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 Post subject: Names and addresses on covers
PostPosted: Tue Nov 29, 2011 7:00 pm 

Joined: Fri Aug 27, 2010 6:00 pm
Posts: 150
Dear All,

I have started to sort out my KEVIII covers and find several familiar names and addresses that became old friends when I collected early KGVI covers. With the 1937 Coronation FDC, I had so many covers that I was able in many cases to figure out a probable quantity produced by a particular source, and sometimes which cylinder the stamps were from, and so on. One day I’ll formalize it all into charts and graphs and publish the results.... (I hope!).

During that exercise, there were names that cropped up time and again, like Capt. T Smye, Mr J Stephen, The Pearson sisters – golly, were they two spinsters who had a hyperactive nephew serving in North Africa, spending all his spare time sending them letters with combinations of over-printed stamps? Was Capt. Smye a naval officer who was obsessed with sending mail by sea, unable to stop until he had cachets from every sailing ship on the high seas? Mr Stephens must have had shares in the West Coast Air Services - and pilot Higgins was his brother-in-law! And many more.

The appearance of these names on a cover immediately signals, “Philatelic use”! And yet many are as normal-looking and non-philatelic in appearance as can be. And I often wonder whether the term ‘Philatelic use” is derogatory, simply indicative, or – like beauty – whatever the beholder wants it to be.

Which brings me to the main point of the message… are these names of interest, or relevance to anybody? Is there any source of information about who they were? Letters inside covers can be valuable additions to postal history knowledge, and can be treasured along with the covers. It seems to me that the names of the recipients can also tell stories, and put items into a different perspective. So if anybody knows of any sources, or has any anecdotes about the many familiar names, I for one would be more than happy to hear of them

Cheers from a newcomer to postal history,

Robin Restall

 Post subject: Transfer from previous board: original post 2006
PostPosted: Tue Nov 29, 2011 7:05 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 11, 2008 6:00 pm
Posts: 105
hi Robin
I personally find it very interesting. There are also enough addresses abroad to which lots of philatelically contrived mail was sent, also in the XIX. century.
As long as the postage rates are correct and the letter went through the post in the correct way I do not see a problem.
One of my "favourites" for want of a better word is the Rev. Edgar Calvert - I have about 60 covers form the period between the 2 World Wars adressed to him at various addresses (and his mother or wife) all with stamps with control numbers attached. He must have liked them as much as I do!

 Post subject: Transfer from previous board: original post 2008
PostPosted: Wed Nov 30, 2011 7:00 pm 

Joined: Fri May 08, 2009 6:00 pm
Posts: 88
twasnt me! robinr

I am not a student of postal history - as carried out by the majority of interested scholars (who, by the way, in my view have got it wrong or rather incomplete).

However because of the depth of my interest in subjects I approach, do have a view on contrived items of mail.

Provided - as stated they have passed through the mail system, they are admissable in a collection. Provided always that they are described as such.

They show much about the attitudes of the people and times they originate from. A lot of people who had nothing better to do than obtain 'information' through the Post.

My study of Channel Islands stamps shows much contrivation - even during the war (or particularly so) collectors and dealers looking to profit in the future by 'contriving' mail --- whilst their world was turned upside down by events.

But what is shown is that it was ever thus - people do not change - and where there is a quick buck to be made someone will want to do that.

Include it but describe the cheating behind it.

 Post subject: Transfer from previous board: original post 2014
PostPosted: Thu Dec 01, 2011 7:00 pm 

Joined: Fri Aug 27, 2010 6:00 pm
Posts: 150
Two good responses, for which many thanks James and RobinT!

And two totally different aspects of the same subject - essentially the use of mail for some philatelic reason. There ought to be an endless series of comments and points of view on both of them, but from looking at the record and personal experience I doubt that'll happen

Firstly, RobinT - Mr Controversy! I agree with you Robin. If an item went through the post, for whatever purpose, it has to be legitimate and certainly of some philatelic value if it furthers philatelic knowledge. Unfortunately, the dark side of that, the crooks and fiddlers and fraudsters who are seeking to make a big return on a small investment, all too often succeed.

I always think of you when I turn to my KGVI Coronation stamp used on Channel Island covers. When I started, I seriously looked for a cover with "The Stamp" with a German occupation cancellation, but never found one. I had no knowledge of the extent of serious specialization of CI stamps - both here, there and in Germany, but I've since discovered that it was and still is a hotbed of WWII fakes! Presumably part of the fun is identifying them?

In the two books I'm working on, I have a chapter with the title "Fakes, Frauds and Fantasies" It is surprising and rather depressing-but-understandable, that so much bad material has a high price on it. And those prices do not even obey the laws of supply and demand. The vendors stick on a silly-high price and it sits there unsold for months, even years, until a sucker comes along... there are more than a few of those on eBay right now!

James, your collection sounds fascinating! By any chance do you have any examples of the very rare control numbers for KE8? In your case, the name is apparently of the collector. I think that is a shade better than those endless covers where a dealer addressed endless covers to himself. I once bought a job lot of 100 FDC of the Coronation stamp. It turned out to be 100 identical, small plain brown envelopes, all addressed to the same person, each with a single stamp and nothing else. I'd guess that it was an act of intended investment by somebody with little wit nor wisdom. I managed to identify a couple of dozen of the stamps to cylinder and location by checking the micro-flaws, and can hazard a guess at what he actually bought. In commercial terms I think they are worthless, I paid £10!

Do you think it worth attempting to build a register of all those very-often-used-names? Is there an illustrated catalogue of pre-decimal covers that can provide a basis for comparison of price v scarcity?

Cheers and wishes,


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