PRESENT: John Davis (President/Librarian), Jon Aitchison (Chairman/Programme Secretary), Neil Hitchens (Vice-Chairman/Webmaster),), Mike Murphy (Secretary/Editor), Sami Sadek (Treasurer/Auctioneer), John Clarke, Paul Green, Adel Hanna (Egypt), Hany Salam (Egypt), Sherif Samra (Egypt), Atef Sarian, David Sutton, Richard Wheatley. Guests: Aktheem Al-Manaseer (USA), Stephen King.
APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE; John Sears, Tony Cakebread, Trent Ruebush, Ibrahim Shoukry, Hani Sharestan, Vahe Varjabedian, Andy Gould, Brian Sedgley, Ronny Van Pellecom, Pierre Grech, Cyril Defriez.
Chairman: The Chairman gave a warm welcome to those present, and especially our visitors from Egypt and our guests, and said he hoped that at last the removal of covid restrictions might mean a return to well-attended meetings after 2½ very strained years. He spoke of the importance of the forthcoming joint meeting with the Sudan Study Group near Derby, and of how that could provide a forum for discussions on the long-considered merger between the two groups. Both, he said, were suffering falling attendances and ageing memberships, both had difficulty in finding volunteers to fill necessary officers’ roles…there were advantages in getting together in that officer roles could be combined, all-day meeting-room hire could be arranged for about the price of half-day, allowing both Egypt and Sudan to meet in the same day, and there would be advantages in producing only one magazine (and website?) instead of two. He hoped that Derby might result in a series of concrete merger proposals to consider going forward. If that is accomplished, these would be put to a ballot of all members. Every member of both societies would have a voice in this crucially important suggestion. As programme secretary, he hoped as many members as possible would be able to attend the joint meeting with the Cinderella Stamp Club at the premises of the Royal Philatelic Society of London on May 7. The theme is “Maritime and Egypt”, but as he pointed out, “cinderella” covers a very wide range of material indeed. All welcome.
Auction: Sami Sadek reported on Auctions 62 (online only) and 63 (online/room), noting sales of more than £6,000 and £800 commission from the former, and £3,000 and £465 for 62, which was smaller generally because of covid restrictions. In both cases more than half the material available was sold, and the commission amounts were welcome additions to Circle funds. It was decided that the online Auction 64 would be arranged to close on April 30, so that lots won might avoid postage costs by being handed over to attendees at the Cinderella meeting. A small room Auction at the AGM raised a good deal of interest and sold £500 worth of material, meaning £62 in commission.
Secretary: Mike Murphy reported that in the eight months since the last AGM we had lost a total of only four members through demise, resignation or lapsing, and had gained seven new members and one other was restored to membership. The net gain of four lifted total membership to 165; and one guest at the meeting decided he wanted to join on the spot – so we have one more to add to the total.
In referring to the MacArthur Award, the Secretary was saddened to have to announce that the supply of brass and wood “Seated Scribe” trophies had unfortunately reached its end despite efforts to find replacements. An ornate souvenir document has been designed in its place, one of which was presented at the meeting to Sami Sadek for 2020. The award for 2021 was won by Ramez Atiya (ESC 246) of Salt Lake City for his remarkable series of articles on old-style stamp detail, and especially for his painstaking work on identifying the pseudo-watermarks of the Second Issue. In an effort to build more support for the award, please see the “roll of honour” page listing all winners since 2001: this will be updated on the website and form a permanent record of successful authors.
Treasurer: Sami Sadek was effusive in his gratitude to Andy Gould (ESC 393) for all his work in presenting the accounts based on Sami’s spreadsheet notes, and the meeting voted in appreciation of his efforts. The Treasurer mentioned several members or former members who had given enormous help during the year, including the late Jack Graham and Alan Jeyes for auction material donations, Sherif Samra and Mike Ryan for QC distribution and several other members for donating amounts surplus to subscription payments. It was noted that officers’ stationery was listed at almost zero – largely because the vast majority of correspondence is now caried out by email rather than by letter. Accumulated surplus for the year was £24,215.45 compared with £23,315.45 previously. (See accounts, page iii).
Editor: The Editor thanked regular contributors and noted that we were going through a purple patch of excellent writers and a fascinating range of topics. There was, however, no reason for would-be authors to stand on their laurels.. there are always spaces to fill, and he would welcome – as ever – articles of any length or complexity. As long as they link Egypt and philately, they stand an excellent chance of being considered for publication. At the moment, the barrel is close to empty. There is plenty of opportunity for you all to pen something or other.
Website: The Webmaster reported that the overall appearance of the website was being improved, with more modern layout and type faces. But, more importantly, he was eager to give more prominence to some of the “hidden” treasures that the site contains. and so is planning a page headed “Members’ collections”, from which links would go directly to material at the moment tucked away under a more specific but less obvious heading. Meanwhile the digitising of old copies of the QC and L’OP continues apace and soon every page will be available to all members on the site.
Library: The Librarian reported that despite the virus restrictions members were still borrowing books from the Circle’s excellent Library, and noted four additions – his own Egypt: Postal Concession to Suez Part III; a Lugdunum Philatelie sale catalogue with excellent Egypt, Sami Fereig’s four volumes of Postal History of the Muhammad Ali Dynasty, and the same author’s Classic Egyptian Catalogue 1866-1966. Our former Chairman and President John Sears had also handed over a large portfolios of “The Record”, which will need to be sorted.
Any Other Business: As we had five Egyptians in the room there was much discussion of the recent discovery of apparent imperforate proof sheets from the 1930s and 1940s that had suddenly appeared on the market in recent months (see QC 279,pp 172-173). Rumours and assertations abound, but still no-one can be absolutely sure of the source of the material or its more immediate provenance. It seems clear that the sheets must have come at some stage from the Survey of Egypt, which printed them, but who can say who or when? Given this doubt, the well-known international auction houses have been advised that it would be unwise to handle this material much of which, it is thought, has now been broken up into less easily recognisable blocks. What does seem clear is that the sheets (still it is not certain how many sheets came to light) have not in recent years been kept in ideal conditions as if by a collector or dealer who cared deeply for them. There is some staining, it appears, and some yellowing of the paper. Because the issue is sensitive, Egypt Post and the Philatelic Society of Egypt selected our member Mahmoud Ramadan (ESC 358) to make an independent investigation on their behalf. He said:
In other “other business”, Mike Murphy showed members’ photographs of apparent forgeries of the surcharges on the Graf Zeppelin issue of 1931, with the surcharge apparently overlying the CDS. For more details please see page,,,
Fascinating postcard displays were shown of the Suez Canal, Tahrir Square, Sugar factories and the Sphinx. Clearly there is much room for expansion here…
2023 AGM: It was decided not to make any decision at this stage about the date and site of the next AGM in light of continuing covid fears and uncertainty about whether Spring Stampex 2023 will take place.
A quick Auction was also held.