Report of Meeting, May, 5 2007
AGM and Bourse
Report of the Annual General Meeting, May 5 2007

PRESENT: Twelve members and Officers were present.

APOLOGIES: Apologies for absence were received from 23 members

The Annual Meeting opened with a list of apologies for absence, and continued as follows:

Minutes of the last meeting (2006): These had been published in the QC of June 2006, and were approved. There were no matters arising.

Chairman's report: Peter Andrews reviewed a very good year, thanking members for having provided a series of interesting and worthwhile displays at the bi-monthly meetings, and noting regular attendances of 12-15 apart from those held at Stampex, which attracted almost double the normal attendance. He welcomed the organisation of the Bradford meeting, which gathered as many members as normal in London.

He spoke with great enthusiasm of the visit to Egypt in November when 20 members and families helped the Philatelic Society of Egypt to celebrate its 75th anniversary, and thanked our Cairo colleagues for their overwhelming hospitality; and the very enjoyable visit to the meeting in Wellington, New Zealand, paying grateful thanks to our Antipodean Agent, Tony Chisholm, and his wife Jenny for their convivial welcome and the ad hoc meeting, also to Herb and Anita Cowley for their hospitality and friendship during his stay with them.

He paid tribute to the invaluable assistance through the year of the members of the Committee and the overseas Agents, and especially to the members as a whole for contributing in such powerful fashion to both the Auction and the QC, which go from strength to strength in providing continuing interest to our colleagues all over the world.

Secretary's report: Mike Murphy reported briefly that membership continued to hover around the 200 mark, and thanked all those members who had completed the Data Protection/Survey report. Though about a quarter of members had failed to complete the form giving permission for their names and details to be published in a comprehensive list, he accepted the meeting's instruction that the list should be published as soon as possible - most probably with the September QC. Anyone who wishes to complete the list should contact the Secretary.

Treasurer's report and Adoption of Accounts for 2006: Brian Sedgley noted that though the Circle continued to spend more than it received in subscriptions, an overall surplus of 866.24 is shown in the Accounts - due entirely to a 1,500 contribution from the Auction account. He warned members that without continuing Auction income we might perhaps need to start eating into our reserve account. There was much discussion over the stated value of the Circle's New Issues stamp collection (5,251) and that of the Library (marked at zero). Neither figure was considered realistic: on the proposal of Stanley Horesh, seconded by Edmund Hall, it was agreed that the figures for 2007 will be adjusted to 1000 and 3000, and the Librarian was instructed to investigate insurance costs for the Library and report to the Committee. The Treasurer proposed a vote of thanks (seconded ESC 266) to our Accountant, ESC 272, who as usual performed his duties without charge: it was greeted with acclaim. The Accounts were duly adopted (proposed Mike Bramwell, seconded Peter Andrews).

Auction report: John Sears reported that the 2006 Auctions, Nos 41 and 42, had again provided most useful commission to the Circle, and that No 43 now being completed looked on track to produce around 1,000. He thanked the Auction team (John Sears, Peter Andrews, Mike Murphy, Edmund Hall and Mike Bramwell: a vote of thanks was proposed by ESC 266, seconded Brian Sedgley), and particularly the vendors for providing top-class material that attracted high bidding. He warned members that not all auctions could be taken for granted and that the Circle could not afford to depend on the Auction as a constant source of funding.

Editor/Webmaster report: Edmund Hall announced that he had again produced four QCs in the calendar year, and aimed to maintain that pace, as regular appearances encouraged members to submit articles. He thanked overseas members, and particularly those from the Arab world, for having produced a number of fascinating pieces in recent months, and welcomed more - much more! - of the same. He appreciated the mix of deeply researched erudite articles and shorter, brighter pieces, and asked all members to consider submitting material for the Queries section which appeared both on the website and in the QC.

As last year the website statistics showed that it received significant increases in interest just after colour illustrations for the Auction had been posted on the site. The number of visitors was gradually increasing, and the Secretary appealed to all members to provide snippets of Egyptian philatelic information - of any sort - to provide a constant flow of updates to the News page.

Librarian's report: John Davis reported that sales of back copies of the QC had allowed him to buy labels to identify Library books as "Property of the Egypt Study Circle", together with The Cairo-Baghdad Air Mail, by Wing Commander Roderic Hill, and Travellers in Egypt (ed Paul and Janet Starkey). The meeting accepted his suggestion to buy Peter Smith's Egypt with the available surplus.

