by John Ineson
I was most interested to read in the September edition of the Anglo-Boer War Philatelist that a member of their society, Joh Groenewald, had been researching Baden-Powell's time at Rustenburg following the Siege of Mafeking. In the Lord Roberts' papers in the archives at Pretoria, he noted and photocopied a telegram regarding the possible reprinting of the Mafeking Siege issues! The telegram dated 29th June 1900 from Baden- Powell to the Military Secretary Chief; Pretoria reads "Re. sets of Mafeking besieged stamps for Postal Union. There are none left at Mafeking or in hand anywhere. Please say if special copies should be reprinted for the Postal Union". I wonder what the outcome of this telegram was.
Rushstamps, the well know UK stamp dealer is still offering the 1957 Scout Jamboree perfins (discussed at length in the November/December 2001 Bulletin) at £25.00 per set or £95.00 in blocks of four. They do say in their advert "We believe only 1200 sets were produced (10 sheets of 120)". At one time they told me that they had virtually sold out, but still they appear and at a gradual increased price. I sometimes wonder how many were produced. Also for sale in their latest list are the testing labels used for the 1957 Jamboree stamps. These labels "Imperf Between" pair using the Scout issue paper with St.Edwards Watermark sells for £5.00 or a block of four for £9.50.
I was most interested to read on a web site, the following information regarding the Union of Czech Philatelists. I hope this does not apply to Scout items but it makes you think when exhibiting! "Yesterday I was at a club meeting in Antwerp. There was a lot of discussion and even the president of the Belgian Union of Philatelist was present. During May this year we had the Belgian National Exhibition in Liege. As we have now heard, the exhibition was raided by the Belgian police on the opening day on Thursday. They confiscated a lot of material from the dealers. The reason was that they were investigating if the material was illegally removed from the provincial archives. After they had finished with the dealers, they wanted to start on the exhibits. Only a long discussion with the union board could prevent this on Thursday, but they came back on the Sunday, when the collections were dismounted. Again they confiscated a lot of material, not only mail addressed to official addresses (like town councils or courts) but even mail to and from private persons. At this moment the material is in the hands of the provincial keeper of the archives. He is going to study each item and is going to decide if it doesn't belong in his archives. This may take ages! Exhibitors even count on the fact that they will not be able to participate in international exhibitions later this year, where they were admitted. Of course if the pieces are bought at official auctions the owners will not be prosecuted, but if justice is right, they will lose their material without compensation according to European law. If justice is successful in this action, it may well spread across other Belgian provinces, and it will give ideas to justice in other EU countries. Since a lot of the material in our postal history collections comes from archives in Austria and the Czech Republic, this may well be of influence to us too and especially to our participation in Brno in 2005".
You will see other reports in this Bulletin concerning the Euro-Scout meeting held in Prague during October. During this exhibition a meeting of IFSCO (our International Federation) was held when a number of items were discussed. I informed the meeting about the possible IFSCO participation at the 2005 Euro-Jam and 2007 World Jamborees in England. Participation will be costly, and it is not likely that we would be able to sell souvenirs. We would have to prepare an application and present a concept for activities etc, which would be evaluated for approval, but as yet we do not even know the criteria. A decision as to whether we would be at the World Jamboree will be dependent upon a satisfactory outcome at Euro-Jam. It was agreed after much discussion that IFSCO will not take part in either Jamboree.
Much of the time at the IFSCO meeting was taken up regarding the classification of Scout and Guide stamps. With the 2007 World Jamboree, taking place in the UK in 2007, there will no doubt be a proliferation of stamps issued to commemorate this event. Collectors shall of course be free to collect whatever they wish, but the aim would be to present relevant information about the various issues. In the past there have been a considerable number of stamps issued by places not authorised to issue stamps and by fictitious places. The discussion which followed proved that there is a great understanding for the need of such stamp classification, but some uncertainty regarding the feasibility and practicality of doing this. Among this was how information could be spread quickly enough to dealers and collectors. A sub committee was appointed to prepare concrete guidelines for a classification system. In the meantime Bob Lee will be doing his own personal classification for his new issue service from 1st January 2005.
The next Euro-Scout meeting will be held in Spain from 12th - 15th October 2006 at Alcalá de Henares, a World Heritage city, some 19 miles (30 km) from Madrid. Knowing how successful the Club Filatélico de Scouts y Guías exhibitions have been in Spain, I am sure we are in for a great show.