|Report of Meeting, March, 3 2007
Ten sheets at Stampex
PRESENT: Sixteen members and two guests were present; apologies for absence were received from seven members.
The Chairman opened the meeting by regretted the absence of the Secretary, Mike Murphy, who is suffering from flu, and all present sent Mike their best wishes for a speedy recovery. Peter, recently returned from New Zealand, passed on greetings from members and friends Down Under and welcomed overseas visitors from Egypt, Greece and the United States.
New member applications were dealt with and a brief discussion took place on topics for next year's meetings. One or two were discussed, leaving one of the meetings at the Victory Services Club as yet unfilled, so will both those not present and those who did attend please forward some suggestions so that next year's programme can be drawn up at the September meeting. It was reported that subscriptions were flowing in well, but that as they were due on January 1 late payers will receive a reminder with the March QC.
The Chairman noted that the return to New Zealand of Sue McIntosh (now Claridge) meant that there was a vacancy for a Publicity Officer once more. A volunteer was sought in vain: any member willing to take on the interesting task of liaising with the philatelic press and co-ordinating advertising for the QC should please contact the Secretary.
John Sears reported that lists of lots for Auction 43 were to be mailed on the Monday and it was agreed that the list would appear on the website on Wednesday. It was also confirmed, prompted by a question from the floor, that invariable practice is that the website list does not appear until a few days after the mailing list has been dispatched.
One member had written to seek permission place the ESC logo (ie, the DLR Sphinx and Pyramid design with the wording Egypt Study Circle) on his sales on an internet auction site, explaining that he was proud of his membership and wished to give publicity to the Circle. While there is no doubt whatever over the integrity of the individual concerned, the meeting felt that such a symbolic link could be taken to confirm that the ESC endorsed the items for sale, which is clearly untenable. The danger also exists that non-members may attempt to use the device to enhance the appeal of items of doubtful authenticity: policing its use would be impossible. The meeting decided that by imposing an overall ban on such use any potential doubt would be removed once and for all.
Notice was given that the Philatelic Society of Egypt is planning a further exhibition in the first week in November; all ESC members are cordially invited.
The meeting was ten sheets - or thereabouts - and as usual we were given an interesting and varied displays.
Member ESC 266 began with magazine articles and cards relating to the flight of Marc Pourpe. He made the point that in the early days the early adventures of the flying pioneers were reported in sporting magazines as flying was considered a sport; and showed the front page of a magazine with Pourpe looking for all the world like Rudolph Valentino (as the Sheikh of Arabie), complete with aircraft and pyramids in the background.
John Sears started by saying that he found it more difficult each year to find something new to show that can be condensed to ten sheets. He did not disappoint, however, as he has been rearranging his airmail collection into sections and gave a wonderful display on the Misr airline, which was formed in 1932 and started to carry mail from Cyprus to Egypt on August 10, 1935. As contracts were renewed each year this led to First Day Covers almost for each year. The Misr line gradually extending its operations to Haifa, with the mail supposedly carrying on to Syria by car.
John Davies, who had bought John Revell's collection of Suez, mainly to get the Suez stamps, found that it also contained some covers relating to the Suez Crisis of 1956 and it was these he had brought along to show. It consisted mainly of "propaganda" covers from Egypt including the FDC of the nationalisation of the Suez Canal as well as the slogan cancels found on covers of that period. There were also two covers from British troops, one of them from FPO 443 (at Port Said) with the brown 2d stamp instead of the 2½d. The display also included two covers, one Finnish and one Swedish, from the UN contingents.
David Sedgwick showed covers with postage dues, either Egyptian stamps on incoming mail or for covers from Egypt to the UK or US with tax charges and due stamps. He started with a beautiful Rural Post cover with no stamp and boxed T which had gone through the post apparently with no tax raised. A cover to the US with what seemed the correct postage rate had a circular Gold Centreme mark of six cents which was assumed to be the charge for an overweight letter. Also shown were covers from the concession period which had been posted in civilian postboxes, and received boxed 'O' and 'T' markings and the dues raised in the UK.
Cyril Defriez showed covers which did not fit into his previous interesting displays of Village postmarks of Egypt. These consisted of cancels of Cairo and Alexandria and Cyril posed the question of the single letters found in the cancels and whether these had any significance, amongst these were the letters A, B, C, G, I, K, S, U and 4. Inspection of the Arabic gave no indication of any special purpose beyond depart and arrival.
Stanley Horesh, echoing John Sears, said he found it difficult to present ten sheets with something he had not shown before but then went on to display an interesting selection of stamp error varieties. Included were the 5para surcharge with missing central figure, 10para imperf, the Agricultural overprint with its many defects of the overprint, Geographical Congress stamp error and many more.
The meeting ended with Dennis Clarke, who thought he had escaped the ten sheet ritual, but had brought along his well-researched pages on printing techniques. He began discussing lithography, saying that when he started his apprenticeship in 1944 lithography stones were still being used. He had the examples from his article in the last QC showing the variations in printing colours; and made - again - the point that colours picked up on the back of stamps and postal stationery are technically "set off" and not "off set". He had pictures relating to the new Postal Authority Press in 1962, see "Egyptian Postal Mechanisation 1960-1980" in QC 218 pp152-157. Dennis had letters from Witag of Bern, who supplied the printing equipment at the time, and brochures, and very many examples of the Printing Experiment stamps, based on the 1959 anniversary of Yemen joining the U.A.R. which were produced in Switzerland in training the Egyptian printers and in Egypt when bedding in the printing machine. He also had leaflets on the gravure process.
Dennis's display was much appreciated, as were all of the "ten" sheet displays, which again demonstrated the great verity of topics in Egyptian philately.
However the stamping day had not yet run its course, and a small band of members congregated at the Editor's house later to continue stamp talk well lubricated by excellent food and wine.