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Comment on the 1910 Opening Of Parliament Commemorative

Russel Boezak's display has been very favourably received. Here are some of the comments emailed to me.

Prof. Keith Klugman writes: "Great displays - I have a particular fondness for the Union 2 1/2d and am amazed that so much material is additional to the Lester’s collection. It's a good collection you have put together here... thank you."

Brian Livingstone, King George VI Collectors' Society "but also Royal portraits on stamps wonk", writes: "Can I say something about the George V Union issue. Mr Boezak was not able to show the photo by Downey, presumably because it is at Windsor Castle and required Permission from the Royal Collection. If he wanted to add it for future displays he can apply to the Royal Archive but will need to have the photograph's reference number. They have always given permission for me with George VI photos.

Finally, in case he does not actually have an image of the photo, he should check out the article by Chris Board in the London Philatelist May 2009 118 pp 126-129 and the photo is on p 128.

The interesting thing here is the envelopment of the neck and shoulders in the ermine collar. My own opinion is that De La Rue were VERY SHORT of time now with less than a month to issue date (less still if you allow for the boat transport to SA). The picture by Downey was taken when George was still Prince of Wales and so the uniform was that of a General. His primary service was the RN so the ermine might have just been to hide the uniform. However I think it might have been more subtle than that. Shortly after his accession he assumed the rank of Field Marshal ,the first King to do so. Even George II who actually led an army in battle, didn't do that. Anyway, although it is difficult to make out the shoulder knot "rank pips" they would have been wrong. The ermine hides them nicely. Of course, it is equally true as Mr Boezak says, that it was to symbolise the opening of a Parliament and the King would normally be robed for that. It was also quicker to engrave it.

Once they had it done, De La Rue were not ones to waste money...just to charge it. So they recycled it for the Newfoundland Coronation issue although they had plenty of time to do something new."

(Editor: I have had reason to approach Windsor Palace Archive in the past and have always found them helpful and efficient.)

Ian Paterson of the ZAR / Transvaal Study Group writes:

"Russell, Well done on an absolutely sensational exhibition of the first Union stamp! I really enjoyed going through it and learnt a great deal. There is however one noticeable omission that I may be able to help you address. It is the stamp used with needle perforations. (Editor. See attached PDF file.) There has been some speculation as to the reasons for the needle perforations. I have proved conclusively that it was used for the defacing of stamps on telegrams but this may not have been the only use - it is possible, as Bas Payne contends, that it may also have been used for accounting for Customs payments on incoming parcels - I'm not so sure but have no grounds upon which to disclaim that assertion. The use of the needle perforation on the first Union is very rare. I've sent you scans of what I have - one from my collection page and another of the few spares I have."

 

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Mike Tonking writes:

I enjoyed the excellent collection of Mr. Russel Boezak “The Union of South Africa’s First Stamp’” dated 13.12.20.

In connection with this, the attached example maybe of interest. It shows a block of four stamps of the colour trial in the issued colour on imperforated ungummed paper showing the multiple rosettes watermark.

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