Polar Blog

Once again our Christmas issue is available and I wonder if I am alone looking back wondering where another year has gone? I know months of enforced hibernation because of the Covid epidemic didn’t help and I personally managed to get plenty of outside fresh air and work done – so I can’t compare to the winter months endured by my favourite Antarctic Expeditioners!

Talking of which the autumn sales of certain postcards sent from the early trips of 1900s fetched strong prices following on from some earlier results from the Scott / SS Discovery Expedition. Amazing changes since Harry Evans sale in 2014! I illustrate just one from my own collection which has details about activity making it ever so much more interesting (a ‘below decks’ member, Blissett but desirable for all that).

Another card from the Grosvenor sale I would like to refer to is from the British Graham Land Expedition of 1936 Heyburn AQ-11-aqv written by Brian Roberts Ornithologist while invalided to Port Stanley for an Appendix operation. Its discovery was by me in an unremarkable modern album of aerial views of the Falklands and air letters at a Harmers’ sale – you remember those? As it lay outside my main areas of interest I sold it at Grosvenor for over £4000 and it has graced a couple of big Falkland and Polar collections over the years since – and will do so again at £5,800 before fees! The use of Falkland stamps on many of the mentioned items pushes up competition! It is one of very few mail items from the BGLE. Reference my previous message and Shackleton used card – thanks to John for his translation which helps identify the position within the European tour.

I wish you all the best for the holiday season and trust we can have more activity for our hobby face to face in 2021 - even if at 2 metres!

Take care and stay safe – and send John Youle any good Polar philatelic stories and support our popular online auction with Steve Allen to add to your own interests.

Once again we have a dearth of communal activity apart from the e–kind! As I said last time amongst others my garden and collections are getting more attention. I
managed to benefit from Steve’s great auction ideas and sold all items including a big bonus for Society funds from a donated postcard. Only one word of warning – beware of high UK post cost to send overseas, including Europe, and make a good allowance in your items.


By now my cottage garden annual seeds from packets as old as 1998 rediscovered have flourished in a previous bare corner, a riot of blues reds yellows whites and purples! A different variety was my selection of Falkland/Dependencies covers for FIPSG Autumn auction – it seems a long lead time but it’s a 600 lot sale and all kudos to Mike Roberts for setting it up, hopefully for some Christmas spend money.

As a slightly unusual Shackleton Polar link to give you all food for thought I illustrate the Rotary 7181A cards of his Tussauds waxwork. The first, Figure 1, has the Arctic error and dated, Figure 1A, bought at his talk in Mechanic’s Hall, Nottingham Nov 12 1909. Does the hall still stand?
Secondly, the corrected Antarctic description, Figure 2, posted 11-1-10 in Berlin on his European lecture tour 1909/10 during which he received many high honours from Geographical Societies. Seems to show the actual printing sequence, as the second corrected type is clearly sold on that tour. The tantalising words in the message, Figure 2A, allude to Lieutenant Shackleton / Antarctic / Sudpol – perhaps some of you as well as John Youle can attempt a full translation for me? Please!  Looks like no events due yet but auction houses just starting to open up. Take care and stay safe – and send John Youle any good Polar stories and support the return of our auction.

I was hoping this issue to be able to report on some wonderful events just passed but instead we have, and are experiencing, a dearth of events available to us meeting up. Before the current shutting of public places like hotels and halls where there were many planned meetings I just managed to enjoy a few local stamp club talks and handed in a 9-page display which up to now is still in quarantine and may not see it shown and/or returned to me before the late summer! However I did mange to retrieve my loan photo from the Spink Exhibition.

One result is now I am spending even more time on eBay – and money – but an interesting ‘modern’ BAT postcard is shown on Page 47 as an attractive modern genuine postal history item with a twist or 2! Sadly we may not see too much thus from the 2000s on as email and other social media communication options make it easier and quicker to send your bucket shop selfie of your Polar journey. Contrast with Birdie Bowers pulling a string for the Scott Polar Party enabling all 5 to be included! (See my article in Polar Post, N°232, March 2012, Pages 1, 4 & 5).

