Report of Meeting January 7, 2006
Express, Delivery and Postmen markings
The Acting Chairman opened the meeting by wishing all members a Happy New Year and welcoming those present, and especially member ESC 264, our Egyptian colleague now living in Paris, and hoped he might be able to attend many more meetings. He was pleased to announce that a member of good standing had agreed to act in the crucially important role of Publicity Manager: details will be furnished in the very near future. Members greeted the appointment with acclaim and wished her well.

The Acting Chairman said, however, that there had been no progress in deciding on a replacement for our late Chairman, Robin Bertram, and noted that, having acted as Deputy Chairman for more than 30 years, he did not feel it possible to fill the senior role for longer than until the Annual Meeting in May. He appealed to members to volunteer their services, and said that the position was becoming increasingly serious.

The Secretary put to the meeting applications from three new members, two of whom had come to us via the new website; and said that the Data Survey publicised with the last QC had had a good initial response, with about 55 members' sheets returned so far. In an attempt to widen our appeal, he will liaise with our American Agent, Richard Wilson, in seeking affiliation to the American Philatelic Society.

The President reported that vendors' cheques from the last Auction would go out in the next day or two, and that Auction 40 had been a resounding success, with only four lots returned and a larger than usual commission to go to Circle funds.

The Editor was able to report the production and despatch of four QCs in a year, and appealed to members for more material so that the impetus might be maintained. Before the research meeting got under way, the Acting Chairman reported having recently obtained at auction an 1880 Austrian Levant postal stationery card apparently used in Alexandria (small thimble "Alexandrien" cancel) in 1885. On receiving the card (see below) he realised that it was one of the reprints referred to in a footnote in Higgins and Gage (Page 66, item 11). How could it be that a reprint had been used in 1885, he wondered, and closer examination led him to believe that the postmark was forged. There may be more about, he warned members.

Turning to the main part of the meeting, Edmund Hall (ESC 239) introduced a research day on the Express, Delivery and Postmen markings which proved an undoubted success. This was in no small part due to the presence of three Arabic-reading members(!), but even more to Edmund's facility with his scanner in "lifting" postal markings from covers and to the clear and lucid way in which he approached the research, posting data sheets on the website in advance of the meeting so that members could collate earliest and latest dates of known markings and augment the listing with others previously unrecorded.

The numbers of the latter proved extensive, with 27 new markings reported, all of which were seen on the day. Because of the sheer mass of new material, the task of collation of all new dates was simply overwhelming.

So in a departure from normal practice, Edmund will post on the website illustrations of all known markings, protected by a password which members might receive via the website. He asked members to consult that listing, and then to report earliest/latest dates or new types of marking to him so that they may be added to the Circle's information.

For those members who do not have access to the internet, a phone call or note to Edmund will result in the data sheets being sent through the post. In this way Edmund hopes to be able to make a speedy collation of information for an area that has been looked at in only fairly desultory fashion in the past, and to publish the results as quickly as possible in the QC for all to see. It is to be hoped that this innovatory meeting might set the pattern for other research areas in the future.

On behalf of members, the Treasurer thanked Edmund and colleagues who had furnished new material for a remarkable and interesting afternoon, in which much new information had come to light. Members made their gratitude known in time-honoured fashion.

ESC Home