Polar Blog

Despite the continuing ‘Lockdown’ in UK and elsewhere in various forms and stages I found plenty to do with our hobby but oh what changes we are putting up with and adapting to in this brave New World!

The foreseeable future will see us all leading a very altered way of life and my first real taste was a Zoom meeting on 11th March over the ether with my aged laptop!

A special invite via the FIPSG/RPSL to listen in and contribute - for which many thanks again - to first a virtual chat room and then enjoy Kim Stuckey’s slide show of ‘Britain in Ice’ covering very interesting mail of early FIDS and TAE/IGY in particular. Some amazing high value postal rates including 10/= FIDS ship stamp correctly used as part of a large cover to the FIDASE HQ in UK. Contrasting with ½d from same set Christmas card rate which took a whole year to arrive from Argentine Island in 1961/62 to New Zealand!


I also continued to benefit from online auctions with a dozen extra Polar related items. Some of these may be on show at the much delayed FIPSG 50th Anniversary event in September- at last - cross fingers!


I managed to nearly balance sales and purchases in their auction just ended in April. I hope the results for Steve restarting our own and ending shortly as I write, will help to stimulate you our members to return to adding to your own collection. I treated myself to 2 special items as it was my birthday on 12th April! At Easter I sent about 100 electronic greetings to family friends and fellow collectors world wide and received a huge positive response which was both reassuring that in the main you are well and also working through this epidemic. This gives me another opportunity to thank our tireless Committee and ex officio members for keeping our Society on track and organised!


Finally RIP the Duke of Edinburgh who in 1957 visited some FID Bases and many of us have covers stamped around 2nd January or just after including Deception island following the old Royal Yacht Britannia sailing out to visit them escorted by HMS Protector. And he wrote a book called ‘Birds from Britannia’ - not seen a signed one on the market however.


I hope you all got the chocolate eggs you enjoy at Easter and please send more snippets or articles to John Youle - personally I especially enjoyed the ‘Visit to Amundsen house’ last issue.

I write this as a soft dusting of snow is gently falling over our town – but elsewhere I know enough has arrived for sledging down hillsides and blocking roads! Ours is gone by the morning.

At least it’s enough to put one in the collecting mood with a ‘real Polar’ type scene. Normally when I begin to write these notes I can check my diary for events, auctions, meetings, emails since the last Polar Post edition - but sign of our times there is very little. A few items in on line auction or eBay tries to keep me engaged. So I will start 2021 off with a Preview – Shackleton’s last voyage on the Quest started 100 years ago this year - this last fling to explore his life long love of the Antarctic. I will start a short résumé in future Polar Posts to fill in more details but an interesting Postcard MW OA-1-a, a line drawn The “QUEST” helps to set the scene, Figure 1.


If anyone would like an item included please let me know and I will try to incorporate it into the story - if so, subject to space I will ask you to scan direct to John Youle with or without your
name being acknowledged as owner, up to you if anonymity preferred. Especially any pre-departure items of Quest – not much about generally of this voyage in my experience. (The stamps ‘overprinted’ post his death excepted). I do have some interesting ephemera, signatures and photographs to include already.



On other matters, I enjoyed the sight of my regular annual Christmas correspondent Bent Sørensen’s items sent to the Editor - one of our oldest and active members proving you don’t
have to be “webbed up” to contribute! I hope he continues to extract good items from his ‘Fred Goldberg’ mine!

Finally, I found very interesting the ‘snippets’ by Phil Schreiber last issue. More members should share such news - it doesn’t always have to be a long article to interest members. I wish you all the best for this year and hope for chances of face-to-face meetings - even if at 2 metres!


Take care and stay safe – and send John Youle any good Polar philatelic stories.

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.