Start of our new season, 2022-2023

2210DaveArmit taking stamps off paper

Dave Armit irons his newly soaked off stamps!

Simon reports for ABPS:

The new season started in September with an evening meeting after due respect to the funeral of the late Queen earlier that day.  Having come together on an historic day, members showed some of their QE2 stamps, from Coronation stamps in 1953 to the myriad GB machins.   Subscriptions were paid and a silent auction held.

In early October, an experimental meeting on the programme, entitled ‘Practical Philately’, allowed Dave Armit to show his technique for getting stamps off paper involving, hot water, blotting paper and a hot iron. His use of Signascopes looked into a variety of watermarks, while Colin Davies’s electronic Perfotronic2 machine was also admired for its precise perforation counting. Other tools to measure perforations were passed around. Lots and lots of questions and points of view were generated by a very animated audience!  We will be having more such fun sessions in the future!

Dr Simon Heap


Summer 2022 Summary

Simon Displays at OPS

Dr Simon Heap giving his Presidential Display

Simon reports to ABPS:

During this period, members of the society displayed their 9 and 16 page competition entries for judging by Malcolm Gascoyne. At a subsequent meeting the displays were showed in detail, along with the judge’s comments on ways to get even more marks.  Lots of learning for next time!  At the AGM prizes in the form of cups and certificates were handed out to the worthy winners.

In May, I gave my first Presidential Display on the Gilbert and Ellice Islands Colony during the GV-GVI period. Though the Nigerias remain my primary collecting interest, my first philatelic purchase of GEIC GVI definitives at the Bolton Stamp Centre as a child meant I could claim almost fifty years of collecting the colony.  Displayed chronologically with some unique and rare stamps, full sheets and idiosyncratic stories. a lovely evening on these Pacific islands was enjoyed by all.

In early July, members enjoyed our summer social event with a convivial evening at a local pub.

Dr Simon Heap

stop-press! Summer Social event on Wednesday 6th July

We held our AGM on Monday 20th June, with a good attendance of about 18 Members. Two items of interest in “Any Other Business” are that the Summer Social date has been changed to Wednesday 6th July, meeting at The Prince of Wales P.H., 73 Church Road, Iffley OX4 4EF, and that we will be putting an extra Morning Meeting in the next season’s programme, on 3rd April 2023.

Simon Reports on our Programme to Easter 2022

The year started with a session on the recent acquisitions of members, which showed the width and depth, as well as buying power, of the society.  At the next meeting, I displayed my long-postponed postal history of the Nigerian city of Port Harcourt, starting off with controversial naming of the fresh site using a soon-to-be-discredited British Colonial Secretary, Lewis Harcourt, who lived and is buried just south of Oxford! Knowledgeable on the country, a great many of the wider contexts were discussed: from the rapidly increasing population to the landing strip for the American space shuttle. At the end of January, members displayed single frames on the environment and climate change, a philatelic topic stretching back many years and illustrated by the air pollution, acid rain, depleted ozone layer, greenhouse gases, and soil and water conservation topics of the late twentieth century.

In February, the annual Philatelic Quiz saw teams tackle rounds on such diverse and tricky subjects as postcodes of the world and trying to list all the 50+ countries and territories beginning with “M”.  At the same time, member’s competition entries were judged by Malcolm Gascoyne, and a future meeting will display and discuss the entries in detail.

A fascinating evening on ‘The 1920s’ drew displays on the Malaya-Borneo Exhibition, British Levant, German inflation, Jersey, Scandinavia, New Zealand, and Nigeria. It can be reported that the society’s auction of nearly 300 lots drew a large and friendly competitive audience, ably auctioned by Dave Armit, with extra funds raised for the society.

Dr Simon Heap


OXFORD PS SUMMARY FOR ABPS NEWS, Oct 2021-Jan 2022 (Sorry, Your website manager forgot to add this in the correct sequence!)

Oxford Philatelic Society

Our first main evening session saw Gerald Marriner of Solihull PS provide a strong display with the stamps and postal history of the Belgian Congo, with some rare and beautifully designed items from that troubled part of Central Africa.

Three well-attended meetings in November covered a great deal of philatelic ground. First, the letter “C” provoked displays on Christmas, Spanish and German censored mail, Crimea, Norwegian charity stamps, coils, chess, Canada, cartoon characters and Cinderella stamps.  Second, with time spent with the United Nations in Geneva to aid his collecting, Bill Jackson showed Switzerland, and shared the meeting with Julian Bagwell who teased the audience in his worldwide hunt for the first Christmas stamps.  The meeting was completed with more “C”s covering cricket such as WG Grace and Arthur Conan Doyle (whose only first-class wicket was the aforementioned Good Doctor), as well as short displays on mail coaches, and cattle.  Third, with many years of collecting and auctioneering to call upon, Dave Armit completed the month with a wide-ranging and engaging display on the stamps of the Balkans.

