|Scout and Guide Stamps Club History|
The First 50 Years SGSC 1957- 2007
On February 20th this year, we celebrated the 50th Anniversary of the formation of what was then known as "The Scout Stamps Collectors Club". Although a couple of informal meetings were held in the autumn of 1956, it was not until February 1957 that the first official meeting was held at the Headquarters of the Boy Scouts International Bureau, which at that time was at 132. Ebury Street, London.
So that the early days of the club have not been forgotten, I contacted in 1982 some of the founder members of the club to hear their stories, and spoke to Howard Fears, Len Bowen and Roy Rhodes. Major-General Spry C.B.E., D.S.O., C.D, in his official position as Director of the International Bureau did a world tour during 1956 and on visiting the U.S.A. came across Scouters at their headquarters who were stamp collectors, and also belonged to S.O.S.S.I., the American Scout Stamp Club. As he was a philatelist himself, he thought it would be a good idea to start up a club in the U. K. His office obtained from S.O.S.S.I. a list of members from this country and Europe and he wrote to each person suggesting that they have an informal meeting in London to discuss the formation of a new Club. At this meeting the following were amongst those who attended:- Howard Fears, Roy Rhodes, Len Bowen, Wilf Nodder, Wim Six from Holland and Claude Marchal of France. In July 1958 Major-General Spry was appointed Vice- President.
The first member to register on February 20th 1957 was Mr. T.M. Walters M.B.E. and as interest grew as the result of the Sutton Coldfield World Jamboree, enquiries came in quickly and within six months membership had passed 50 and by January 1958, 100 was reached. Four years later in July 1962 member No.500 had been registered. Out of those original first hundred, four are still members of the Club.
Probably the first Scout Stamp collector in the U.K. was Len Bowen who in 1932 read "The Scout" magazine which was published weekly from April 1908 until September 1966. Occasionally articles under the title of "Stamp Corner" appeared and one of these advised Boy Scout stamp collectors to mount Scout Stamps of Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Liechtenstein and Roumania on a special page leaving room for the 1933 Hungarian Godollo issue. Len was probably the only person in the Club who had a 1933 Scout Jamboree cover addressed to himself. Knowing the Jamboree was going to be held in Hungary, he wrote his own cover and posted it with an International Money voucher to the Camp Chief requesting him to post it registered to his home address.
Roy Rhodes was the first President and remained so until his death in November 1999. He was the first UK person to join S.O.S.S.I. and the second overseas member to be enrolled. The first Secretary of the club was Howard Fears and the Editor was the late Wilf Nodder. We did not have a Chairman in those days! The price of the first Journal was the equivalent of 5p but this was reduced from the next issue to 2½p per copy. The annual subscription was 25p.
In the April 1958 issue Wilf Nodder informs us the new Stanley Gibbons catalogue prices:- was 25p.
1959 the late Stanley Blunt was appointed Assistant Secretary. Our meetings were held in B.P.'s room at Scout Headquarters in London until May 1959 when the first one was held at Roland House. It is interesting to note that for the first two years, the only contributors to the journal were Roy Rhodes, Howard Fears, Wilf Nodder, Stanley Blunt, Len Bowen, Stanley Hunter and Claude Marchal. In other words, 12 journals were written by only 7 people. A priced copy of Scout & Guide stamps was issued using Stanley Gibbons numbers. Not many stamps at that time.
1960 An auction of Scout stamps was held in aid of the Baden-Powell House funds. The club has a free advisory bureau, where members could send items to find out more information on their stamps and cancellations. A report by Howard Fears on the 3rd World Indaba held in the Netherlands.
1961 New members to the club included Fredy Scherb (293), Harry Thorsen (302), David Jefferies (394), John Roake (401) and Ron Howard (402). During the year the existing organisers met in London to discuss having a constitution, with elections for a committee to handle the business of the Club. There would be six members and elections to be held when needed. The journal mentions that a Scout can stay at B.P. House for 52½p per night while a Scouter has to pay 70p unless he goes in a twin bedded room which is 80p per person.
