by John Ineson
Much has been written in the U.K. press recently regarding the centenary of the sinking of the Titanic on her maiden voyage to the United States. The ship was constructed by the Belfast shipbuilders Harland and Woolf, and was delivered to the White Star Line Company in April 1912. She was the largest ship in the world, and her maiden voyage was anticipated with great interest. On 10th April she departed from Southampton with 2206 passengers including 900 crew. The ship sank on 15 April 1912 after hitting an iceberg the previous evening, and only 703 people survived the disaster. As the ship was considered unsinkable, there were only 20 lifeboats, when three times that number should have been available. A total of 1514 crew and passengers died in this disaster. Very high prices are being paid in the salerooms for anything to do with the ship. A real photo postcard of Scouts collecting for the Titanic Relief Fund outside Eastman's shop at Bridport, Dorset which sold in July 1991 for £220 (approximately US$ 340 Euro€ 265) against an estimate of £40-£60.
Recently sold at auction in the Czech Republic was a very rare inverted President Masaryk overprint on the 20h Scout stamp. Only 600 stamps of both the 10h and 20h values were overprinted with "Arrival of President Masaryk" and used for one day only on 21 December 1918. Only four stamps are known with the overprint inverted, two of which are in the Postal Museum in Prague, while the only other stamp is known to be in Scout collection. This stamp, with a number of expert certificates, sold at its estimate of CZK 750,000 (about £25,425, US$ 46,325, Euro€ 32,808).