Polar Blog

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!).

I am pleased to say it is at last getting brighter weather, although I had a lovely ‘Polar’ climate experience in the Wiltshire hills in mid March getting snowed in for the weekend at the Falkland Island Philatelic Study Group. (Almost as big a mouthful as our own title!). My talk on the Whalebone Arch, Blue whale jawbones donated by Hektor Whaling Co. from South Shetlands for the 1933 Centenary, at Port Stanley next to the Cathedral – some of you have seen it live – went down well. All sold on afterwards to eager new owners – no lack of interest in good material, some very good Tabarin, Censored, Graham Land etc.covers using the overprinted ½d value KGVI which depicts the Arch.
Prior to this we had a very good PPHSGB AGM – see the Reports on Pages 37 to 40. One of the best attended and most constructive with active suggestions put forward and you will see soon the fruits of some very hard work by Steve Allen who is taking the Website by the scruff of the neck and re-vamping it wholesale over the next few months, See Page 35. Going forward, do keep a regular eye on it and visit to keep up with events outside and in between the excellent Polar Post – used
together provide great contact and info. Latterly my Shackleton postcard talk pleased the audience and before the next Polar Post we shall have had the, I expect, amazing RPSL Polar Exhibition so news of that next time.
We now have main speakers at the Weekend at Cambridge this year – see the revised schedule on Page 34, and already 12 stalwarts are committed to being there - 6 months away but time flies, book soon! Saturday night is still the place to show and tell your favourites on any subject!
May I also take this chance to thank all the officers and ex-officio helpers who do so much to keep our Society running so well,in an ever increasing demand on our time. Especially those still with gainful employment to hold down as well!
Beforehand I hope to catch up with members at SWINPEX again. Note: There is no MIDPEX this year. 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.

Stormy days at the start of the New Year – but I think it’s only the weather, the Polar
collecting world looks set very fair! Welcome to 2018 with more good events to anticipate
– see Society Events - and especially the Royal Philatelic Society of London invite to the Polar collecting community to visit 31st May and put on a massive display, probably not seen in its depth and spread since the PPHSGB invite under Harry Evans in February 2003 for our 50th Anniversary. DON’T MISS IT – contact Robert Hurst or myself to get on the Register for guest entry if not a member. I am told this is important for safety/numbers reasons and the issue of name badges.
Strength of interest in material was no better seen than in results from Argyll Etkin and
Grosvenor last end of year from both ‘Ends of the Earth’. (See their websites for full

Vis a vis speaking of which, our own Auction offerings seem to attract low interest apart from some more unusual items. I suppose this is not a surprise, but it would be good to hear from members of items they are looking for and we can ask others to send in for sale? Especially for the live one at our weekend which always goes well! The NZ TAE certificates for instance have all sold well . WE NEED A DEDICATED AUCTION MANAGER – even if only for one auction per year!

Personally I am giving a Display on a number of topics this year, first on Postcards and Ephemera from Shackleton’s Expeditions 1901 onwards – Part 1 – it looks to be a long series! (See below). Unrecorded items may be scarce but still a few turn up most years. In November I was privileged to show 100 pages of Antarctic Expeditions to the Redhill Society as 1 of 3 main speakers fortheir 80th Anniversary in November 2017, receive a Gold certificate for 16pp of Shackleton on Discovery in the Thames Valley Philatelic Federation Open competition, network at the Caird Society AGM (Shackleton buffs) meeting Marston’s grandson and the head of the Fram museum Oslo, topped off with the Fred Goldberg sale and visit to a museum to see Reginald Koettlitz’ Polar bear – stuffed! – donated after his trip with Jackson – Harmsworth 1897 – flying the Polar flag at all events, including correcting a major factual error at the museum.

Moving on, we are pretty much full for main speakers at a Weekend at Cambridge in 2018 having had a good response, (all who offered should expect to show), but Saturday night is still the place to show and tell your favourites on any subject!
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.