Philately can take you anywhere
1915 – an auspicious year in history. New Zealanders found themselves fighting at Gallipoli. By September local patriotic societies were set up to fundraise for the wounded soldiers.
Philatelist Bruce Graves says among these efforts was the issue of special stamps or seals known in the trade as ‘cinderellas’.
‘‘That’s because, although they have perforations and look like stamps, they’re not real stamps. They’re charitable labels to raise money for the wounded.’’
Postage at the time followed the British Penny Post model. A halfpenny or ha’penny war tax (roughly the equivalent of 50 cents) was added to stamps, and the seals were ‘‘most likely’’ an additional ha’penny.
‘‘It’s hard to tell because the records just don’t exist.’’
Bruce has a sample of the Manawatu Wounded Soldiers Fund seal designed and produced by a Mrs Ackhurst of Palmerston North, sponsored by a Captain Goldingham and issued on October 23, 1915. He reckons, depending on how many of them are still around, it could be worth as much as $500.
He wants to find out more about Mrs Ackhurst and Captain Goldingham and if anyone has that sort of information, to see him at this Saturday’s Central Districts Stamps, Coins & Postcard Expo in the Ferguson St Community Leisure Centre.
Postage offers an interesting insight into social history.
‘‘There were as many as five postage deliveries a day in the Palmerston North CBD during the early 20th century. It was the equivalent of texting. The penny post would send a letter anywhere in the world – except Australia.’’
Newspapers could be sent anywhere for a ha’penny. Bruce says there was a proliferation of post offices during this great age of letter-writing – the Pohangina Valley for instance, had a whopping 23 post offices, and he can name most of them.
He also offers advice for people with letters and postcards from any era not to separate the stamps or seals from them.
‘‘It’s the cachet of stamp, postmark and envelope,’’ he says. ‘‘The franking – where it was posted and when, is all part of the story.’’
Soak off the stamp, and you soak off the value along with diminishing the whole item.
There’s free entry to the expo which runs from 9.30am – 4pm.
Philatelist Bruce Graves with a WWI patriotic seal issued by the Manawatu Wounded Soldiers Fund in 1915. Bruce will be available to talk about the seal and postage of the era at this Saturday’s Central Districts Stamps, Coins & Postcard Expo.
From October 1915, this Manawatu Wounded Soldiers fund seal was designed by a Mrs Ackland in Palmerston North. Philatelist Bruce Graves wants to know more about her and the circumstances surrounding the local patriotic fund that issued it. The seal will be on display along with other postage, postcard and coin collectibles at this Saturday’s Central Districts Stamps, Coins & Postcard Expo.