In December, Tim Harrison of High Wycombe and District PS beautifully laid the interplay of Estonian, German and Russian elements in the postal history of Estonia in the first half of the evening. In the second half, members were grateful for the tremendous material and clear explanation of how each territory issued its own stamps and then came under the umbrella of the Union of South Africa in 1910. 

At the start of 2022 many members took the opportunity to show off their Recent Acquisitions, and we hope we can continue to meet in person, safely and enjoyably.

Dr Simon Heap

Simon Reports…normal Meetings resume

Between March 2020 and mid-September 2021, our society went online with regular Zoom meetings. The packet in lockdowns was suspended but since March has circulated very satisfactorily to all concerned, as rising, indeed record, sales indicate.

With a risk-assessment of the Rose Hill Methodist Church Hall and Covid-safe measures in place, like the draught of open doors and windows, the society reopened for business. It was agreed that the society donate £150 to the church’s extra cleaning costs incurred by Covid. A few additional philatelic additions, like signing a register of attendees and not congregating around a specific frame of stamps, added to our safety and built confidence that we can return to some normality.

The first meeting concentrated on AGM business over the past difficult period, the paying of our subscription and some Bringing and Buying. 24 members attended, close to half our membership, including new members gathered during the online displays of the previous months.  Your reporter was duly elected as President and Paul Dickinson as VP.  With a strong set of officials, the society continues to be in rude health.

After the AGM there was a lot of tea/coffee and biscuits consumed amongst the chat and organised philatelic lucky dip/lucky sort. No matter the country, the period or the theme being collected, the return of the boxes of 5p stamps and 20p covers proved how much many of us have missed a good rummage.  Digging and delving, getting your eye in and spotting, picking and choosing nuggets of paper is a satisfying skill!

At the next meeting, having missed his opportunity to show his own Presidential display during the earlier part of the year’s lockdown, David Potts presented, Austria since 1933: From the Sublime to the Ridiculous? Ranging from the noted charity stamps to contemporary corporate sponsorships, and with a handout to accompany the very model of a measured, interesting talk, we were all grateful for a real three-dimensional display.

The society looks forward to a full, exciting, in person, normal season ahead, with Zoom as our backup if we need to.

Dr Simon Heap

Indoor Meetings to resume on Monday13th September!

David has had the good news from Rosehill Methodist Church that the premises are now available for lettings. All hirers are required to produce a Covid-19 Risk Assessment and following discussions with the church steward  , David produced a draft for discussion at a special OPS Committee meeting  held in the church on 17 August. This was approved by the Committee.  It includes using a hand dispenser on arrival and signing an attendance register to say that you have not had any Covid  symptoms within the last seven days .Thought has been given to distancing between seats and adequate ventilation. Wearing of masks is recommended . Regular cleaning between bookings is  the responsibility of the church who have had to employ a cleaner. 

On 13th September, we are planning to hold a short AGM for 2020-2021 to vote in the President and Committee Officers, to agree the Treasurer’s Report and collect the proposed reduced subscription of £5 for 2021-2022. David will be sending round the AGM reports, the audited accounts and the Membership pack within the next two weeks, together with a letter explaining any new Covid-related procedures. We will be having the customary “Bring and Buy” as well.

The website page “Our Current Programme” has been made current at last. We have not planned any more Zoom sessions between now and September. I am pleased to have been able to host them and delighted that we have been able to welcome five new Members since July 2020.

Looking forward to a real Meeting…cheers, Priscilla.

Summer Zoom Meetings And Future Prospects…

Zoom Meetings are scheduled for Monday evenings (7,30 p.m.) on 5th July, 19th July, 2nd August and 16th August, ID 693 819 5805 (passcode 928886) as usual. You should have this listed in the dropdown box of your “Join Meeting” page by now!

On Monday 5th July at 7.30 p.m., Julian will be showing us a display of WW2: Guernsey Philately under the German Occupation. As this will no doubt give rise to questions and conversation, please arrive promptly…we might have to overrun our 40 minutes! After the Meeting, I will add Julian’s beautifully written-up pages to our website SLIDESHOWS page for the benefit of our non-Zoomers…many thanks again!

