewelry and ceremonial artifacts.'

Part of the revenue from the sale of these stamps and postcards was to be donated to the Thulamela Community Trust for the funding of educational projects. More details of the area appear on the cover and the post’s name is Easipost.





(Summer 2019 Newsletter)

The Snowdon Mountain Railway was opened in 1896 and is now owned and operated by Heritage Great Britain. The trip starts from Llanberis Station and terminates at Hafad Eryn, the summit visitor centre. The line is 4.7 miles long, the average gradient is 12.8%, the steepest 18% and the trains are diesel or steam, the latter being the more expensive option.

The stamp, which I have been told is no longer available, is not a true railway letter stamp but was approved by the Post Office. It could be purchased at the summit from a vending machine, which also dispensed regular stamps. The regular stamps are now bought over the counter and mail, posted in the letterbox shown below, is franked with a special Snowdon Summit cachet, brought down by train to Llanberis and posted on from there by normal means.

Photo by S. Hinchcliffe

Attached to the letterbox and shown here enlarged is a notice stating that ‘this post box is serviced by Snowdon Mountain Railway and is not part of Royal Mail’. Alongside is a scan of the special cachet, more or less obliterated by the Royal Mail slogan. The entire postmark was 13cm long! ’Snowdon Summit’ is decipherable and, with a bit of guesswork, ‘Copar Wyddfa’ can just about be made out. The railway stamp (1987?) is slightly bigger than a Machin.


CRICKET WORLD CUP, 2019 (30 May-14 July)


(Summer 2019 Newsletter)

On 21 May, a red letterbox mysteriously turned blue and Royal Mail was remaining remarkably coy on the matter. However, some days later when further decoration was applied, all became clear, as can be seen by the box on Angel Row, Nottingham.

The text reads: ‘Nottingham-born Stuart Broad took a stunning 8/15 on his home ground during the 2015 Ashes.’

The text reads: The highest ODI total in history was hit by England at Trent Bridge in 2018 as they scored 481/6 against Australia.

To mark the Cricket World Cup, other boxes close to host venues in England and Wales were also painted blue and decorated with local facts about the game and players. These were: Cardiff, Birmingham, Chester-le Street, Manchester, Bristol, Leeds, London (Lords), Southampton and Taunton.

Ten countries qualified for the competition: England, Australia, Bangladesh, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka, West Indies and Afghanistan.

England had beaten New Zealand by 119 runs in week 6, but we still knew they were no pushover and so it proved- a drawn match, a super over and frayed nerves for players and spectators alike until England were finally declared the winners. But, however pleased we were to win, we couldn’t help feeling sorry for the New Zealanders who had played brilliantly throughout the match and were also dignified in defeat.

To celebrate England’s victory, boxes close to the playing venues were painted white about 10 days later. This was not just honouring the men’s success this year (first time winners) but also the women who won the equivalent trophy at Lords in 2017- their 4th win. So where were the special letterboxes then?

Plaque that can just be seen on centre picture, left side, celebrating both the men's win this year and women’s success two years ago!

(Waikato Philatelic Society,New Zealand)


(Summer 2019 Newsletter)

In 2017, John sent me this postcard ‘showing some common symbols you see in New Zealand’, but it doesn’t include a cricket bat!

I quote from the e-mail that he sent me at the time (9 April 2017):

‘This month Warehouse Stationery are promoting the joy of writing, so have free postcards in store that you can write to post. Postage anywhere in the world is free, so I have sent one to you. I assume it will be sent through New Zealand Post (they are one of the sponsors, but another sponsor is PMP Ltd, part of which was an alternate mail operator a few year ago.’

The postcard was sent to me by John on 9th April 2017 but the NZ Post cancellation is dated 24th April, so it looks as though the cards were kept until there was a full batch before being passed on to NZP. This card arrived on 28 th April.

Various company names are shown on the reverse (also sponsors?} including Artline, Bic, Faber Castell, Paper Mate, Sharpie, Spicers, Stabilo, Uniball, as well as 2-3 others, obliterated by a stamp, and the three mentioned above.

