Polar Blog

As I write this time I am just recovering from a surfeit of English sports success at the cricket- not also Wimbledon tennis alas!- but not without some controversy which is perhaps to be expected at the elite and highest level with narrow margins. Just ask Federer about his battles.

It reminds me that some of the rare Polar books, Ephemera, Postcards and stamps are inviting unwanted attention - in my view. The controversy is: Should rare material be copied to make it more available? Is it thus or a money making exercise and will years into the future this material be offered as original if it acquires an age of patina - much I see does not make it clear it’s a copy by dating it. The early examples are outright fakes of the Victoria Land overprints; now copies of rare postcards, leaflets, reprinted books and even medals are appearing. I caution you all to take care.

On a brighter note I had 2 amazing Fair visits in May and June with new Shackleton card and existing with good contemporary messages for both him and Scott. Which leads me to my success at the local Club with 16 sheets on Memorials to the Tragic end of Captain Scott and companions in Advanced Section at 87 points. Just prior I had a great trip to a Polar Symposium in Dublin - very Shackleton centric including the family homes, his birthplace and The Shackleton Museum Athy (http://shackletonmuseum.com/) full of important items.

A top day at Midpex 6 July rounded off recent events (see Page 80) - Good to catch up with members there who maybe find it more local to them. Overall collecting life keeps busy - Don’t forget to send your experiences, illustrations of new purchases etc. to our editor John also.

Congratulations to Peter Cranwell on winning our colourful philatelic contest and commiserations to the 14 unlucky losers!

Since the exciting start in January for Polar Ephemera I still managed to personally acquire
an attractive postal item for my Captain Scott proposed Exhibition rewrite - just when you
think you have enough! All it needs now is the time.

Still they say knowledge is strength and knowing who people are and their relative importance
in such Expeditions helps to add to your collection when their name or handwriting appears
on a cover.Now internet or telephone bidding has vastly increased buying options rather than leaving a maximum bid and just waiting and wondering!

That reminds me we are making great strides with our website with more developments
and without the email and internet our Committee would find it much harder to keep in
touch and run the Society - watch that space as well as Polar Post. I take time to thank all my colleagues who make the Society tick over so well.Back to recent and future activity before the next issue; the AGM Reports on Pages 34-37 show how we are staying in the game in a world of many competing demands on our time and money .

I’ve flown the flag in a modest way by putting Polar related shows in local Stamp events
as I see have others - it all helps promote our fascinating hobby. Finally I enjoyed a great weekend again at FIPSG which although mainly Falkland Islands focused always has some Polar links especially from Expeditions which touched there - see a teaser of Daniel Bringer’s Display!
Don’t forget to send John Youle your articles for Polar Post, no matter how short. Please concentrate on Polar material within a philatelic context and supply colour images wherever possible. And come along to the shows listed on Page 31 where we have a presence and say Hello.

I hope you all enjoyed your Seasonal get-togethers and are now looking at the possible
Polar related events for 2019.

There was a small flurry of collecting activity after my last message - in November a
Grosvenor auction and after including a visit to Scott Polar - SPRI as we say - for an
educational Seminar. Followed by news one of my Ponting photos is nearing professional
restoration showing Scott’s Polar depot group prior to setting out in 1911, a Classic.
Interestingly, the first few days of January threw up several opportunities for bidding on
Scott and Shackleton related covers and Ephemera, some signed, a hot start to the year -
two from original family sources not seen before. Look out for a future article!

Following on, I had a brilliant day at the Wilson Museum in Cheltenham looking in their
drawers and cabinets at Ted Wilson’s family history not just his Antarctic time.
Don’t forget that later in the year we have two philatelic Exhibitions at Swindon and Midpex to enjoy after Stampex/our AGM which will be over by the time you see this. Hope I’ll have seen you there; if not look where else we’ll be and come along and say Hi!

Now we’re going full colour where possible in Polar Post dig out your most vibrant Postal history and send it to John- I think we should try for a double page spread to celebrate.

P.S. Please remember to send John Youle your articles for Polar Post, no matter how short. Please concentrate on Polar material within a philatelic context. Please supply colour images wherever possible.

