by John Ineson
I was interested to see in the recent Christoph Gärtner auction in Germany, Lot 4307 "Scouts 1925, large size, hand painted essay of the Sport issue 1000 Kr, showing a Scout blowing a trumpet in front of a tent. In ink and pencil. size 11.5 x 9.5cm (4½ x 3¾ inches) on card. UNIQUE!" This looked good as you can see in the left hand photograph, and of interest to collectors as it was the first stamp to show a Boy Scout. Below written in pencil were the words in Hungarian "Accepted design as agreed" with an unreadable signature. As I was going to Hungary in June, I decided to take a large photocopy of this to show to various stamp dealers. It was not until near the end of my visit that a dealer, who I had known for many years, said that this was not the original by the artist Ference Helbing (1870-1958). He showed me a few essays that he had in his own collection by the same designer, but the one sold had nothing like the same standard of work. He suggested that I went to the Postal Museum where the director kindly showed me on their computer the original essay by Helbing which is in their collection. This was of superb quality, (the one sold looked poor when enlarged) but I was told that they were not able to let me have a copy or scan unless I wrote to the Hungarian Post. I did this but they wrote back "we are unfortunately not allowed to send a copy of the original design to anyone", so I can only show the actual stamp. Somebody paid a high price of €8000 (about £6960, US$ 10,450) plus of course the buyer's premium, against the original estimate of €800. We have no idea when this was copied or produced, but I guess we must say "Caveat emptor" - buyer beware"
In the June auction of Viennafil of Vienna, they sold two colour trials of the 1962 Scout stamp in both light green and red. I do not remember having seen these before and guess they must be very scarce. Both estimated at €700, they each made €750 (£650). One advantage of having your magazine sent online is that you will see the photos in colour.
I was interested to read Peter Duck's article last month on the covers sent into various World Jamborees which included the 1957 cover with the cachet "Camp Disbanded Return to Sender". Having one of these in my own collection, I decided to do the same for the 1995 World Jamboree held in the Netherlands. A few days after the camp closed, I sent a cover including a letter to a Hungarian friend who was at the camp. Expecting this to be returned to me with a similar cachet, I wrote my home address on the reverse. Nothing happened for a couple of weeks, after which I received my cover, but this had been posted to me from our Scout H.Q. in the U.K. The Dutch post office or the Jamboree organizers had sent all letters and correspondence back to the HQ of the country from where the letters had been posted. They were then opened (which they had no need to do as my address was on the reverse), so this did not please me very much!
Last month I wrote about "Is your journey really necessary" but I am pleased to say that I have now heard that I was not the only member of our club who made the wasted trip to Hamburg to view the 92 boxes, but with the wrong description. An overseas member has also written to say the he also had a wasted journey.
On a personal note, I was delighted at our Annual General Meeting to be made the Club's Honorary Vice President in the place of the late Ron Howard. I originally held the position of Vice President from 1990-1997, when I was demoted / promoted? to become Chairman! I joined the former SSCC in 1957, and being No. 56, I am now the longest surviving club member.