Meeting at Spinks – 24th February 2018

At the London Meeting on February 24th 2018 held at Spinks there were 8 members and one guest attending.  It really is a shame that no more members came along and with only 8 members it becomes rather a costly meeting.  However, those who were present much enjoyed the afternoon and looking at the displays.

Tony Davies showed Iceland, with a dedication to the late Ernie Burkin, and in his display, he had items from the British Occupation, Field Post Office cancellations, army censor marks, an OAT cover to an undercover address, military cachets and some press release photographs taken at the time of the occupation.

Geoff Lovejoy showed Sweden with covers flown by helicopters because of the sea icing up.

Tony Lyford told of his visit to the USA where he happened across a group of people sorting out stamps and covers and he was shown some Swedish items such as letter cards, pre-paid postcards, reply cards, service cards and Christmas stamps, all unused. This group worked for a charity and Tony gave his donation and received these fine items.

Pat Adams displayed registered mail from Norway.  The earliest was a letter from Christiania to Christiansand in 1880.  Many covers were sent overseas to France, England, Germany and Malta, the USA and Argentina.  First World War covers had been censored including one from Preston to Christiania which also had a Bureau de Mer de Norvège, Bergen-Newcastle transit mark.  An internal letter, of 1924, from the District Stipendiary Magistrate of Kvitseid addressed to Herr Engineer Torjus Koltjon, Bergen, was returned to sender as “unknown”, it may have been trying to find the father of an illegitimate was found to contain a silver spoon according to the customs label.

Susan Oliver showed a selection of Færoe Island covers with various registered labels and some with insured labels of various colours.  Some of these covers had star and blank centre cancellations and an interesting one was that from the village of Skuø where the postal officer never cleaned the handstamp and so it became clogged up with ink.

Eric Keefe followed with Finland (how could it be anything else?)  showing items of maritime interest, with the Swedish language in use, and advising that the port of Hangko was used.  In winter the icy condition causes problems and eventually Turku was the main port.  Eric showed early ship marks and those with Russian characters due to the political situation.  The Russian Cyrillic letters were cut out.  The Olympic Games in Finland was a great fillip and many visitors came to Finland, many via Sweden.

Eric also gave another display regarding the ferry crossings and the boats used, and stories of the Aland Islands proving poverty so as not to pay the taxes, with boats calling there. Many boats are those known as the “booze cruises”.  Eric showed items from Viipuri, ship marks, Viborg, unusual covers from Stockholm and letters to unusual destinations.

Andrew Riddell came after and showed Swedish Freight and Railway stamps, the majority of which no one had seen before, such was their unusual quality.  There was also an 1872 Railway telegram – a copy of a telegram with a complicated pattern of folding, an 1880 Railway system which only used handstamps, 1882-84 various coloured paper shades printed in sheets with no selvedge, and  Andrew told an interesting story about stamps for Milk Churns which travelled by rail and one churn which had a label stuck onto a piece of wood which was tied to the churn for its safe delivery.  Very unusual items.

Peter Sondhelm, as often, showed sheets from the Faroe Islands.  Along with his entire collection of Railway related material from the territory – just one sheet – showing the 1947 Danish stamps, issued for the 100th Anniversary of the Danish State Railways, and usages of the first definitive issue from the Christian X reign.  Many of the 37 basic stamps from the set were shown, although Peter explained – he is still looking for some of them!!

Mike Elliott opened by apologizing for convening a meeting that clashed with England (and Wales – DGH!) at the six nations Rugby.  His display of Registered mail from Finland, chiefly featured covers posted at stations or on the trains.  There was also one bearing a scarce Cyrillic script Registration label and a number coming to England.  He closed with some maritime mail, which was from a very recent purchase from Finland featuring Estonian volunteers in the Finnish navy in 1943/44.  These are very rare and will be written up to be shown at Redditch.

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