1963 John Roake was appointed Asst. Secretary. He reports in the January issue that the Siam sets in blocks of four mint were sold in auction at the following prices:- 1st set £60, 2nd set £60, and the 3rd set £40. The first Croydon meeting was held at the home of Mrs. Melody Kennett and organised by Alan Nicholson. Subscriptions were increased to 70p. Baden-Powell large head used now making £27 in auction. The journal included the first article written by Peter Duck, a London Scouter, who spent a fortnight at the World Jamboree in Greece.
1964 Harry Thorsen attends a meeting at Roland House. This was his first visit to the U.K. since he attended the Arrowe Park Jamboree in 1929. His lasting memory is meeting B.P. at 6 a.m. one wet and muddy morning when he was on early cook's duty. For those who do not know Harry, he was founder of S.O.S.S.I. and Scout Memorabilia.
1965 The first club auction was held and the following were sold: Czech. pair mint £2.50, Hungary 1925 set mint imperf £16, Hungary 1933 imperf mint £5.50, Siam 1st set mint £17, with Czech covers making £5 and £5.50. Although it was known that a "Darlington Cancel" existed from the Northern Counties Jamboree in 1936, it was not until this year that Bill Bourke became the first member to acquire one for his collection. Our Membership Secretary since 1958, Stanley Blunt has "Gone Home". He did so much for the club in the early years.
1966 Member No.1, Mr. T.M. Walters awarded the M.B.E. in the New Years Honours list. The first illustrated catalogue of Scout and Guide stamps compiled by A.H. Nicholson was produced. England wins the World Cup-yes it was mentioned in the journal. The Chief Scout Sir Charles Maclean visited the Stamp display at Roland House. Howard Fears thins out his collection and sends out a sales list. I buy my first 2/- Mafeking banknote from this at 37½p. I should have bought the Cyprus miniature sheet mint at £1.75 (at that time making over £100 in auction, but now nearer £30) or the 1953 Liechtenstein set in mint corner blocks of four at £7.00.
1967 Membership fees increased to £1.05. Len Bowen wrote article on the Arrowe Park Meter cancel and tells how it came into his possession. The club has its fifth auction and a 1936 Mount Edgcumbe Camp cancel on cover makes £42 against an estimate of £15. Our thousandth member enrolled. John Roake retires as Asst. Secretary and Bill Bourke takes over as Joint Editor with Wilf Nodder. Peter Duck becomes Asst. Editor and starts his article "New Issue News". A total of 700 copies of the Journal were printed.
1968 Scout material started to reappear from Czechoslovakia until the country was repressed by the Russians in 1970. The Club has financial problems so special Auction held to raise at least £100 for funds. The sixth club auction was held with 107 lots with the highest valued lot being a part set of Siam used, which made £9.35.
1969 Large Scout stamp Exhibition at B.P. House with collections from U.K. & Europe. Bim Knight retires as Membership Secretary and is followed by Bob Tyler. One of our founder members, Wilf Nodder passed away on 4th September. He was Editor from 1957-67 and wrote many interesting articles for the journal. He was a. Fellow of the Royal Philatelic Society and was a member of their expert committee for many years. He held a number of appointments as a Scouter in the County of Somerset and held the Wood Badge in all four sections of the movement. His article "The Hidden Story" was repeated in the journal as a tribute to him.
1970 The journal appears in a new format and goes from a folded foolscap to the A.4 size, and at the same time the name was changed from Journal to Bulletin. Details given about the Scouts of Swaziland who enjoy the privilege of free postage within the country. Founders Day exhibition at Baden-Powell House.
1971 A check list of Scout & Guide Postmarks from the U.K. given Stanley Hunter from 1929 to date. A special Scout postmarks will now cost their sponsors £25 instead of £10.
1972 My first article for the journal which was about the Scout collections at Belgica'72, the International Exhibition held in Brussels. The tenth annual meeting held at Croydon.
1973 Major article in January issue on the 1937 All-India Jamboree Rocket Mail. Fredy Scherb published a full length article "Scouting & Scout Philately in Roumania 1915-39."
1974 A second Darlington 1936 postmark turns up in Scotland and is postmarked on the last day of the Camp which is 9th August. For the first time the A.G.M. of the Club was held at the Scottish Scout Headquarters. Mary Lambe from Australia attended our October meeting. She is Editor & Past President of the Scout & Guide Stamp Society in Australia.