Back from a hectic run up and post event Cambridge Weekend, we had a cosy rather than jammed time while there. Whether it’s a small or large gathering however, the basic workload still needs doing of hotel bookings, Displays, food menus, general organisation of people and schedules. I would like to thank also Val Roberts for allowing us use of her Club’s frames, Robert Hurst for the ‘compere’ of Saturday Members’ displays and Nikki Hurst for scanning pages from members who displayed, John Youle for pics of the event, Bil Tilbury for a great auction - he had some good stuff to work with for a change, and above everything those who showed and attended!

Due to circumstances several only made it for Saturday/Sunday and nonetheless enjoyed their time - and seems especially adding some fine auction items - when you see the results you will agree. Interest has certainly broadened in recent years into the material which expands the story of a cover or whole Expedition using photographs, letters even books which add to the information you can show.American Polar activity being the main theme, there were some fine covers and signatures relating to Byrd sold, and also DeepFreeze - but I can attest to the popularity of other items with good prices for Classic period, and bargains to be had in Northern
material.Looking at the high tariff stuff, not many unsolds. The top realisations are given on Page 98.

On the ephemera front, after a fallow summer - too hot? - I recently bought an amazing archive collection of plans and tenders for a new Polar vessel for a South American country - but from 1910/11. It included a tender from the Dundee Shipbuilding Company, which referred on every page to how they would base it on Scott’s DISCOVERY clearly believing it was their ace card! I now need to research if it was ever built.

As I write the heat has turned to autumnal chills, and when you read it will be nearer Christmas, and a new year. Seasons Greetings to you all. The Xmas Card above is from Deep Freeze 1I in 1956/57 and featured in my Saturday Evening Display at Cambridge. Full details can be found on Page 99.I am sure a few anniversaries ending next year will spring to mind, so try and send a cover and paragraph or two to the Editor for us all to read, and bear in mind a number of Polar Salon type events will also be available. PS the website commands your attention also!

Phew – heatwave, but also such a busy time since last issue barely time to draw breath! I flew the flag all over, hope a few new believers created. I managed to give displays on Scott & Shackleton as rivals, Scott as my Royal contribution, and the Shackleton Story from 1901 – 22. On top of the fabulous Royal Polar Exhibition, which was a great time to meet many friends, - see pictures on Page 58! – an evening dinner topped it off making a late, tiring but memorable day. (Thanks to my nephew Mark for helping and putting his uncle up in town, avoiding a long homeward journey!)
Numerous local Stamp and Postcard Fairs, eBay, Antique centres, with some scarce new Antarctic cards, Club competitions – First in Postal History for 16 sheets National Antarctic Expedition 1901-04, and a Postcard to cover Shackleton’s homeward journey via USA in 1903 after being sent back on medical grounds by Scott. If you saw the Grosvenor results you will know the rarity = top prices! (last seen sold in 1990 at Feldmans, Zurich – good things sometimes come to those who wait.) Followed very quickly by a 3 day trip to Plymouth, to celebrate the 150th Anniversary of Captain Scott’s birthday, 6th June 1868. And met his grandson Falcon Scott who kindly put up with the many autograph and photo requests!
We had the annual visit to Swinpex, joint chat with FIPSG – why more people don’t attend I’m not sure? My own Club celebrated 40 years this year with a great dinner free to members – we seem to buck the trend with strong attendances for speakers and vibrant club packet. The fruits of some very hard work by Steve Allen is invigorating the Website and re-vamping it wholesale including many Royal photos – do visit over the next few months! Remember the Live auction too – many very good lots will be on offer, not just USA - Polar, rare Byrd letters, photos, Nordenskjold signature, Fids / BAT mail etc.
The Weekend at Cambridge this year – see the schedules in Polar Post, March and June 2018 (numbered Pages 6, 7 and 34) and booking reminder below. Pleased to see our Europe members now booking too. Some attendees are bringing parts of their Royal contribution so Saturday night will be bolstered, but is still the place to show and tell your favourites on any subject! Finally a lecture by Sir Ranulph Fiennes (possibly our greatest living Polar explorer) at the Royal Geographical Society, London, on behalf of the Charles Swithinbank Scott Polar Research Institute Memorial Lecture was more a comic tour de force – a truly entertaining speaker recommended if you get to hear him at all (and England lost that night, so no contest!).