All posts by pmmorris2014

Simon Reports on end of 2017-8 Season!


John Davies of nearby Banbury Philatelic Society and Stamp Active Network fame, gave us a fascinating display on the Penny Black Jubilee of 1890, the year that our society was founded. To everyone’s amusement, he began by observing how few modern commemorative make it onto envelopes these days and, being as scarce as Penny Blacks, he offered the audience considerable sums to buy such rare modern items!


The 2017-18 season ended with a new event: a ‘social’. On a warm summer’s evening, many members brought things to sell and swop and discuss all sorts of matters, philatelic and not so philatelic. It went well, and has found its place in future seasons. Speaking of which, the new one began in September with subs collected, programme booklets issued and a Silent Auction, with bids written down beside items for sale until a designated time when the last on the list paid and carried off their winnings.


A morning meeting on the letter ‘D’ noticeably failed to have any Denmark displayed. Nonetheless members displayed plenty of apposite and interesting ‘D’s: dogs, Disney, the delightful/dire stamps of modern Tuvalu issues, designers and dealers, ‘Dwor’ – the Polish for manor house, postage dues from and to Japan, dancing, dinosaurs, Danzig, the UN Year of the Disabled, disasters, decolonisation and development, and the aircraft manufacturers of Dassalt, De Haviland, Dornier and Douglas.

Dr Simon Heap


Simon Reports on start of 2018

2018 started with a morning meeting on ‘monarchy’, which covered Queen Victoria, the Queen Mother, the Austro-Hungarian monarchy, King Farouk of Egypt and the kings of Spain, Sweden, Nepal, Thailand, as well as the rulers of Bahrain and Jordan. The engaging Dave Armit then gave a splendid evening on a miscellany of philatelic matters, not the least was his role as auctioneer at some of the country’s major stamp auctions. This was followed by a beautiful and comprehensive display by Vic Thorpe on GB Prestige Booklets, presentation packs and smiler sheets. Vic deliberately engaged the audience with plenty of interesting observations and comments bringing forth lots of questions, comment, and discussion.

The ever popular quiz night brought out the competitive spirit and deep/shaky philatelic knowledge amongst the eight teams of members, selected in a new way which allowed for a far better level playing field – the order in which members signed the attendance register. A good morning meeting on the Caribbean was followed by the Club Auction which attracted a large percentage of the membership and many welcome clear outs of philatelic material to grateful new owners.
Dr Simon Heap

Simon Reports on 2017

Oxford, Nov-Dec 2017

The society is sad to report the untimely death of Alan Hughes, the author of our recent history celebrating 125 years of our history. Two members, Stephen Marks and David Potts gave the society an illuminating evening on China up to and from 1949. With China being a hot stamp collecting country – even on the school curriculum, everyone was educated into the history of Chinese stamps. The thematic meeting on Fish and Fishing produced a wide array of freshwater and saltwater contributions: from Japan, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Madagascar and Tuvalu, to fisherfolk, subsistence fishing, rod and line, spear-fishing, kite-fishing, Big Game fishing and commercial trawling. Simon Richards gave a wonderful display of Dominica, showing the key milestones in its philatelic history with rich material from his first class collection.


December was a busy month. A festive Christmas lunch at the Royal British Legion in Marston was enjoyed by two dozen members and their spouses, made even more enjoyable (and tricky) by some quiz questions for each table to solve. Then the always popular evening of Recent Acquisitions in the week before Christmas showed that members continue to add to their stamp collections and philatelic knowledge: Austria, British POs overseas, Canada, Nigeria, and a large number of forgeries with interesting histories.

Dr Simon Heap




Oxford, Sep-Oct 2017

The new season began in mid-September with a silent auction. Many auction lots attracted a lot of bidding with pens but not much silence amongst the chatter of the evening as member paid their subs, some new members joined us, and an extra copy of our recent history publication was distributed to members who had donated to get one in the first place.


In early October, the Letter “L” guaranteed a wide variety of philatelic translations by members: amongst which I can list Lebanon, Lithuania, Leopards, Lions, Llama stamps of Peru, as well as QV Line-Engraved, Lifeboats, Lace, and Lacrosse.


China, fish and fishing, Dominica, recent acquisitions and a festive lunch are lined up in the coming months running up to Christmas

Dr Simon Heap


Oxford, Apr-July 2017

April saw members of the society display their competition entries to be judged; when the society held its AGM a few weeks later, certificates, shields and cups were handed out to entrants. The wide range of entries showed that members collect all sorts: the battles of Coronel and the Falkland Islands in 1914; North Borneo; paquebot marks of 1920-30s Japan; tourism in Abbazia between the wars; propaganda mail of the Chinese Cultural Revolution; art work associated with the stamps issued with the UK postal strike of 1971; classic cars and tigers.


