London Spink Meeting, In Memoriam for Joe Robertson - Members Displays 11th February 2017
Pictures by Nick Hackney, Report by Mike Padmore
Present: Peter Cockburn, Graham Coles, Nick Hackney, Mac McClaren, Susan McEwen, Dominic Morris, Andrew Norris, Mike Padmore,
Gordon Peters, Martin Roper, Len Stanway, Carl Stott.
who had been going to lead this meeting, the scope of which had now been extended beyond “Rubber" to cover all of Joe’s main philatelic interests.
Dominic reading a poem for Joe Robertson
Joe Robertson giving a display
Joe Robertson viewing auction lots
Peter reading his address om Rubber to the Tropical Growers Association
He also delivered a short paper first presented to the Tropical Growers Association.
This covered the history of rubber production in Malaya
and the vicissitudes of the local industry and trade over the years subsequent to its first introduction, which featured the activities of
many well known personalities in Malayan colonial history.
Peter noted many ironies; Frank Swettenham telling Henry Ridley he was “wasting his time" and then, later, becoming an active
director of the Anglo-Malay Rubber Company Ltd; the estimated 180 destitute ex-pat managers sleeping rough in KL
as a result of summary dismissals following the price crash of the 1920s-30s while “coolies” remained in employment;
the initial failure of voluntary controls on production until forgery-resistant coupons were eventually introduced.
(A fuller digest will appear separately in TMP).
Much of Peter’s display illustrated elements of his talk, including postcards illustrating rubber production, export coupons (one being the only
surviving N. Borneo coupon) and coagulant coupons plus share certificates of Chersonese (FMS) Estates Ltd and the Straits Settlements
(Bertan) Rubber Co and several examples of the Henry Ridley 100th Birthday slogan cancel.
A rubber factory
Coagulant coumons & an export coupon
Very early Rubber Tree, planted 1870
The rubber theme continued with Gordon Peters presenting three frames, beginning with postcards of rubber estates,
one showing a wide road with a monorail for carrying latex back from the fields. These also included a post-WW2 set of thirteen coloured
postcards issued by an estate near KL, together with a contemporary page listing them in Chinese and English.
The former offered fourteen cards; the latter, twelve!
Gordon’s second frame featured more Henry Ridley 100th Birthday cancels (applied at KL irrespective of the original office of posting,
he mused?) plus a Christmas Is. FDC commemorating the hundredth centenary stamp of Ridley’s visit to the island and FDCs
of the 1968 National Rubber Conference.
These were followed by different plate blocks of the 1957 “Tapping rubber” 6 cents.
Gordon noted how the numbering of pairs of plate blocks did not always follow the sequence of the printings. These were
followed by a ten stamp strip of plate proofs of the same issue showing the centre plate well out of registration and then,
as a tribute to Joe,
two maps of Malay Peninsular and S. E. Asia.
Len Stanway continued the 1957 6 cents theme with further plate examples. He suggested that gaps and inconsistencies
in the plate numbers might be due to the printer attempting to co-ordinate numbering with ink colours.
He then displayed 1960 commenoratives of Natural Rubber Research Conference/International Rubber Study Group
15th Meeting including some FDCs.
He observed that many of these bore back-office cancels, including a Singapore DD (DLO?) cancel.
Obviously, the clerks pressed whatever was available into service at this busy moment.
He showed the 1975 MRRI 50th anviversary issues and 1977 Centenary of Rubber Industry issues, the latter not actually
released until late in 1978, and wondered if the robbery at the Philatelic Bureau in 1977 might have some significance
in this delay, or if it was completely coincidental. Finally, Len displayed some Export Cess stamp proofs, intended for customs
duty for export from Singapore.
Martin Roper showed a single frame of FDCs, noting that only the Natural Rubber Research Conf. FDC had
not actually been shown already
Dominic Morris showed more examples of the Henry Ridley Brithday cancel, wondering if every single letter posted on that day
carried the Ridley cancel.
He then displayed covers of rubber thematic interest, including a demonitised 1938 Sultan Iskandar 2c postcard,
used post-war for rubber latex collection records, plus a 1947 5 cents cover used for MRRI returns.
Dominic’s display then shifted to another of Joe’s well known collecting interests - postage dues. He showed a 1935 Malacca to Gloucester cover,
franked with 16 cents and also bearing a 71/2 d Taxe mark, a 1951 Taiping to Jacksonville cover bearing Proud UP5 with 4 in script,
converted to 2 cents in the US; an indistinctly dated 1922-28 10 cents Sultan Suleiman registered envelope uprated by 17c but bearing
48c in blue crayon and an overweight 1948 Ipoh to New York cover bearing a hexagonal T previously unrecorded for Ipoh.
MPU and Trengannu postage dues, with different Gallaty chop types identified, then “Dai Nippon 2602“ on MPU postage dues,
followed by Kanji overprints on MPU and Johore postage dues showing upright and inverted overprints, including second character
sideways examples for good measure.
Susan continued with postage dues on cover (some of which she readily admitted to being philatelic), some with taxe marks,
then 6 cents Perak Revenue Map stamps, including full pane of 25 from the booklet and unused examples with plain and red rouletting,
plus some on documents with various dates of use between 1943 and 1945.
Andrew Norris kept matters going with a selection of material with Seremban PD markings ranging from Proud
UP1 through to UP9, on both incoming and outgoing covers. This included a cover to the US incorrectly franked at the
Empire rate and bearing a triangle enclosed T not in Proud plus US postage dues; an unframed “11 cts” on an incoming chettiar cover;
UPI on a Paul St. Seremban cover; and one with a strike of “Missent to Seremban”. Also displayed were other outgoing covers to GB,
France and USA, including two pretty covers with GB postage dues. He noted how UP2 actually reappeared after WW2.
Finally, Andrew added the last communication he and Susan
received from Joe, a postcard sent from St Lucia.
Mac McClaren said he wasn’t sure what others would be exhibiting, so had brought all his postage dues from Johore, Kelantan,
Malaysia, MPU, Strarts Settlements and Trengannu, including some varieties. He also displayed some covers including one franked
with a demonetised Frama label, 25 cents underpaid against the then current inland rate of 50 cents. Postage dues
to cover the excess were applied twice, explained by a “charge not collected - new label required” cancel.
collection. This included a pair of pre-stamp covers, one with and one without mileage, the former presumed to be to Dublin, and several
Irish spoon postmarks plus a Dublin diamond duplex and a GS&W Railway TPO cancel. Frame 2 was a selection of early C19th PPCs
and Frame 3 began with 1922 five line overprints. Carl observed that, although the Provisional Government lasted less than two years,
it produced 51 different stamps to cover only 15 different values. Moving on, he displayed Irish Free State overprints and definitives from
the Govt. Printing Works, and then Eire issues, closing with, of course, postage dues.
Dominic Morris closed proceedings with a recitation of Yeats’ “Lake Isle of Innisfree” as a final tribute to Joe.
II will arise and
go now, and go to Innisfree,
And I shall have some
peace there, for peace comes dropping slow
I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water
lapping with low sounds by the shore;
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with pictures of each display,
and MSG members can join there!
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