SGSC Logo Chairman's Notes
March/April 2009
by John Ineson
IFSCO Logo  

One of our members, Michael Loomes, writes to say that he has received a letter from Russell Hawkins, the Stamps programme Manager of Royal Mail to say that they are issuing a set of stamps for the Guide Centenary in February 2010.  This is a surprise, but great news as the list of stamp issues for 2010 had already been published, and despite requests for stamps to celebrate this event, they were not originally chosen.

Many of you know of my interest in the Mafeking Note Mafeking Siege Paper Currency.  Recently an auction house at Bury St Edmunds, in Suffolk offered sixteen notes in near mint condition.  The vendor had acquired them in a house clearance some 30 years ago.  Thinking that hardly anybody would know about this auction, I attended the sale as I was hoping to purchase one or two of the notes.  However there was four telephone bidders plus buyers in the room which caused the prices to reach record amounts.  With Buyers Premium, the 1/- notes made up to £351, the 2/- £469, the 3/- £1055, 10/- £996 and finally the four £1 notes which made between £1524 - £1876.  As you can imagine, I went home with nothing!

It appears that our Royal Mail do not wish to encourage the collection of stamps.  In the past if you had a used stamp, you soaked it off from the envelope and placed it in your collection.  From last Christmas, it has been virtually impossible to remove used self adhesive stamps from their backing paper due to the new special glue that was used.  It is understood that the re-use of uncancelled stamps has made a big dent in the fortunes of Royal Mail, especially as unused stamps without gum have been offered on eBay in large quantities.  No longer will we be able to soak legitimately used stamps from the mail for neat mounting in our albums.  From February new stocks of stamps will be produced with two semi-circular slits on each stamp so that when the stamp is removed from the backing paper, it will come apart, so again not really suitable for the stamp collector.  It looks as if in the future that used U.K. stamps will have to be collected on piece.

Peter Duck wrote an obituary in the last Bulletin about our former committee member Keith Burtonshaw.
However very little is known about how he spent his spare time other than in Scouting.  In March 2009 at Woking in Surrey, over 1600 of his painting came up for sale in an auction.  Bachelor Keith Burtonshaw (1930- 2008) was a highly competent, self-taught amateur artist, influenced by Constable, Gainsborough and Reynolds.
Keith was a member of the British Water Colour Society, the London Sketch Club (as was Baden-Powell), the United.  Society of Artists and the National Society of Painters.  He also exhibited at the Royal Society of Marine Artists and the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours in London.  His work can be found in collections around the world, but only occasionally have his pictures appeared at auction in the last 20 years.

I know that I have already written about Mafeking earlier in these notes, Inside Mafeking Book Cover but I was pleased to say that at long last the diary of Captain Herbert Greener has been published.  He was the Chief Paymaster in Mafeking during the Siege, and it is his signature that appears on the famous siege notes.  This is not simply Greener's diary as the journal has been studied meticulously by the Editor, Robin Drooglever and the story of the siege is written around it.  There are exact diary entries, of course, telling the story in Greener's own words, but the analysis of those words by Drooglever makes this book required reading for anyone with an interest in the Siege of Mafeking.  Published by Token Publishing Ltd of Honiton, Devon at £29.95.

One of the great treasures of Scout collecting, is the crash mail from the Zeppelin "Hindenburg" In March this year one of these rare covers was offered for auction in the Netherlands by Van Dieten.  With an estimate price of €10000, it made € 8200 plus buyer's premium.  Most of the crash covers still show the 12½ 1937 Netherlands Jamboree stamp.  Hallvard Slettebø writes on his Scout website LZ 129 Hindenburg left Frankfurt am Main, Germany on May 3 on her first North America flight for 1937.  The world's largest aircraft ever was 804 feet (245 metres) long and filled with 7 million cubic feet of highly flammable hydrogen.  At Lakehurst, New Jersey, cameramen and reporters waited for her arrival and recorded one of the most famous disasters in history.  On landing at Lakehurst on May 6, 1937, the airship burst into flames and was destroyed in about 34 seconds.  13 passengers and 22 crew died but 61 passengers survived.

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