In mid-May, Stephen Marks gave his final Presidential display on Regime Change, a fascinating evening covering the stamps and postal history of, amongst many things, El Salvador and the overthrow of Arturo Araujo; Bosnia and Yugoslavia; Spanish Civil War’s propaganda labels; Vichy France; Post-War Germany’s four Occupied Zones, as well as Sardinia and Italy, and San Marino.


In July, Tony Stanford gave a very comprehensive display on the Indian and British Post Offices located in the Gulf States of Muscat, Bahrain, Dubai and Kuwait, finishing with Das Island, the last ever British overseas post office. Later that month, members of the society met at the hostelry of Sandford Lock, just south of Oxford, for a very sociable summer’s evening together.

Dr Simon Heap



Alan Hughes R.I.P.

With regret we announce the passing of member Alan Hughes, on 23 October 2017, who will perhaps best be remembered for his outstanding work on the research for and compilation of our 125th Anniversary souvenir handbook.


Alan had a long career with the Oxford English Dictionary and it particularly resonated with him that the first Editor of the Oxford English Dictionary, Dr Sir James Murray, had also been the first President of the re-named Oxford Philatelic Society from 1892.

Through his research, Alan was instrumental in highlighting the career of Frank Bellamy, a notable citizen of Oxford for whom a Blue Plaque is to be shortly erected. Bellamy was OPS founding Honorary Secretary and Treasurer from 1890 to 1936 and also a key member of the Oxford Photographic Society, an active member of the Ashmolean Natural History Society and a significant observational astronomer at the Radcliffe Observatory. It was Alan who spoke to set the scene at the 125th anniversary event in 2016 bringing together the Oxford Philatelic Society, the Ashmolean, the Museum of the History of Science, and the friends of St Sepulchre’s graveyard where Bellamy rests.

Our thoughts and sympathy go out to his widow Freda and his family.

Michael Proffitt, the Chief Editor of the Oxford English Dictionary, has given us a copy of his tribute to Alan, which you can read on our NEWS page.



Simon reports….Auction success

The year kicked off with the ever popular Ladies Choice evening of display on the theme of “capitals, cities, and cathedrals”. Bob Galland gave an excellent display of Queen Victoria surface printed stamps at our next meeting. In February, Oxford’s Publicity Secretary Simon Heap gave a morning display on the postal system of Calabar, Nigeria, during the colonial period, which included a detailed history of the four GPOs, numerous pillar boxes and expanding postal service of the town across the seventy years up to 1960. Quiz night brought out the competitive spirit and deep philatelic knowledge (and ignorance!) amongst the six teams of members. In the meantime, the society’s annual 9-page competition was being judged – full displays and results at a future meeting. Two more Oxford members, Alan Cowie and Jan Simons, combined to provide a fascinating morning meeting on aspects of Japan: a glorious trot through Japan’s postal issues from start to present-day and then a wonderfully specialised display on the Japanese postal history in Manchuria. The very well attended society’s auction concluded this quarter’s meetings with over 200 lots providing for an exciting evening of viewing and bidding for all.

Dr Simon Heap

Note from treasurer: 25 members bid for lots, spending on average £30 each. The OPS lots made a profit of about £120 for the Society…suggestions for library purchases are always welcomed!

Simon reports on our New Season

The 2016-17 season, which has seen two new members recruited, began with a Silent Auction, A morning meeting was devoted to Art and Artists. At the next meeting, two members of Leighton Buzzard Philatelic Society, John Hossack and Richard Page, gave noted displays on Sierra Leone and Birds of Prey respectively. Another morning meeting covered the letter ‘P’, with Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Port Said displayed as well as GB POs abroad, Paquebot Covers through Japan, and Pottsville, USA. Malcolm Gascoyne of the neighbouring Henley Philatelic Society gave an excellent display on the stamps and postal history of Sarawak. In December, the society held its well-attended Christmas Social. Later in the month, the always popular ‘Recent Acquisitions’ evening gave members a chance to show everyone their new philatelic procurements.

Dr Simon Heap

Simon Reports: Frank Bellamy anniversary event.

Oxford PS

2016 started off with a meeting displaying the themes of exotic flowers and birds. Then, Colin Lee and Bob Patterson of Reading PS showed the Faroes and Solar System respectively. In the next meeting, Joint Secretary David Potts displayed diverse material relating to Opatija in former Yugoslavia.


