Perhaps it was the brilliant sunshine after a chilly couple of weeks, perhaps the grandstanding football on TV. Whatever the reason, it was a rather disappointing turnout of only a couple of dozen members of both societies for the joint meeting with the Cinderella Stamp Club at the Royal Philatelic Society London. But if numbers were few, enthusiasm was massive, and a series of displays kept us all occupied, amused and fascinated. ESC members present were Jon Aitchison, Mike Murphy, John Clarke, David Sutton. Apologies were received from John Davis, Sami Sadek, Brian Sedgley, Pail Green.
As Vice-Chairman of the Cinderella group and organiser of the meeting, Jon Aitchison was much to the fore, presenting three displays of outstanding Egyptian “back of the book” material. First up was his eight frames of “Officially Sealed” labels, ranging from early (mis)use of Interpostals to sealing damaged postal material, particularly on wreck mail, via the well-known resealing labels in English and French to today’s plastic sealing strips and the “Opened for Customs inspection” version.
A fascinating collection by Maggie Thompson, President of the Cinderella group, showed illustrated machine cancels from Germany – fittingly 100 years since they were accepted for international franking – with a bewildering display of advertising logos ranging from cooked meats to boots and shoes and heavy industrial machinery. On the maritime front, Bill Hedley showed page upon page of the Danube Steam Navigation Company, which was the world’s largest shipping company with more than 200 vessels in 1880..
Then it was back to Jon Aitchison, with a comprehensive collection and explanation of every one of the various Interpostal types, including examples of their various uses and proof sheets not only of local-office CDSs stamped on to Type X IPs but also conclusive evidence – contra to received wisdom - that IPs were printed in sheets of 60 (two panes of 30). Finally it was his turn again to exhibit another favourite – printed envelopes illustrated with advertising for the company sending the message. An amazing variety of sizes, shapes, colours, even to the same illustration recorded by different companies. All in all, a fascinating and wide-ranging meeting that deserved a better turnout. Those who missed it have only themselves to blame.