Recent and Forthcoming Meetings

Meeting Exhibits and Videos

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A celebration of H.M. Queen Elizabeth II, Patron of the RPSL, in the 70th year of her reign.

This presentation is an overview of the images of The Queen that have appeared on recessed (engraved) stamps around the globe, starting with the United Kingdom, followed by Dominions (Australia, Canada, and New Zealand) and finally by the Crown Agents for the colonies and protectorates.

These images are further segmented by photographers, sculptors and painters, many relying on each other's works (e.g. Dorothy Wilding provided many of the base images) as well as stratification by different poses showing different, or head with/without, tiaras, diadems and kokoshniks.

James Peter Gough (aka "Jamie") has been a member of the RPSL for over 30 years. While Jamie is well-known for his worldwide collecting interests in the period pre-1900, this presentation will be a surprise to many since he covers a rather modern philatelic topic about Queen Elizabeth II. Many may consider this "modern" but as Jamie has pointed out, there are few today who have any memory of The Queen ascending the throne in 1952!

To attend this event live via Zoom, you can register here.

Dozens of articles have already been written about Jean-Baptiste Philippe Constant Moens (1833-1908) and Louis Francois Hanciau (1835-1924), but what do we really know about these two characters who both influenced philately in their own different ways?

Little is known about them personally, but they were well known as publishers of catalogues, albums, and philatelic magazines.

It seems certain that it was only a few years after their meeting in the 1850s and the beginning of a specialised trade that these two pioneers of philately decided to publish a catalogue. On 1 June 1861, a small advertisement appeared in the newspaper "L'Etoile belge" publicising the forthcoming publication of a "Manual for stamp collectors". This was more than six months before the publication of Alfred Potiquet's very first catalogue, which appeared on 21 December 1861.

What were their roles? Who actually wrote the books published by these two dealers? In this display and presentation, Vincent Schouberechts will try to answer these questions with a selection of documents, many previously unpublished.

Past President Gavin Fryer RDP FRPSL will be making a spectacular display of 640 pages illustrating the use of the King George VI Great Britain High Values on mail.

The British Government sought to encourage the use of air services for mail at economic rates by the introduction of the Empire All Up Air Mail Scheme from June 1937, carrying a half-ounce letter for 1½d or a postcard for 1d. This scheme was introduced in 3 stages, the first beginning on 29 June 1939.

Government Parliamentary Papers, Post Office publicity leaflets, proving "test" letters, and letters by regular services will be displayed. The Scheme was closed by the Government and the Post Office on 3 September 1939 when Britain declared war on Germany. Consequent limited facilities for air mail services during wartime meant that letters would be subject to a charge of 1s 3d per ½ ounce and postcards to a charge of 7d (half the letter rate) for all destinations served by the Empire routes. This directly links to the use of the High Value stamps on mail, and frankings of up to £10 and more.

The postage rates were already high by May 1939, especially to certain countries in South America. Mail to 100 destinations, some with large amounts of postage conveying a wide range of foods and other products, from used clothes to precious minerals, will be displayed.

Mail was carried by many airlines linking parts of the world, even during restrictions on transport as a result of World War II conditions. Mail sent to Britain from overseas using British adhesive stamps is evident. Numerous postal services were needed, as will be shown by examples used until about 1954.

This year's Stuart Rossiter Memorial Lecture is being given by the RPSL's Vice President Simon Richards. The subject is The Influence of Military History on Postal History: Anglo-French Rivalry in the Caribbean.

Jack Preuveneers presented in an online event live via Zoom video conferencing, to an international audience in 16 countries.

The Swedish postal service underwent a major reform in the 1850s leading to the introduction of stamps. The past experience of other countries was something the Swedish government could build upon, and a bill went through on 31st March 1854 to introduce uniform postage.

The postal administration took this bill as a sign of good news and sought to introduce stamps as a means of payment within post offices. After handing in a report on 8th February 1855, the government on 9th March 1855 confirmed this change, and thus began the most important postal reform Sweden had seen. It was to be effective from Sunday, 1st July 1855.

This presentation is about Swedish stamps between 1855 through to 1872, covering the Skilling Banco issues, Coat of Arms öre issue, and the Laying Lion Issue.

The event was recorded, and the video is available to watch on YouTube here.

This display and excellent presentation by Charles Epting demonstrated how a seemingly unremarkable stamp issue heralded an historic period of development of the modern United States.