February 15th saw two meetings: in the evening was the Society’s Annual 9 page competition, judged by Patrick Reid and Christine Earle – not an easy task when accompanied in the same room by the tricky and boisterous annual Philatelic Quiz. However, earlier that day, things have been more contemplative, as the society marked the 80th anniversary of the death of Frank Bellamy, who had played a key role in the development of the Oxford Philatelic Society for many years as its founding Honorary Secretary and Treasurer from 1890 to 1936. Founded in December 1890, at a meeting at which Bellamy took the minutes, the Oxford Philatelic Society has been celebrating its 125th anniversary. This event was part of those celebrations.


Frank Bellamy’s commemorative event in Oxford

1603-Frank Bellamy's Commemoration-Gathering

Bellamy also helped to establish the Oxford Photographic Society, was an active member of the Ashmolean Natural History Society of Oxfordshire, and contributed significantly to astronomy in his post as an observational astronomer at the Radcliffe Observatory. Buried at St Sepulchre’s cemetery, Frank Bellamy’s grave is virtually the first you encounter as you walk through the entrance archway:


Members of the following groups attended: Oxford Philatelic Society, Friends of St Sepulchre’s, Ashmolean Natural History Society of Oxfordshire, and Museum of the History of Science.


After several words of thanks for the life of Frank Bellamy, a wreath was laid.


Oxford Chairman Stephen Marks at the graveside of Frank Bellamy

1603-Frank Bellamy's Commemoration-Chairman Stephen Marks at graveside

The event can be viewed at:


Marking the early days of the society, a March meeting was titled ‘The 1890s’, with members displaying a variety of countries: from QV GB, Persia and scenic views of British Guiana, Tasmania and New Zealand to the Treaty Ports of China and Sweden’s lovely SON postmarks, while two displays concentrated on the Royal Niger Company and Niger Coast, showing some very rare material on cover.

Simon Heap

OPS History now published…Look here to get one!

OPS History

On 15th February 2016, the 80th anniversary of the death of founder member Frank A. Bellamy, Alan Hughes presented us with the first copies of his 63 page history of the Oxford Philatelic Society, now in its 125th year. In the morning, a Memorial event was held at Mr. Bellamy’s grave in St Sepluchre’s cemetery in Walton Street. It was attended by several OPS members and members of other societies also founded by Mr. Bellamy. Alan Hughes gave a short talk about Mr Bellamy’s considerable contribution to the early development of Philately and his activites as a prominent citizen of Oxford. He also gave an interview to the TV Channel “That’s Oxford”…you can see it here.

Members can obtain copies of “The History” at meetings for a donation of £10 minimum (to cover printing costs).  Alternatively, they can apply to Dr. Simon Heap, 76 Waynflete Road, Headington, Oxford OX3 8BL ( ), enclosing a cheque for £12 minimum (to cover postage and printing costs).

Interested non-members may also apply, but be warned that the print run has been only 150.


Simon reports on OPS autumn Meetings:

Oxford PS

In October the energetic David Rye presented Costumes on Stamps. November saw members show off their new acquisitions, including Albania, Nicaragua, Russia, French Post Office at Zanzibar, and Nigeria and NZ covers to Joan the Wad. Simon Richards proudly showed off his medal acquisitions from Germany exhibitions: firstly at Gotha and secondly, a weighty, impressive Silver [only Gold, Silver and Bronze awarded] medal from Sindelfingen. A meeting on transport gave a chance for members to show off bicycles, airships, trams, trains, animal transport, TPOs, ships, paquebot, planes, river boats, and a range of motor vehicles from across the globe. In December, the Society had a convivial Christmas Lunch at a new venue in Oxford, complete with Chairman’s speech and quiz. Our last meeting of 2015 was devoted to the letter ‘G’, and members showed off Germany, Gibraltar, British PO abroad letters to Genoa, Greece, Ghana, GB Graphite stamps of 1957-60, and King Ghazi of Iraq, amongst many excellent displays, even Guineaworm and God!
Simon Heap

Simon Heap Reports…New Season opens with BBC2 visit!

Ending the 2014-15 programme, Tony Stafford gave an excellent display on the British Salonika Force of half-a-million men operating in the First World War and beyond. 200,000 soldiers died, but only a small proportion in battle. The new season kicked off with the important business of paying our subs and collecting our 2015-16 programme booklets, while in the background a Silent Auction was held.

I am happy to report that member Alan Hughes has completed his extensive research into our 125 year history. We hope to sure the fruits of his labours in the coming months, including in a future issue of ABPS.

In early October, members displayed material on Canada. A team from BBC2 were present to film member Vic Thorpe as part of their forthcoming documentary on Generation Lifestyles.

1510-Oxford Photo for ABPS