David watched an inspiring Zoom display by Simon Martin-Redman, hosted by the Henley Philatelic Society (9th June) on “The aesthetics of Stamp Collecting” and was so impressed that he has put together 9 or so pages on the similar theme, “Stamp Presentation as an Art Form”, which he will show us on 19th July.

Simon is offering a display of ‘Wild Shrimps and Wilder Perforations” on 2nd August…any guesses? (think Nigeria). If you have any scanned material that you would like to display at our Zoom Meetings, or even just add to our web pages for general interest, please contact me.

David reports that he has spoken with the senior steward at Rose Hill Methodist Church,  Jeremy Dawe, who confirmed that there is no change to the current situation, i.e. the buildings continue  to be only used for church services and the Wednesday food bank.  If after 19 July the Government  removes  all or most restrictions, the Rosehill  Church will then have to follow the  hiring instructions issued by the Methodist  Church  to all its congregations. Jeremy confirmed that the roof repairs had been completed — but recent heavy rain has produced some problems. We all hope that the Rooms will be available to us on 13th September, when we would hold a brief AGM and all enjoy some stamp “bring and buy” and conversation!

See you on Monday 5th July….Priscilla.


June 21st…”Freedom day”? No…wait until July 19th.

Our Zoom Meeting on 21st June will be a pre-AGM Committee Meeting at 7.30 p.m. It looks more likely that the AGM will have to be a Zoom Meeting as well, but we can always hope!

At our 7th June Zoom, Simon H. showed us an esoteric collection of specimen stamps of the Gilbert and Ellice Islands 1910-1946. I gather that the world postal authorities sell these off every so often to provide some income, but generally they are hard to come by, therefore of some collecting value…Simon showed great enthusiasm for his collection! We have had Zoom meetings on May 17th and May 3rd as well, where various members have demonstrated new interests and shown their recent acquisitions. We are pleased to have been invited to join the Henley Society at Zoom talks given by visiting speakers…contact Anne Stammers at their website for more information (see “links” on the left of your screen). Meanwhile, the ABPS has published its Summer Newsletter, in which we have an OPS write-up, and David Potts can email it to you if he hasn’t done so already (it won’t be published on the ABPS website for a couple of months).

Tribute to the Duke of Edinburgh

As a holder of the Gold Award of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award scheme, I would fully agree that participation at age 16-18 was very formative and I have reaped the benefits of knowledge of our world, social skills and interests acquired at that time. It is only a small thing that I can do but, trawling through my “hobbyist” commonwealth stamps, I have come up with a couple of pages where I feel that Prince Philip appears to be the subject of the stamp either equally or more than the Queen:

The ones of Prince Philip with a beard are my favourite, but perhaps that is because they also have wild scenery!

This is only a small selection of the “Award” stamps to celebrate the 25th Anniversary in 1981, because of my rather slow style of collecting. However, it is enough to illustrate the different sections of the Award. The media tend to concentrate on the physical activities, but one could opt out of these by getting involved with doing a “worthwhile project” for a week or taking some instructive “design for living” course. The Service section was very important and lasted a full year…the residential qualification was a week of social interaction away from one’s parents!

It is a gorgeous sunny day outside and the Committee has decided that today will be the last of our 4.15 p.m. Zoom Meetings. If anyone would like to bring some more stamps to show…or just to exchange news, the please turn up on the usual ID and Passcode. Meetings in Future will be held at 7.30 p.m. on Monday evenings, starting from 3rd May, which is also a Bank Holiday.

Cheers, Priscilla

P.S. Only six of us turned up, but we were rewarded with some interesting Gilbert and Ellis Islands covers from Simon H. (see “Slideshows”) and David P. showed some recently acquired Russian stamps, which have filled in gaps in his Lenin commemorative collection. I also did my D. of E. tribute, because no-one had looked at the website!

Remember that our next meeting is on 3rd May at 7.30 p.m.

Committee Meeting on 12th April, 4.15 p.m.

The Committee will meet to consider the draft 2021-2022 season’s Programme, assuming that we can return to having indoor Meetings by September. We will also review the activities of OPS during this last year and consider lessons learned and changes that we could make. Much depends on news from Rose Hill Methodist Church! Your Treasurer will propose one year only of a much reduced subscription, to reflect our much reduced spending during this financial year.

I propose that our next two general Zoom Meetings should be on April 19th and two weeks later on May 3rd. Perhaps the Committee will think of rustling up a surprise display for May?!

Cheers, Priscilla