by John Ineson
An interesting auction held by "Romano House of Stamp Sales Ltd", took place in Israel in early December and amongst the many items on sale were over 20 lots of Scout Rocket Mail. Most of the covers were sent to a Lady Ezra who must have been a close friend of Stephen H. Smith, who at that time was the Secretary of the Indian Air Mail Society. He was the organiser of the Rocket Mail which carried covers and many other paper items sent at the All- India Boy Scout Jamboree held at Delhi in February 1937, and at the Girl Guide Rally at Bengal a month later. Both events were attended by Lord and Lady Baden-Powell, and Girl Guide Rocket No. 7 was fired by Lady Baden-Powell. A very good account of the Rocket Mail was published in Gordon Entwistle's book "Boy Scout & Girl, Guide Stamps of the World" and published in 1957. (This book can often be found on eBay for less than £5.00). This was a live auction by internet only, so you had the chance to bid early online or wait until the last few seconds at Israel Local Time of 00.00.00 (in other words at midnight on 1 December). As bids arrived they were updated on their website and were in US dollars, but there were some strange activities with the bidding. Amongst the lots were two of the very scarce Girl Guide covers (shown here) which at an hour or so before the auction ended, stood at US$ 4500 (£3600) but finally sold for US$ 2700 (about £2160). It is difficult to guess what was happening, but once the bid stood at US$ 4500 most people would have dropped out. I have my own thoughts what happened, but cannot prove them!! The same thing happened to one other lot, so it was a little "fishy". The postcard shown sent by Rocket R.139 Lord Baden-Powell sold for US$ 450 (£360) but as with all lots, there was a 20% buyers premium, which brought the price, even with postage, to somewhat less than the usual market price for rocket mail.