‘Get New Zealand WRITING’ appears in a sketch of a pencil. A nice idea- let’s hope the scheme was successful.




(Summer 2019 Newsletter)


In June, we went for afternoon tea at the renowned (posh!) Wolseley’s Cafe-Restaurant in Mayfair to celebrate a family birthday. Situated next to the Ritz Hotel, it’s the sort of place where you are greeted by a commissionaire at the door, doffing his hat as you enter.

A grade II listed building, it started off as a car showroom for Wolseley Motors in 1921 and continued as such until the company went into receivership in 1926. "The ceiling consisted of 9 domes supported by Doric columns finished in red Japanese lacquer. Red, black and gold lacquer was also used in the doors, screens and wall panels" (Wikipedia)

From 1927-1999, after a few changes were made using the original architect, Barclays Bank occupied the building. A Chinese Restaurant followed and in 2004 ‘The Wolseley’ opened ‘operating as an all-day café in the Grand European style’.

So, what was the unexpected find? It was not obvious and was no longer standing at the front door. In fact, you had to make your way to the toilets, through a back door, to find it.

Photos by J. Poole

It’s a private letterbox, with stamp-vending machine, supplied for the convenience of Barclay’s customers. It is richly lacquered, which had the advantage of just needing a quick dusting, rather than frequent applications of furniture polish. It was cleared twice a day by the Post Office.



(Summer 2019 Newsletter)


Stockholmia 29 May - 2 June, 2019 lived up to all expectations and more. The Waterfront Exhibition Centre in Stockholm is vast and an ideal venue at which to hold the sesquicentenary of the Royal Philatelic Society, London and the 2nd World Cinderella Stamp Congress. Oswaldo and I were the unofficial representatives of Notts PS and it was good to meet up with quite a few other people that we knew, starting at Manchester Airport.

The Waterfront Exhibition Centre is vast and an ideal venue once you’ve realised that the main entrance opens on to the 4th floor! Go up a few steps and you are in a large auditorium, Go back down, and there is a large hall where most of the 46 stand holders were housed, with a seating area and also frames of non-competitive exhibits. I think this was the first time I had ever seen a stand with 3 rows of seated buyers around it! In the other direction there was a Swedish Post counter, with free exhibition postcards and commemorative stamps for sale. There was also a table where visitors could write their cards and a special post box. There were also more dealers’ stands on this level and at one of these I bought 2 items for a total of 10 euros, one of which was quite a scarce Magasin du Nord branch cover. I would certainly have paid a lot more than 10 euros for it! And, of course, there was a café where people met to swap stories and eat the special penny black ‘cakes’. At least I thought it was a cake until I tried to eat it with my fingers, at which point it turned into a kind of squishy mousse. However, it tasted better than it looks and the 1d black was a fun idea.

The Exhibition opened with a welcome speech by the Exhibition Manager in the auditorium. This was followed by a most humorous speech by the President of the RPSL, at the end of which he presented King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden with a chocolate replica of the Royal Crown, decorated in red and gold. It was truly amazing. There seems to have been a bit of a chocolate theme as, at one dinner, the President presented a chocolate version of the famous ‘Tre Skilling Yellow’ to a philatelic patron and his wife. In The London Philatelist it was reported that the chocolatier, when shown a picture of the stamp asked: ‘Don’t you have a better copy?’

Apparently, in the halls on levels 2 and 3 there were 294 exhibits- a total of 27,232 pages to be viewed and judged. I was flagging well before I had seen a quarter of them, but they were of an extremely high standard with 94 gold and 70 large gold medals being awarded. Unfortunately, there was no Cinderella Class. One can’t help but wonder why, when Picture Postcards are now accepted, despite the picture side being declared non-philatelic!

Throughout the Exhibition, there were around 200 philatelic meetings, seminars, talks and presentations etc going on in the 9-10 rooms at the side of the halls and in the auditorium. These were in addition to those of the Cinderella Stamp Congress, organised and presented by Christer Brunstrom and Lars Liwendahl of the Swedish Cinderella Stamp Club. This is what we had come for! We managed to attend the Society’s meeting-all in Swedish- on the day before the Congress and watched a power-point display on Cinderella Philately.

