Report of Meeting, September 20, 2008
Acquisitions and Queries
PRESENT: Eighteen members were present, and apologies for absence were received from three members.

The Chairman opened the meeting by welcoming those present, and noted that Stampex had failed to attract any foreign visitors. He regretted to have to record the death on September 2 of David Glyn-Jones (ESC 213), a former meetings attender who maintained good contact with the Circle after he moved to Athens.

He was, however, able to congratulate several members on recent medals at exhibition, including the following:

Prague International (Sept 14-17):
Gold - Mordecai Kremener (ESC 291), Postal Services of Beirut.
Vermeil: Hisham Bassyouny (ESC 391), British Forces in Egypt,
Ibrahim Shoukry (ESC 423), Crown Overprints,
Sherif Samra (ESC 311), 1879 Provisional Issue,
Leon Balian (ESC 251), Stamps of Egypt catalogue.
Large Silver: John Davis (ESC 231), the Postal Concession.

American Philatelic Society (August 14-17):
World Series Prix d'Honneur, Richard Wilson (ESC 230), British Forces in Egypt and Sudan 1882-1898.
Gold: Stephen Kaplan (ESC 352), Ring Stationery of Finland 1891-1911.
Vermeil: Lucien Toutounji (ESC 264), Constanta-Alexandria-Constanta 1907-1939.

Much of the early part of the meeting was taken up by discussion of plans for the forthcoming exhibition in Egypt which, after a great deal of toing and froing, our Egypt colleagues have finally decided will take place in the beach resort of Sharm el-Sheikh on November 16-18 in conjunction with the UPU-backed PosTech conference and with the support of the Egyptian Post Office.

Members are invited not only to attend but also to exhibit (traditional style entries, of 16 sheets per frame) and the Circle is keen to support those who wish to take part in what promises to be a fascinating trip. Mention was made of a day trip to Petra, and St Catherine's Monastery is less than two hours away by road through the astonishing geology of southern Sinai. Several members expressed a wish to show parts of their collections, and the Secretary is trying to arrange flights and accommodation for a week-long stay in Sharm. Because time is very short, members wishing to attend or requiring further details should contact the Secretary before September 30 unless independent travel is being considered.

Discussion moved on to next year's programme of meetings, which will take the form:

January 10 (Services Club) - Edmund Hall, A Military Overview
February 28 (at Stampex) - Ten Sheets
May 2 (Services Club) - Annual Meeting and Bourse
July 18 (in York) - topic and speaker to be confirmed
September 19 (at Stampex) - Acquisitions and Queries
November 7 (Services Club) - Dennis Clarke, A Railway Journey down the Nile

The Secretary gave details of an innovation by the Association of British Philatelic Societies, which at Spring Stampex 2009 will invite a new class of single-frame competitive exhibition entries, intended in part to encourage non-exhibitors to take the first step. Richard Wheatley (ESC 168) explained that the 16-sheet frame was not merely intended to display a collection's highlights, but to illustrate a selected aspect, telling the whole story as completely as possible. Members were enthusiastic about the new concept, and details may be obtained from the Secretary.

Two new members were elected to membership - Derek Budge (ESC 631) of UK, and Omar Wassef (ESC 632) of Texas: welcome to both of you!

John Sears reported that Auction 46 was to close in ten days and appealed to members to send in their bids promptly, while John Davis announced that after a consolidation of collections the Library had a number of back copies of L'Orient Philatélique for sale, as well as a couple still missing from his Library holdings.

Edmund Hall gave exciting news of extensive updates in the members-only section of the website, which now contained Dick Wilson's outstanding British Forces in Egypt and Sudan collection and would be further augmented thanks to the generosity of Professor Peter Smith (ESC 74), who had given permission to place sections of his magisterial book on the site, together with his updates.

This simple and cheap alternative to publishing a second edition was, Edmund explained, how he hoped the website would be able to develop, with members submitting their own studies or part-studies to be augmented by other colleagues. Eventually, it is hoped, all our accumulated knowledge of the stamps and postal history of Egypt could be available to members on the site, to aid research and further study. Edmund has successfully negotiated with other bodies to allow republication of a large number of Egypt-related articles on the site, and is eager for members to follow in the footsteps of Dick Wilson, Stephen Kaplan (Meter Marks) and John Davis (Zeppelin flights) in offering their collections for all members to enjoy.

Wearing his QC editor's hat, Edmund went on to appeal for articles for the magazine, and particularly for study reports on any topic. But that was not to preclude shorter items, queries, auction reports, book reviews, notes on a single item, etc, all of which would be equally welcome.

David Sedgwick, Publicity Officer, reported that he had given the ESC programme to the philatelic press and that he would produce meetings reports for them; and suggested that the website and QC might list details of members' talks to local societies: members are invited to send details to Edmund Hall.

The "Acquisitions and Queries" meeting was opened by Tony Schmidt (ESC 198), who showed a quite remarkable album from the collection of the late Michael Barker, created in 1913 to mark the end of the 1879 issue of stamps and from its opulence clearly intended as a VIP gift. Perhaps unique, the volume contains all stamps and postal stationery of the issue, die proofs in black of all stamps, postage dues and the no-value Official, and further die proofs for all the embossed postal stationery.

Mostafa El Dars (ESC 556) showed the astonishing results of some recent experiments with sending cancelled FDCs from Egypt to his home address in UK. Some didn't arrive at all, some received no further postal markings, some had the stamps further cancelled with current postmarks, and one, remarkably, had the set of four stamps (face value £E1.20) removed and replaced by a single stamp of £E1.50 (the correct rate for UK)!

David Sedgwick (ESC 589) ("Damaged by Sea" cover), John Davis (ESC 231) (Posta Europea covers) and Richard Wheatley (documents bearing fiscally surcharged No-Value Officials) all presented queries that were (largely) satisfied by members present.

Dennis Clarke (ESC 165) showed some fine military items, including the Jubilee Seal apparently properly used on the second day of issue, but provided with a boxed T at MPO Cairo and postage due stamps on receipt in Hull, an imperforate part sheet (40 stamps) of the 1932 Postal Seal; two bisects of the 1934 carmine Letter Stamp used on cover from Faggala on May 3 1936; and the rare MPO GHQ cancellation in red on a contrived multi-stamp cover dated 7 AU 36.

He also provided a remarkable collection of 16 sheets of the 1938 issue of Official stamps, the whole set in control blocks, imperforate corner blocks with control numbers and royal misperfs, each one also used on cover - and to top it off, each stamp in a variety of colour trials of the King of Egypt and Sudan overprint. Astonishing is the only word....

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