by John Ineson
In my Chairman's Notes for May/June I mentioned the Indian Guide Rocket cover that was sold on eBay. Since then a number of Rocket items have appeared for sale and I was interested to have more information about this collection. Bob Betts of Southampton, UK, (known as Radstockman on eBay), had the most fortunate - once in a lifetime experience. A lady, who has now moved from her house to a smaller apartment, cleared out her garage and removed the contents from an old trunk which had belonged to a now deceased member of the family, who had served in the British Army in India at the end of WWII. (We would presume that he knew Stephen H Smith because mail addressed to him often used Stephen Smith's address). A badly soiled Stamp Album, with rather a mouldy smell, upon opening revealed a specialised Collection of Rocket Labels and Covers including virtually all the Scout & Guide Rocket material that was issued in 1937. The lady did not wish to keep the old album and envelopes in her new apartment so the Rocket Mail collection was to be thrown out with the rubbish. However before doing this, she decided to ask Bob Betts if it was of any interest. As can be seen by the material offered this was certainly a great find.
Although I know it is nothing to do with Scout stamps, what would you pay for a brick? Well, this is perhaps a special brick and was in fact from the house shown on the 1907 photograph of the Brownsea Island experimental camp. The name "Brownsea Island" is cast into the brick as the Island had its own local brickworks. Terry Bonfield (one of the original Scouts) had two bricks and gave this one to a Canadian Scouter when he visited the Island in 1985. There were 27 bids, and the brick finally sold on eBay for £ 1590 (about US$ 2706 ...Euro€ 2370)
I recently visited the International Stamp Exhibition in Valencia, Spain and saw a number of Scout exhibits. In another non-Scout exhibit of Siam (Thailand) by Stephen Parker of Ireland, he mentioned that the 1920 Siam Scouts stamps were sold at a premium over face value, which went to a fund for the purchase of rifles for the Tiger Scouts. I had not seen this stated before. At the same exhibition I was shown a new hard-backed book "Poczta Powstańczej Warszawy - Warszawskie Termopile 1944" by Stanslaw F. Ozimek. This book (ISBN 83- 87545-81-3) deals with the Scout Post in the Warsaw Uprising and has 310 pages with many illustrations including 16 full pages in colour, but unfortunately for many of us, it is written in Polish.
Much has been written in our philatelic press by the decision of the Post Office to withdraw from general sale all definitive high value stamps from 31st March 2004, so no longer will we have stamps of £1 and above. In their place we now have those awful white labels printed at the time of posting. I guess this is a change of the times, but not good for stamp collectors. However those who collect G. B. mint stamps will not have to pay out so much money in future.
It was good to see the SGSC as "Society of the Month" in the July 2004 issue of Stamp Magazine. The club badge was shown in colour and the third of a page article mentioned "the society's brilliant website". The address of this is on the front cover of the Bulletin. Thanks go to Randall Frank for making this so successful.
Thanks also go to Peter Duck and Melvyn Gallagher for manning a stand at the annual Cub Day at Gilwell Park last month. Although they did not sign up any new members, they did find much interest and gave out a large number of application forms so we still hope for some feedback. The Club will also be represented at the Gilwell Reunion which is being held on the first weekend of September.
The Annual General Meeting of the Club was held recently but the changes proposed to allow "related paper ephemera" to be included in our constitution, was not carried as the committee member who had proposed this had unfortunately been called away at the last minute. This will however be brought up at the AGM in 2005.
One never knows what is coming up for sale, and this applied recently when an auction house in Berwick- upon-Tweed offered a set of Mafeking banknotes which had belonged to George Ogle, the Roman Catholic Chaplain to the besieged town. These notes (which probably had not seen the light of day for over 100 years) were signed by him on the reverse, and had been offered for sale by his grand-daughter. It is surprising what still comes onto the market, so many years after the event.
There is still time to take part in the 5th Euro-Scout meeting in Prague over the weekend of 15th-17th October. This will no doubt be a most enjoyable show with some superb Scout collections on display. If you are considering attending, please contact me for details.