We were given a number of free gifts, which included a most informative booklet on Cinderella philately written by Lars.

I had not known before the Exhibition that Lars had also helped design most of Lundy Island’s new issues. Not that these were on view.

The first day of the Congress was devoted to local posts and revenues, the second to poster stamps and labels. There was also at the back of the room a Lundy Post Office , where a special Exhibition cachet was available. The format of the meetings was power-point displays, prearranged displays by members and possible displays by visitors if available. The standard of these was high.

On the second day, two members signed the Roll of Notable Cinderella Philatelists. It was a most enjoyable and informative event, but it did have one big problem- clashes with other activities, including the Auction of Rarities, which I would have liked to attend as they had a nice gold stamp box manufactured by Faberge, reserve price a mere 8,000 euros, hammer price 32,000 euros +21% commission!

The Exhibition, which had 4,000 visitors, was magnificently organised, and all involved should be congratulated on an excellent event.

A few of the free gifts received at the 2nd World Cinderella Congress at Stockholmia 2019.



(Summer 2019 Newsletter)

Dealers. There’s a dealer I see regularly at large stamp exhibitions, charming chap with some very good but overpriced material that I would love to buy- just not at silly prices. He doesn’t believe in haggling- ‘You don’t go to Tesco and offer a lower price’, he explains. But Tesco has offers and money off coupons, not that I said this, of course. I keep on looking through his stock books holding the covers I desire- they are still there after several years and neither of us has relented.

Another dealer and I play a common game: he tells me the price, I look at him disbelievingly and ask him for his best price. He looks pained, frowns, rubs his chin, looks dolefully at me and then offers me a lower figure as though he now faces possible ruin. So, should we feel sorry for them? A resounding ‘no’- for the bigtime ones at least

A friend told me about a very entertaining speaker at one of his philatelic society meetings who spoke of his job over the years dealing in stamps, which, by the way, he still does very successfully. He mentioned some of his good buys, one of which was a Nazi PC that he bought some time ago for £20 and sold in London for £2,900. Not a bad return.

At another Exhibition, I met his wife who was holding the fort in the dealer’s absence. Whilst we were chatting, she told me they had come to Nottingham, probably in the 80s, went to the Curtis Rawson stamp shop and bought an item he thought was good, although he was not sure. He checked it out later and sold it for a sum that paid for their trip to Australia.

But the buyer is, occasionally, the winner. A visiting speaker at one of our meetings bought a stamp catalogued at £950 for a few dollars on Ebay’s ‘Buy it Now’.

Scout Stamp Britain is not the only country where Scouts produce their own stamps. This one comes from Lithuania, but why some text in English?

New Parcel Boxes. Over a six-month period starting from August and in over 30 towns and cities, Royal Mail will be launching 1,400 parcel post boxes. They look a bit like the pre-franked letter boxes. Unfortunately, Nottingham is not included in the list of 30. The lucky ones are: Aberdeen, Belfast, B’ham Bournemouth, Bristol, Carlisle, Chelmsford, Chester, Croydon, Edinburgh, Exeter, Glasgow, Greenford, Norwich, Inverness, Leeds, London, Manchester, Newcastle, Peterborough, Poole, Preston, Plymouth, Romford, Sheffield. S’ton, Swansea, Swindon, Truro and Warrington.

Farewell to the Phoenix Trophy Competition. It was gratifying that our society managed to fill a whole table for the Phoenix Competition send-off, particularly as a large and varied buffet had been provided for the event. Here are a few photos of the final evening.


Roger West, pictured here, founded the Phoenix Trophy Competition
with the support of representatives of the Derbyshire Philatelic Societies

Winning displays from 25 years of the Phoenix Trophy Competition

DISCLAIMER: While every care is taken during the production of the reports, neither the editor or Society Officers can accept any liability for views or unintentional publication errors that may occur.




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