1975 Subs increased to £1.50. Howard Fears retires as Editor and Secretary due to business reasons. He has been actively involved in the club since its formation. Peter Duck takes over as Editor, Roy Rhodes our President takes on the job of printing, collating, stapling and despatching the journal. Not often the President ends up doing the office boy's job! World Jamboree in Norway. I visit Mafeking for the 75th Anniversary celebrations of the Relief. and wrote an article about this in the Journal.
1976 Reg Morris produces his Monograph on Nordjamb'75. The Club mounted a display at the Gilwell Reunion to celebrate its 50th get together. Lady B.P. and John Thurman attend.
1977 The first Portsmouth Regional meeting held. Lady B.P. passed away on 25th June. Alan Nicholson passed away on 4th December. He has given such good service to the Club.
1978 The 1929 World Jamboree Monograph by Jimmy Golton and Reg Morris is published - a first class production. At the June meeting Mr. Zbigniew Bokiewicz showed his wonderful collection of the Scout Field Post material from the Warsaw Uprising in 1944. This was one of the most outstanding displays we have been shown on this era of Scout Philately.
1979 Len Moss from New Zealand attends the A.G.M. He was last in the U.K. when he represented his country at the World Jamboree at Birkenhead in 1929. An article by Ivo Krasnicka (translated by John Giblin) on the Czech Scout Posts appears in two journals. This seems to be the best record produced so far. Liberia is on the Scout "bandwagon" and issues a "set" of 50 stamps.
1980 The year of our most ambitious Stamp Exhibition yet, to coincide with the London 1980 International Exhibition. This was held for three days in May and judges were Mary Lambe (Australia), Walter Grob-Sigrist (Switzerland), Alberto Vezzalini (Italy) and Peter Duck. The Bojanowicz cup was won by David Jefferies for his special study of Scout forgeries.
1981 Member No. 2000 enrolled during May. We now have an active membership of about 650 which is the highest since we started. Our meetings in London have been most successful and we look forward to the future with confidence. The Woodseats Venture Scouts of Sheffield and the Weare Scout group were the first to issue the new Scout Christmas Post Philatelic stamps and to run a postal service in their surrounding areas.
1982 Our 25th Anniversary started with a two day exhibition at Baden- 10 MAY Powell House, London. Visitors included the new Chief Scout Major- General Walsh and various members of the World Scout Committee. The Bojanowicz cup was awarded to Carl Thomsen of Sweden. During March a 26p Scout stamp was issued for the 75th anniversary of the movement. John Roake, a former Asst. Editor and great philatelist died aged 53.
1983 A great number of Scout Christmas Delivery Posts sprang up all over the country. The Sir Maxwell Joseph Mafeking collection was sold in London with some very high prices. The 15th World Jamboree was held in Canada with the issue of one Scout stamp.
1984 Peter Duck reported finding a Mount Edgcumbe cancel on cover which in 1984 was a very scarce item, although since then a number have appeared on the market including a few registered covers. The Annual General Meeting was held in London when 35 members attended. This represented about 10% of the UK membership. Auction No. 7 consisted of more than 400 lots. A club meeting was held in Falkirk, Scotland.
1985 The name of the club was changed from Scout Stamps Collectors Club to Scout & Guide Stamps Club. Subscriptions increased to £3.50 per year and our worldwide membership is fairly static at 700. Another big auction with imperforate pairs of the 2 cents and 2 cordoba of 1949 Nicaragua issue making £950.00. These were from the only known sheet of 25 stamps.
1986 The AGM was held in June when Gottfried Steinmann of Germany gave a display of his thematic exhibit which included the scarce Warsaw Uprising 1944 Scout "Sewer Post" material. A West Country Jamboree held at Mount Edgcumbe, Devon at the same site as the one attended by Baden-Powell in 1936.
1987 A most successful exhibition held at BP house with 17 exhibitors. David Jefferies wrote a most interesting article on Scout Perfins. (perforated initial in stamps) The Boy Scout Association used B.S.A. which was also used by the Birmingham Small Arms company, the weapons and bicycle manufacturers.