Well like many of you, lock down has also refocused activity and now my house, garden and collections are getting more organised. With my deposit money rolled forward to September for one event there is a faint window of anticipation to enjoy meeting again.

Take care and stay safe – and send John any good Polar philatelic stories and support our popular online auction to add to your own interests.

It’s currently ‘Polar’ climate experience as I write but I hope you are all gearing up
for a ‘‘hot’ run of Polar related events in the first half of this year. Apart from joint
meeting with the FIPSG at London 2020 they have the usual weekend but with added
excitement of a day visit to Bristol to see the SS Great Britain and a meal on board as
part of their 50th Anniversary celebrations.

The Spink event I mentioned in December was a magnificent success both in content
and meeting a number of friends from the Polar world home and abroad – and the free
Saturday talks the day before closing were informative and entertaining, especially
about Captain Oates. We were also allowed to leave our printed PPHSGB membership
leaflet which has encouraged at least one new member. If still available, the copiously
illustrated catalogue reads more like a book on 200 years of Polar history and exploration
and well worth the money - 260+ pages!

Just prior to the Spink Event I attended a talk about Shackleton’s voyages, a fund
raiser on behalf of the RNLI including a good dinner with Robert Hurst and other
excellent table company. Just after to round off the year I collected some restored
Antarctic related paper items which hopefully means they will last another 100 years.
The Shackleton leaflet not seen before shown here bottom left references his Life Story
by Commander Worsley, his Captain on Endurance, and navigator of the James Caird
to South Georgia in 1916 - the most amazing survival story also.

On other matters, the fruits of some very hard work by Steve Allen using the Website
is facilitating member Auction sales - Do try and find a couple of items value £10 or
more and email scans to him. Also it encourages new members. Going forward, do
keep a regular eye on the site and visit to keep up with events outside and in between
the excellent Polar Post – used together provide great contact and info.
In so far as this is issued before the AGM I once again pay tribute to all our officers –
Committee or otherwise who keep the Society running so well in a busy life. Sadly as
we go to press we received news of the passing of Herbert Lealman MBE our stalwart
Polar Post distributor for 44 years – Herbie was a great help over many years, our
condolences are given to his family on behalf of us all – RIP .

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.

Going back to my last notes where I left off was just before a few good Polar items were coming up for auction - and unused Wrench cards fetched 3 figures each! I have 2 myself, 2 and 4, and I guess they are scarce as there must have been more money in selling them posted. But let’s face it Wrench hardly overcharged at 2/- for the set of 4 from many - then - hardly seen places by the majority of people! Let us know if you have some mint. Followed quickly by some fine Scott related contemporary Ephemera which I thought under priced - win some lose some. Later I had an exciting live auction visit to buy Ephemera and some hidden postal items - sometimes it pays to delve deeper into mixed lots!

I hope you’re following our new “live “ auction too - contact Steve if you have items for sale.

In between I reawoke my clay pigeon potting skills at a family 40th came 3rd of 10- well one doesn’t want to upstage the main event. My aim was unerring however at Stampex and 2 subsequent Fairs picking up nice cards. Which brings me to the lovely selection shown from my good friend Christian Murguet - brought a reminder seeing the Ponting card if I may be allowed to show off one of my signed favourites of his facsimile card. This came from the carpenter with Scott, Francis Davies who I assume went to see his films when he got back as the Glad Eye Penguin card was also signed from the same source.

It’s always good to try and document items in your collections when attributable to Expedition members for future reference - and it adds to the attraction and value! Already 2 fine Polar related events before Christmas to look forward to especially the Spink 200 years of Polar history but if I don’t see you there I’ll wish you Seasons Greetings and an enjoyable 2020 with several major shows we may meet at. 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.

Seasonal Greetings to all our Members!