On 4 March 1933, Franklin Delano Roosevelt became the 32nd President of the United States. During the lead up to the election, Roosevelt famously said, "I pledge you, I pledge myself, to a new deal for the American people." These two words — the "New Deal" — came to serve as the name for the numerous relief programmes and agencies which he would establish over the course of his presidency. By greatly expanding the role of the federal government the New Deal left an indelible mark on American society and politics, shifting the trajectory of the nation through World War II and even through to the present day. From Social Security to the Federal Communications Commission, many of America's most significant governmental bodies can trace their history back to the New Deal.

This presentation explored the connections between Roosevelt's New Deal and the U.S. postal service, specifically answering the following questions:

  • How was a postage stamp used to promote Roosevelt’s most controversial New Deal agency, the National Recovery Administration?
  • How did various government agencies use the mail to communicate their missions to the American people?
  • How can personal mail from those directly impacted by the New Deal help to bring a human element to a subject which is all too often viewed on solely a macroeconomic scale?

A video recording of the presentation can be viewed on YouTube. The link to this is included in the list of Meeting Exhibits and Videos above.

The Sir Daniel Cooper Lecture on De la Rue and Colour will be presented by Dr Peter Young FRPSL.

This lecture will address questions such as:

  • To what extent do most collectors go beyond knowing a basic name for the colour of their stamp and the reason it was issued?
  • Will collectors be asking questions about the shade and why it was not darker or bluer?
  • Is what we see due to the effects or actions of ingredients, whether they were derived from animal vegetable or mineral sources or created on the chemist's bench?
  • Were they the result of the type of the press used, of technical matters such as printing on damp paper, warm weather on glycerine cylinders, or the final dusting of the stamps?
  • Were checks made to ensure the stamps were "fit for purpose"?

It will go on to ask how were such questions overcome by standardisation, universal application, etc.?

Using De La Rue as a case study, this lecture will even consider such questions as "Are you even sure where your stamps were printed?"

Going "down" into such levels of production creates a whole new area of philatelic study.

A video recording of the lecture can be viewed on YouTube. The link to this is included in the list of Meeting Exhibits and Videos above.

The success of the Postal Reforms of 1839 depended on a huge increase in the volume of posted items following the decrease of the basic postage rate to 4d and subsequently to 1d in 1840. The decrease of the postal rate was predicted to drive up the volume of mail but other initiatives designed to make sealing letters easier and writing letters more attractive helped to achieve the desired mail volumes. These initiatives were:

  • Devising a better method than wax seal for securing letters
  • Development of the self-sealing envelope
  • Development of attractive writing paper and envelopes.

This talk covered the approximate 40 year period from about 1820 to the 1860s during which the messy and awkward practice of sealing a folded letter (entire) with a wax seal was transformed via the introduction of wafer seals and the regular use of gummed envelopes during the 1850s. As an unintended benefit wafer seals were used by special interest and political groups to promote their causes, thus encouraging the sending of letters. The 1851 Great Exhibition showcased development of attractive writing paper and envelopes making letter writing more pleasurable.

Very little has been published or known on these subjects and what is known cannot be easily verified as few records exist because the development and manufacture of wafer seals and patent envelopes were commercial ventures. The study of contemporary newspapers, advertisements and other ephemera has provided some indication of when wafer seals were first used. Intact wafer seals on or off entires are scarce as most were destroyed when opening the letter, as were patent envelopes as they would tend to be preserved or collected only if otherwise philatelically important.

The presenter's research provides new insights into tracing the origins of wafer seals back to the Cameo impressions brought back from the Grand Tour in the late 18th century and early 19th century. In the 1840s and beyond the many decorative wafer seals used by special interest and political groups to promote their causes and companies to advertise their goods or services give us a fascinating window into the social, commercial and political life of the period.

Of particular interest are the Anti Graham wafer seals that were produced by Punch magazine to protest against the Home Office (Sir James Graham) for opening the mail of an Italian dissident (Giuseppe Mazzini) living in in London who was suspected in 1844 of abetting Austria in a planned invasion of Italy. The public outcry forced the Home Office to cease opening mail the following year. As a consequence of the Home Office Practice of opening mail, patent envelopes, some with wafer seals incorporating a metal sealing device, were developed to aid security.

The use the wafer seals became unnecessary when De La Rue and Waterlow and Sons demonstrated the automatic production of gummed envelopes at the Great Exhibition. Wafer seals continued to be used to get a message across but became larger and more complex evolving into Poster Stamps.

This event was held live via Zoom, and the video recording of the event can be viewed on YouTube here.

This will be the first time that the rather reclusive collection of Newfoundland by Camellia has been shown publicly. For this occasion, Richard Berry FRPSL has created a presentation of some wonderful material and we thank the Company for permission to show it to us.

Members from the East Region of the United Kingdom presented 42 frames of excellent material.