Cupboard Collections


By Walter Owen
Whilst writing an article on Australian stamp booklets I was reminded of my assortment of booklets of the world, and I wandered off to the cupboard to find them.

There are two stamp collectors (philatelists??) in our house and we tend to put a fair amount of emphasis on writing up and keeping up-to-date with collections.

However, no matter how good our intentions are to buy only the items we need, it is not easy, as we frequently find something we want in an 'auction lot' and it is a case of 'all or nothing'.

Having extracted the goodies, the remainder is shoved into a cupboard out of sight — (a kind of 'not wanted on voyage').

With so much 'rubbish' around the house, things tend to get misplaced and every now and then we go mad looking for something we know we have, but cannot lay our hands on.

Inevitably, the cupboard is opened and everything pulled out in the search. This is FATAL! As we fossick through the accumulated surplus of past years, we become so engrossed that we lose sight of the original object of the exercise.

We come across a Zeppelin cover from Maplewood NJ addressed to Stoke-on-Trent in England, carried on the first flight air mail via Graf Zeppelin ZR 127. Somewhat tatty, but very interesting! (That reminds us, what has happened to the rest of the 'flown mail', part of that thematic we were going to do about transport of the mail, after reading Betty van Tenac's interesting articles?).

There is that registered cover from Marandellas in Southern Rhodesia bearing 'INVALID' independence overprinted stamps, on which the recipient had to pay double the postage to receive it.

(That's another surprise, it is dated 1966, and we were in Africa then, where did those 28 years go?).

Tucked away in a file I find a copy of the


dated January15, 1856, and half an hour later, I am still reading it.

Realising that my other half is similarly engaged, I give her a nudge and we get back to the search.

That's when I uncover an envelope from a sapper in Christmas Island (Pacific Ocean) at the time of the first British Megaton Trial in 1957. The sender's address is BFPO 170 but the cancellation reads just BFPO Christmas Island 23 Ju 57.

Next I find part of a British se-tenant coil from a stamp machine which had jammed and coughed out stamps split down the middle. Then an old Tin Can Mail covered in postmarks and cachets and endorsed — "This letter, enclosed in a water-tight tin was put into the sea from the cruise steamer "Maunganui" off Niuafoou or"Tin Can Island" in the Tongan Group. Lat 1533' South. Long 175 39' West, on the 6th September 1937. G. B. Morgan, DSC Commander.

Now here's a bunch of envelopes, saved for the stamps but still containing letters — who can resist reading them all over again. Then there are little packets of stamps which will eventually find their way into kiloware bags, no doubt.

What about this packet of Australian pictorial greetings telegram forms which must be old hat now, but which are so attractive they cannot be thrown away.

What is a passport doing here? Relax — it is an Australian Bicentennial Stamp Collecting passport given to kids to encourage them in the hobby. (I wonder how many of those are still around and how many are complete with stamps — I remember a young nephew being rapt in them at the time, and collecting and entering the stamps assiduously, and know for a fact that he has not continued with the hobby).

Admission tickets to National stamp shows during the 1980's turn up — why keep them?

Who knows, perhaps we will need them for illustration purposes!

"Do you remember this?" "WHAT?" "This presentation pack that opens out to look like a stage set!" — I didn't realise we still had these old Aussie postcards, some interesting cancellations here.

"Ah hah, this is what I was looking for"....

"Good grief- is that the time?" (Is it dinner time already?)

"What about all this stuff?"..... "Oh Stick it back in the cupboard — till we have a bit more time."


Most of the items mentioned in the text but not illustrated, can be seen by clicking the green 'back' button and checking on the collections page.

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