Report of Meeting September 10 2005
Recent acquisitions or queries
In the absence of the Chairman in China, the Deputy Chairman opened the meeting by welcoming those present; and had the sad duty of announcing the death after a short illness of Betty Watterson (ESC 409), for several years one of our best-loved members and a true character.

He said that our Antipodean Agent, Tony Chisholm (ESC 288), had made a final appeal for members to join the biennial New Zealand meeting from February 19-26: unless there is a quick response to Tony Chisholm, there was a strong fear that the meeting might have to be called off. A potential visit to Italy next year was described as a "chicken and egg" situation, with our Italian colleagues unable to make further arrangements until there was an idea of how many members might attend; and members unable to give a firm decision until they knew what arrangements might be made! Members discussed the possibility of a visit to Washington to coincide with the international exhibition there between May 27 and June 3 next year.

The Treasurer said that the costs of running the Circle were extending well beyond the subscription fee (costs per member amounted to about 19 against a fee of 15) and gave warning that he would be seeking an increase in subscription to 20 at the next Annual Meeting. The Deputy Chairman emphasised the need for a "public relations officer" to raise awareness of the Circle and attract new members.

The Editor announced that the September quarter QC was with the printer; and the Auction Committee that increased publicity had increased interest in the forthcoming Auction No 40.

Enthusiastic chivvying by the Deputy Chairman then led to a number of new faces appearing among the list of speakers for next year's programme of meetings: we are grateful to the tyros for volunteering to display, and look forward to an interesting and unusual series of meetings in 2006. They include for the first time a Bourse (bring and buy) to accompany the AGM on May 6, and all members are urged to attend, accompanied by their unwanted treasures - or, alternatively, bulging wallets. Or better still, both. Guidelines will be offered nearer the day.

The full programme for 2006 is:

Jan 7   Postmen/Express/Delivery markings
Feb 25   Ten sheets   at Stampex
May 6   AGM and Bourse
July 1   Port Said
Sept 23    Acquisitions and Queries   at Stampex
Nov 11   1pi 1867; 1874 issue; Overseas pmks

It was stressed that all meetings are embellished by members contributing their own material, whatever the topic; and there is hope that a provincial joint meeting with the Sudan Study Group might be arranged in August.

The meeting proper, a new departure, proved immensely popular and fascinating, with virtually all of those attending showing recent acquisitions or queries of a quite astonishing range and variety. There is not room here for full details of all, but some of the matters raised will form QC articles when developed. A brief listing gives an idea of the range of material shown:

1. new discoveries in the Registration cachets of the Continental Hotel, including a completely new (and earliest) type. To be reported to the QC

. 2: recent new issues, including the Circle's copies of the controversial "nine-day stamp" and its successor featured in the last QC.

3: a range of humorous and colourful postcards from the "Maalish" and Lance Thackeray series.

4: a quite amazing range of philatelic material and supporting correspondence emanating from the Philatelic Crusade for Peace of around 1960. To be reported to the QC.

5: maritime postal markings, including an apparently new boxed Paquebot mark of Port Tewfik, together with Pleine Mer and Deutsche Seepost material. 6: a pot-pourri including outstanding Overseas offices postmarks including two Gallipoli and Latakia.

7: Reister essays; several cassette envelope varieties including a new E2 value with a squared flap; and illustrations of the two Princess Nofret stamps reported in the last QC.

8: a pot-pourri including a Boy King stamp used as a Postage Due and cancelled with a boxed T on cover; and several new acquisitions from his French Post Offices collection.

9: an 1803 folded letter from Alexandria to Rosetta and the query: how was it carried, since no postal service was operating; several forwarding agent covers; and a query about the British Services 1940 Christmas mail concession.

10: a pot-pourri including Gedda postmarks recently acquired on eBay; and a remarkable 1867 1pi block of four without watermark and imperf all round except at the bottom.

11: maritime, including pre-Pleine Mer use of the retta to cancel mail coming from a vessel, with the port CDS alongside; and the same query as in 9 above about regulations and dates for the Christmas 1940 concession. Both showed several covers apparently conflicting with the regulations as known. It is hoped that this topic might be developed for the QC.

Members departed in good heart, encouraged by the novelty of what they had just seen, and by the promise of a fascinating year of meetings to come.

Full details of this meeting will be publised in QC 215, the December issue.

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