Election of Officers: There was no need for any change in Officers, but the Secretary spoke for the pressing need for a volunteer to act as Publicity Officer after the return to New Zealand of Sue Claridge. He pointed out that the Revenue Society's four magazines annually cost only 690 against our 2900, the difference being offset in payments for advertisements in their magazine. If any British-based member is willing to give up a little time to take on the role [see "job description" alongside], please contact the Secretary.

Proposed Change to Rule: Members all received notices of a consideration of an increase in subscription rates, and the Secretary was both surprised and delighted to have received nearly two dozen responses from members all over the world, and especially from more recent additions to the Circle. The Treasurer, Brian Sedgley, and the Editor, Edmund Hall, both spoke in detail about how postage costs had increased to such a degree that the subscriptions of half our members now barely paid for QC unit cost and postage. Other costs were also rising at the same time, and without the non-guaranteed income from the Auctions we would be losing money every year.

There was much lengthy and fairly heated discussion, during which the views of absent members were also taken into full consideration, at the end of which it was decided that, with great reluctance, the subscription rate would have to be increased. On the proposal of Stanley Horesh, seconded by Brian Sedgley, an increase to 20 was accepted by ten votes to two.

The last rise in subscription rates came six years ago in 2001, and the meeting felt that the new increase would safeguard the Circle's survival for the foreseeable future, as well as allowing a slight increase in the amount of colour - costs have been coming down rapidly - we could afford to print. The meeting welcomed suggestions from some members that rather than printing and posting a paper copy of the QC it might be received in PDF form by email for home printing. As well as cost saving, an advantage would be that the whole issue could be printed in colour. It was agreed to try this method as an experiment: would those willing to try (from the September issue) please contact the Secretary; and report back after receipt.

The Treasurer echoed the words of Dick Wilson, our US agent, and appealed for members to help the Circle by paying subscriptions on the due date - January 1. To this end, the meeting agreed to a Change of Rule (Rule 4, paragraph 1) to the effect that all members will be reminded in the December QC that dues are to be paid in advance on January 1: those who fail to pay by the date of the Annual Meeting will lose QC privileges immediately and will be warned that if full subscription plus an administration fee of 5 is not received within 30 days then membership will be terminated. There will be no further warning.

The meeting agreed that payment by PayPal to egyptstudycircle@hotmail.com will continue to be accepted (21 / $42 / 35, ie, to include PayPal charges and take account of fluctuations in exchange rates), and that members with accounts with British banks may set up a Direct Debit for the 20 subscription: contact Secretary for details.

The Treasurer warned overseas members sending cash that it appears that Registration at home may not always be honoured in this country, and that several packets containing cash had been delivered without any signature required. He discouraged sending of cash through the post.

It was with heavy hearts that the meeting took the decision to increase subscriptions. But there really was no alternative - the Circle's survival is paramount, and while it is not threatened this year, or next, the alternative just does not bear thinking about.

Any other business: There was no other business.

Date of the next AGM: Details of a date approximating to this one in early May will follow.

Publicity Officer

A volunteer is sought to fulfil the role of Publicity Officer. Duties comprise the following:

1. Liaise with the philatelic press (ie, write brief notices based on our meetings)

2. Write, or encourage members to write, more extensive articles for the philatelic press, the aim being to encourage member applications.

3. Liaise with auction houses or other potential advertisers (in conjunction with the Secretary) for the QC.

4. Liaise with the Webmaster in encouraging links to and from similar websites.

Meeting of May 6

ATTENDANCE: as above for AGM.

Mike Murphy presented a small number of administration items, viz:

1. Macarthur Award. Votes are being sought for the annual award for the best and most significant article produced for the QC in 2006. Please visit the website or contact the Secretary. In future members will be reminded to vote in a leaflet in the December QC.

2. Forthcoming meeting. The July meeting on the Concessionary Period will be presented by David Sedgwick. Dennis Clarke has found that he has enough Airgraph material for a whole meeting rather than a half, and will present his collection at one of the 2008 meetings.

3. PSE. Members are reminded that membership of the Philatelic Society of Egypt remains open, on subscription of 15 / $25 / 20) covering one year (or four issues of the L'OP) and airmail postage of the magazine may be paid direct (egyptianphilatelicsociety@gmail.com for details) or via Mike Murphy for forwarding. In addition, the Cairo society has a number of back copies of L'OP available.

An informal and relaxed Bourse followed, only our second, and with fewer members attending than in 2006. But again it proved a great success, with most of those present having brought something to sell; and even more going away with more than they brought! The range of material on offer was outstanding covering the whole gamut from stamps to sheets, postcards, covers, FDCs, photographs, books, ephemera and mini-collections.




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