Postcards - Meeting Report Members displays
Dominic Morris CBE, pictures by Nick Hackney
A well-attended meeting, with attendance in the high teens, plus two welcome
guests, Huguette Tett and Brenda McClaren. Most who attended had brought
material to show so there were, unusually four rounds.
the round one of the Group’s leading postcard collectors, Malcolm
Wade, gave a super 3 frame display, including some of the material that
features in his Penang book. Some lovely Kaulfuss (fl 1897-1907) including
proof and prototype material; a study of the Federal Rubber Stamp Co Street
Vendor series, cards from Malacca and some of the distinctive Bodom cards.
Why was Penang so popular? Because it was the first landing point for
Europeans in the orient and they rushed ashore to write the equivalent
of ‘Mum, I’ve arrived’.
Gordon Peters followed
with a fascinating set of very early hand-made postcards on the front
of the 3c carmine postal stationery cards, initially ink or water-colour
drawn, later photographs with over-stuck labels. Gordon showed Carcosa
postcards (the FMS Residency) and a (possibly unique?) Carcosa printed
envelope used with normal 25c Tiger Airmail. Why? For the GG’s private
correspondence? Plus postcards of the Tumpat train, Seremban, early Pahang
The round concluded
with two frames from Malcolm Clark (who admitted he had collected them
for postal history not post-card reasons) but which included Singapore
1910, SS Chusan, and Floating Dry Dock 3 which had apparently been towed
from the UK all the way to Singapore- looking at the entity, some voyage!
Consisted of displays from Len Stanway and Susan McEwen.
showed a Singapore miscellany and railways, including a series on the
Penang Hill Railway No 2 (No 1 having been perfect in all respects save
that at the opening ceremony the carriages had resolutely refused to budge:
they were later sold for chicken coops); plus a good range of the SC1-265
Singapore post-independence postcards. There is a research string on the
website forum about these. If members have any that are not listed there
please let Len or Susan know.
Susan surprised us
by showing Johore (!) a super study of the two 1906 Cursive Script and
1907 small block script ‘arms’ postcards series. Both complete,
which must be a significant rarity and a real treat to see. It showed
the ‘corrections’ with one in the 1906 set described as ‘Johore
Palace’ being properly re-labelled in 1907 as ‘View from the
fort’. Her display finished with a lovely series of the Johore pavilion
at the Golden Gate international Expo 1939 (showing the immediate pre-war
wealth and swank from rubber exports?)
Was opened by Bill Pain who showed a mixture of ancient and modern. Most
interesting were the Lat cartoon card from the 1970s and the views of
the Genting Highlands hotel and Bill’s story of his and Brenda Pain’s
post-prandial near-escape on the road down in the mist. Bill was reticent
about who was at the wheel, when the car got set to plunge several hundred
feet downwards but he had to admit that both driver and passenger had
nodded off. Thank goodness that the Statute of Limitations applies.
Charles Keel showed a scholarly and fascinating display of the building
and re-building/development of key districts of Singapore from the 1920s
to the 1980s with post-card illustrations, maps and descriptions. Frankly,
this was worthy of a whole afternoon’s worth of displays in itself.
Charles has great first -hand knowledge and may be in line to lead a Members’
Singapore display, if he is not careful!
Nick Hackney opened round four with a Johore Hotel promo-photo of the
young (and well-decorated) Sultan Sir Ibrahim- how did he manage to get
so many medals and stars so young? It’s a mystery. Nick showed seven
of the 1907 Johore series and numerous cards of Penang & Singapore,
5 from Kaulfuss etc. On to 1924 Exhibition cards, Tin Dredger cards, much
beloved of Dai Nippon, temples and aerial cancels on Concordes from Singapore
and a 747 where the crew (possibly) couldn’t be bothered to unload
at the right point and which, accordingly sported a Tokyo cancellation
(Excuse me, these planes did not fly the Polar route).
Nick’s star display (for nostalgics) was a signed MSG 21st gala
menu. It includes Howard Selzer’s signature, those of many in the
room and those much missed by those in the room.
Peter Cockburn showed North Borneo, mostly Sandakan including St Michael’s
Anglican church and the Sanctuary lamp presented by Angela Burdett-Coutts
(who was on very friendly terms, in the nicest and most tasteful early-Victorian
way, with Rajah Brooke). The card, Peter said also had a major sentimental
value to him, since he was married under the lamp.
Peter also showed cards demonstrating the re-development of Sandakan from
its almost total destruction post- WWII to its reconstruction in the 1950s
Peter concluded his display with a set of beautiful Chinese hand-made
collages of stamps and water colours to produce classic scenes from both
media. These 1930s examples are probably rare now.
David Tett concluded the demonstration by showing around 60 cards of various
scenes and poses. As David noted many of these, including famous views
of e.g. Keppel Harbour, had been copied in their essentials by other printers.
Was this a local phenomenon or was there a study to be done on the near
copies and why from different printers. ( Comment: if there is such a
study then David’s collection is certainly a worthy source-material