1988 The 16th World Jamboree held in Australia from 31st December 1987-10th January 1988, with an exhibit by the Australian Scout & Guide Stamp Collectors Society. Membership has dropped from 725 to approximately 650. The death of Jack Wishart from Darlington was reported. He was a great stalwart of the club since 1961 and although Darlington is some 250 miles from London he seldom missed a meeting at Baden-Powell House.
1989 Scouting returns to Hungary after an absence of 40 years having been banned by the Communist Government. Within six months there were 3000 Scouts in nearly 100 Groups. The first Hungarian cancel since the rebirth of Scouting was used on 30th April. Within a short time, a considerable amount of Scout philatelic items started to appear on the market having been kept hidden away for so many years.
1990 It was reported that Len Bowen passed away last autumn aged 75. A founder member of our club and probably the worlds first Scout Stamp collector, having a cover addressed to himself from the World Jamboree held in Gödöllô, Hungary in 1933. We held our largest International exhibition for ten years at BP House with 50 frames giving 100 sides of exhibits. Sixteen members took part in the competition with the Bojanowicz cup being won by Gottfried Steinmann. Many other members also gave displays, but these were not part of the competition. The cost of putting on this exhibition amounted to £2352, although it was not very well attended by members or the public.
1991 The 17th World Jamboree in Korea. And the 8th World Rover Moot in Australia. An appeal was launched to provide a memorial stone to Warner Goodyear (He appears on the 1d Mafeking blue stamp) at Randfontein In South Africa. His grave is marked with a plot number of 199. and although BP donated towards his memorial stone when he was accidentally hit by a ball playing a game of hockey, no memorial stone was ever erected.
1992 It was with sadness that we had to report the passing of David Clark, a member of the committee for many years. He had been responsible for the design work of most of our postmarks, postcards and labels and designed the postmark for our 1990 exhibition. A regional meeting at Newbury was organised by Ron Pickett and this was attended by over 20 members and friends. A meeting was also held at Falkirk, Scotland organised by Bob McSherry. The Warner Goodyear memorial in South Africa was unveiled by the Chief Scout of South Africa on 24th May 1992.
1993 It was reported in the January/February Bulletin that Bill Hillcourt passed away last November. "Green Bar Bill" as he was affectionately known, was born in Denmark in August 1900 and became a Scout in 1910. After attending the first two World Jamborees in 1920 and 1924, he went to the USA and eventually became Editor of Boys Life, the American Scout magazine. Hungary held a camp to celebrate 60th anniversary of the World Jamboree.
1994 I know that I write rather much about deceased members, but I just mention Eric Pitts who passed away last October. He was certainly one of Scouting's great characters and with two other Rover Scouts attended the 1933 World Jamboree by taking his car and towing a caravan. The first time a caravan had been seen at a Scout event. He attended every Jamboree from 1920 until 1963 and was at Olympia in 1920 when BP was declared Chief Scout of the World. One of the largest collections of Mafeking in existence was sold in Lugano, Switzerland. Modern forgeries of the 1933 Jamboree covers have come onto the market. The photograph shows Peter Duck (left) and the late David Clark.
1995 A number of letters appeared in the Bulletin regarding the poor attendance at meetings, so nothing is new! The 18th World Jamboree was held at Dronten in Holland. No doubt the stamp issued for the Jamboree was the worst one ever produced. Phone cards were also on sale and carried the Jamboree logo "Future is now". Mystery BP Perfins arrived on the market with the letters BP and a scroll below. Each had a different position of the perfin and it was thought at the time that they had recently been produced, but a cover appeared used in 1957. The first auction of the late Eric Bowers collection with half of the proceeds going to the club. He had been a member since the early days and had built up a magnificent Scout collection with some great pieces which made high prices.
1996 Research continues on the scarce Darlington cancel of 1936 and to date four items have been recorded. A copy of the 1995 Jamboree monograph produced by Fred Maarsen was sent to all members. The first Euro-Scout stamp exhibition was held at Grafing near Munich, Germany with exhibits from 14 countries in 240 frames.
1997 Harry Thorsen, the "father" of Scout philately passed away at his home in Florida aged 83. It was he who was responsible for the formation in 1951 of the US club SOSSI as it is now known. The club also lost another early member Claude Marchal, who was a world renowned collector of all things connect with Scouting. Ron Howard retired as Chairman/Secretary General after over 20 years service to the club.
