Report of Meeting, January 8, 2011
TPO postal markings
PRESENT: Fourteen officers and members attended; apologies for absence were received from seven others.

The Chairman welcomed members and wished all, present or not, a Happy New Year and success in the stamp world in 2011. He hoped that everyone had been able to add to their collections from the unprecedented succession of five auctions of former members' material in the run-up to Christmas, and reminded members that annual subscriptions for 20112 were due on January 1 and that the final date for payment, that of the Annual General Meeting, was early this year on February 26.

The Secretary spoke briefly about the formula for today's meeting, and the hope that it might resurrect the study of TPO postal markings. If successful, the idea was to be extended to post-Monarchy material at a second experimental meeting later in the year, the aim in both cases being to encourage the collection, study and research of neglected areas of Egypt material.

Two new applications were elected to membership, and we wish a warm welcome to Volker Kleiner of Essen, Germany, and Jon Aitchison of Bishop's Stortford.

The Secretary appealed once more for volunteers to fill the Committee vacancy and for help in organising the Auction, without whose income the Circle might be in financial difficulties. He mentioned his disappointment at the almost total lack of interest shown by members, and thanked the two - one from the United States, the other from Canada - who had offered their services. Decisions will be taken at the Annual Meeting: please don't hesitate to volunteer - your Circle needs YOU!

The Treasurer reported that subscriptions were coming in but appealed for members to use direct debit or standing order, and the President reported that the last Auction, No 49, had produced a smaller turnover and hence lower commission for the Circle than usual. He hoped for a good result from the live auction to go with the AGM, and that we might be able to organise a top-level Auction to mark No 50 in the autumn.

The Librarian reported his gratitude for the gift from Professor Peter Smith of a collection of correspondence from Dr William Byam from half a century ago and said that it would augment the holdings of the Circle Record. There was some discussion on the future of the holdings of the Record.

Before the meeting proper, Dr Mostafa El-Dars (ESC 556) reported on his recent lengthy visit to Cairo and the difficulties faced by the Post Office and Philatelic Bureau during a period of extensive rebuilding. He announced increases in postal rates to ŁE2.50 (from ŁE1.50) for overseas Air Mail and ŁE1 (from 55p) for registration. Noticing that stamps of value ŁE1, ŁE1.50, ŁE2 and ŁE2.50 were all on sale, he experimented each value on four letters home to UK - needless to say, all arrived by air without any difficulty.

Tony Schmidt (ESC 198) then announced that, as the buyer at auction of the late Dennis Clarke's library, he had found a great many pages of Dennis's research notes included - on virtually every topic under the sun - and wished to pass them on free of charge to members who might be interested. Tony can be contacted at Stonecroft, Leafy Lane, Rudloe, Corsham, Wilts SN13 0LE (tel 01225 810553).

The meeting that followed took the form of a complete unstructured display of TPO markings and allied material, presented by no fewer than 11 of the 14 members present. The range and variety of markings, and individual methods of presentation, created an enormous amount of interest and discussion [see illustrated article in QC 236]. At the end of the displays the meeting decided that, in light of the fact that the one definitive listing of TPO markings was published by Peter Smith as long ago as 1983, it was time for fresh look.

As a result, the post-Monarchy meeting due on September 17 has been postponed to 2012 and a true TPO study meeting will take its place. Members are asked to bring along their TPO markings, in order as defined by Peter Smith's types, for recording. It is crucial that visual evidence - the marking itself, or a scan, photocopy or photograph - be produced. Evidence from listing alone cannot, with regret, be accepted.

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