|Report of Meeting May 6, 2006
AGM and Bourse
Report of the Annual General Meeting, May 6 2006
Seventeen members and one guest were present; sixteen further members presented their apologies for absence.
Before the opening of the Annual Meeting proper, the Acting Chairman introduced Sherif Samra (ESC 311), recently elected President of our sister society the Philatelic Society of Egypt, who spoke briefly on recent developments. He invited all members to take part in a mini-exhibition and informal get-together to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the PSE in the PSE clubrooms in downtown Cairo on November 3-5, and offered his members' help in arranging flights, accommodation and local social events as required. The proposal for what is likely to be a week's visit (bearing in mind that we have a meeting scheduled for November 11) was greeted with enthusiasm among those present, and in discussion later it was agreed that Alan Jeyes and Mike Murphy would co-ordinate the British end of what promises to be a most friendly and entertaining visit. Members interested should contact one of those two named, and information about costs will be provided as soon as we have it. The Cairo society now has an email address (firstname.lastname@example.org), for contact and further information, and is also planning a website. Sherif also spoke of the production difficulties with the fourth of the new series of L'Orient Philatélique magazines (see further below); and the PSE's initiatives to help the Egyptian Postal Organisation prevent forgeries and fabricated "errors" appearing on the market.
The Annual Meeting then continued as follows:
Minutes of the last meeting (2005): These had been published in the QC of June 2005, and were approved (proposed Stanley Horesh, seconded Mike Murphy).
Matters arising: There were no matters arising.
Acting Chairman's report: Stanley Horesh reviewed the year, noting regular attendances of 12-15 at meetings apart from that held at Stampex, which attracted 26 members, mainly from overseas, and was pleased to see that there would be two Stampex meetings this year. He welcomed the wide variety of topics covered both at the meetings and in the QC, and noted the welcome return of Queries in the most recent issue.
Looking to the future, he appealed to more members to volunteer their services in leading meetings, noting the success of Edmund Hall's research afternoon, and said that it was absolutely imperative for the Circle's continued success that we did not depend on the same old faces for our regular displays. He welcomed the appointment of Sue McIntosh (ESC 356) as Publicity Officer (she will take up the active appointment shortly) and hoped that the biennial New Zealand meeting, disappointingly cancelled this year, would reappear in 2008.
He regretted the loss of a number of members this year, including especially those of our Chairman, Robin Bertram, and Mrs Betty Watterson.
Secretary's report: Mike Murphy reported that membership continued to hover just under the 200 mark, and thanked all those members who had completed the Data Protection/Survey report sent out with the December QC. He noted, however, that almost half the members had not yet returned their sheets, and explained that without this specific permission it would not be possible, under the provisions of the Data Protection Act, to complete a list of members for publication in the QC as so often requested by members themselves! Duplicate sheets will be sent to those who have not completed them. Response to the section seeking study co-ordinators, however, had been outstanding, and he hoped shortly to be able to publish a list which would resurrect several studies and initiate several new ones.
Treasurer's report and Adoption of Accounts for 2005: Brian Sedgley warned members that overall the Circle was still spending rather more than it received in subscriptions, and that without continuing Auction income we would perhaps need to start eating into our reserve account. He reported a loss on the year of £1,675.62, due almost totally to expenses related to the 70th anniversary dinner in February 2005. An apparent error was then noticed in the income and expenditure account, and after discussion the accounts were withdrawn by the Treasurer for reconsideration. They will be re-presented to the July meeting.
Auction report: John Sears reported that the 2005 Auctions, Nos 39 and 40, had provided commission to the Circle of over £1500, and that No 41 looked on track to produce another useful total, thanks largely to the sale of two particularly expensive lots; there had been fewer bidders than normal and only 55 per cent of lots were sold - our commission depended largely on the larger items. Auction 40 also benefited from the sale of high-value lots, and he appealed to members to submit attractive material for inclusion in forthcoming lists.