1998 The 2nd Euro-Scout meeting was held at Schwanberg, Austria. The fourth known Meter Slogan from the 1929 Jamboree appeared on the market dated 16th May 1929. A first class article on the 1957 Jamboree by Michael Berry was reproduced from Stamp Collecting. This was followed by articles on the 3rd Yugoslavian National Jamboree of 1935 and on Scout Latvian cancels by Manfred Rauschenberger from Germany. Thanks to Randall Frank, we now have our own page on the UK Scout Base web site.
1999 A Mafeking cover appeared on the market with a postage due stamp. This was sent to Egypt via Suez and London. Another great loss to the club was the passing of Roy Rhodes in November. He was one of the founders of our club, a long time Scouter and our first President. He had previously joined the American club in 1953 and wrote extensively on Scout Philately. Personalised stamps have begun to appear in many countries.
2000 More and more Scout Christmas Post stamps and covers have appeared and are proving most popular for fund raising. Our own exhibition was held at Baden-Powell House during May to once again coincide with the International Show being held in London. The Bojanowicz cup was won by Jan Cosyns of Belgium. A four page article written by T.P. McDermott concerning the postcards of Louis Márton, the well known Hungarian artist was published in the bulletin. Some great auctions continue to be run by Bob Lee with commission going to the club. The 2000 Euro-Scout meeting was held at Comacchio, Italy and was a really great success, both with the exhibition and the social activities. We became founder members of IFSCO, the International Federation of Scout Stamp Collectors. The club auction raised over £9000 from 49 bidders.
2001 Another full length article by Manfred Rauschenberg on the Lithuania Scout Postmarks of 1938 and how to tell the forgeries. The first class article on the 1957 Jamboree by our Editor Peter Duck appeared in three Bulletins. This is probably the best record of all the known cachet covers.
2002 Due to the excessive charges to hire a room at B.P.House in London, our venue has been changed to North Richmond Scout H.Q. Our Annual exhibition was held in conjunction with the International Badgers Club at Gilwell Park. This went down well, as a number of the IBC are also members of our club. Erhard Stermole continues to keep us up to date writing articles for the Bulletin on Australian Scout philately. Euro-Scout 2002 was held at Gent in Belgium with a record number of 330 frames. Thanks must go Jan Cosyns and his team must for bringing together such great Scout collections.
2003 In the Netherlands the great collection of the late Wim Six on the Scout Postal service during 1944/45 was sold by auction. These were part of a collection from a former member until he died many years ago. Very high prices were made for this very scarce material. Hallvard Slettebø's research on the Shanghai Emergency Postal Service in 1932 was published in the bulletin. Congratulations also go to Hallvard on winning a gold medal for his display "World Scouting" at the International stamp exhibition held in Thailand. Now have our own SGSC web site.
2004 Another of the great stalwart of Scout philatelist passed away in January. The late David Jefferies joined the club in 1961 and wrote many articles and did research on all aspects of Scout philately. He was a specialist on the forgeries of both the Mafeking and Siam stamps. The death of Stanley Hunter, our former Scottish representative to the SGSC was another great loss to the club. The 5th Euro-Scout meeting was held in Prague, Czech Republic.
2005 A great article was published by Hallvard Slettebø on the 1957 World Jamboree Imprimatur stamps, with his research having been collected at the National Postal Museum in London. The first of the two auctions of David Jefferies Scout collection was held in Edinburgh. It was not well advertised, so prices were generally very low. The World Jamboree practice camp called Euro-Jam for 10,000 participants was held at the site of the 2007 Jamboree. The photo shows Hallvard Slettebø of Norway (left) Jan Cosyns of Belgium and Randall Frank of USA.
2006 The second part of David Jefferies collection was sold and this time was better advertised with buyers from the US and Europe. The total realisation of this sale amounted to £93.386. Amongst items sold was a Darlington cancel on cover, the only one recorded. The 6th Euro-Scout meeting was held at Alcalá de Henares, Spain. Bill Bourke a former of the club passed away, but unfortunately much of his Scout material was lost in a fire.
2007 We look forward to the future, but our membership continues to fall. We must all try to find new members.