by John Ineson
In August, a sheet of nine red 1937 Scout India Rocket labels came up for sale with an U.K. auction company stating in their description, "INDIA ROCKET MAIL 1937 - Red rocket mail stamp, Boy Scouts Jamboree pane of nine, signed Stephen Smith on each stamp. Lovely, never hinged mint". Having looked at the scan of the front, the colour of the paper looked good, so I requested a picture of the reverse. The signatures were all the same and must have been photocopied from an original signature. I contacted the auctioneer and told him that they were modern forgeries, and without hesitation they were withdrawn from the sale, despite the estimate being £125-£150. It was probably in the 1980's when the sheets of nine first came to the market in three colours of red, blue and green. Original records show that there were 2000 of each printed, and I do know that 25 souvenir sheets of four of each colour were produced, but have never seen any references as to how many were printed in the original sheets.
During September, the London based auction house Argyll Etkin sold this 1929 cover with the circular postmark. This should have only been used for Registered Mail. Their description in the catalogue reads, "Boy Scouts. 1929 (July 31) 1½d Stationery envelope bearing a 3d stamp each cancelled "ARROWE PK CAMP / WIRRAL CHES" skeleton date stamp with a third strike on the reverse, addressed to "Asst. Dist. Com. V. Collett, No 2 Cash Supply Depot, Arrowe Park, Birkenhead". This date stamp used on the first day of the World Scout Jamboree at Arrowe Park. The circular date stamp should only have been used on registered mail, but although this item was franked at the registered rate, it was without a registration label, possibly because it was delivered within the Jamboree Camp. Estimated at £200-250, it sold for £355.
Some real treasures of 1918 Czech Scout philately have come up for auction recently. The very rare strip of five 10h blue imperforate stamps was sold by Jiřì Majer in Prague in September. As is well known, the stamps were perforated individually. A month later, Burda Auctions sold the second part of the Ludvík Pytlíček collection which included a strip of five 10h stamps, as well as the pair of 20h value. The most spectacular item sold was the telegram with the 10h blue Scout stamp with red overprint "Příjezd presidenta Masaryka", the arrival of President Masaryk on 21 December 1918. The telegram gave the first announcement from the border crossing at Horní Dvořiště that Masaryk had arrived back on Czech soil after returning from exile. An historical document of great importance in the founding of the state of Czechoslovakia.