Turning to the principles behind the auction, he said that 20 years ago it seemed to be understood that the income generated would go to a specific objective, ie, publication of The Book or perhaps another specialist publication. - but that had never happened in 20 years. More and more, he said, it was becoming clear that many societies ran auctions in support of their general funding, and in doing this we were making sensible use of our resources. But he warned members that not all auctions could be taken for granted to produce sizeable commissions and that the Circle could not afford to depend on the Auction as a constant source of funding. He noted the advent of payment of Auction invoices via PayPal, and said that the experiment had been a success.
Members gave a vote of thanks to the Auction team - John Sears, Peter Andrews, Mike Murphy, Edmund Hall and Mike Bramwell.
Editor/Webmaster report: Edmund Hall announced that he had managed to produce four QCs in the calendar year 2005, and that he had material in hand for another issue, but appealed again to members to provide the type of article they wanted to read in the QC! The meeting approved the principle of publishing limited numbers of colour pages in the QC where illustrations warranted, but there was a warning that even in black and white, production and postage costs meant that providing four QCs to overseas members (ie, those outside the UK and Europe; just over half the membership) now exceeded the £15 subscription. It was agreed to keep a close watch on costs.
Edmund produced statistics showing that the website was receiving approximately 175 visitor sessions each week, a figure that was gradually rising, and noted significant increases in interest at times just after colour illustrations for the Auction had been posted on the site. Colour illustrations of New Issues are also there; and the Q&A page is also attracting interest. He appealed for more members to post Answers (and Queries!). The meeting approved his suggestion that we purchase the domain name for a further ten years.
Librarian's report: John Davis reported that he had a reserve stock of back copies of the QC available to those members who might require them, and is willing to sell them at £2 each instead of the nominal (subscription-based) £3.75. He reported on book purchases for the Library, and received a new L'OP and Magdy Hanafy's Encyclopaedia and catalogue of Egyptian Money: The Egyptian Currency Note, both of them much-appreciated gifts from the PSE. See review. He noted that the value inherent in the Library had never been assessed or added to Circle assets; members agreed to consider how best this might be achieved.
Election of Officers: Peter Andrews (ESC 122 - nominated by Stanley Horesh, seconded by Mike Murphy) was elected Chairman for a period of three years in succession to the late Robin Bertram. In typically modest fashion, Peter said it would be quite a task to follow such an active and popular Chairman, but that he would do his best. John Sears proposed a vote of thanks to Stanley Horesh, who stood in as Chairman, applauding him for having steered us on our way so successfully and efficiently for the past six to nine months. Members approved with acclamation.
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.
Meeting of May 6
ATTENDANCE: as above for AGM. One membership application was received and accepted.
Mike Murphy presented a small number of administration items, viz:
1. L'Orient Philatélique. Production of the fourth issue of the new series completed subscriptions paid in 2004, and the PSE is promising more efficient production of issues in forthcoming years under its new management. Subscriptions (£15/$25/€20) covering one year (or four issues) and email postage of the magazine may be paid direct (email@example.com for details) or via Mike Murphy for forwarding.
2. Details of the joint meeting with the Sudan Study Group in Bradford are found on the website or the back page of QC 216. Officers appealed to all members to support the meeting; the contact is Richard Wheatley, 7 Manor Croft, Leeds LS15 9BW (0113-260 1978; firstname.lastname@example.org).
3. Macarthur Award. Votes are now being sought for the annual award for the best and most significant article produced for the QC in 2005. Please visit the website or contact the Secretary.
The meeting proper then got under way, comprising an absolutely informal and relaxed Bourse. As an initial experiment by the Circle it proved a great success, with at least three quarters of those present having brought something to sell; and probably nine tenths of those present going away with more than they brought! Prices of the material on offer - ranging the whole gamut from single stamps to sheets, postcards, covers, FDCs, photographs, books, ephemera and mini-collections - started as low as 10p and ranged to the high tens of pounds.
Without a doubt, a resounding triumph. The only minor drawback might have been a certain shortage of negotiating space - we shall arrange for more tables on the next occasion, and the reaction of members present was that there should most definitely be a next occasion.