Volume 3, Number 11

Irish Philatelic Newsletter

Volume 3, Number 11                                                                                                                           November, 2001 

A periodic publication for the members of the Éire Philatelic Association, the Irish Airmail Society, the Irish Philatelic Circle and the Forschungs-und Arbeitsgemeinschaft Irland e.V. The newsletter will be e-mailed to all interested members.

Published and edited by Michael Connolly

  Open Letter to An Post
Otto Jung

Forschungs- und Arbeitsgemeinschaft Irland e.V.

Mr. Pat Carolan
Manager Philatelic Service
Philatelic Bureau
Dublin 1

Otto Jung
FAI President
Kreuzherrenstr. 19
52355 Düren
Tel. 02421/61723
eMail: Jung.FAI@t-online.de

Dear Sir,                   September 20th, 2001

The FAI members participating in the Annual General Meeting 2001 of the FAI, have engaged me to write a letter of protest to the philatelic management of AN POST. The FAI (Research and Study Group Ireland) is a Germany based philatelic society with some hundred members all over the world. We are sure that we represent the great majority of collectors of Irish postal material in Germany.  We have been very concerned for some years about the inappropriate policy of AN POST in issuing stamps and the excessive expenditure needed to get the new issues. In 2000, the FAI new issue service had a dramatic drop in customers, and the orders have come to a standstill in 2001. A number of our members have stopped collecting Irish stamps because of this policy.

These are the points we object to:

1) We object to the great number of commemorative stamps. Why does an occasion need a set of four stamps, where one would be enough? Look at the way the German post commemorates events by issuing one stamp at the letter or postcard rate, rarely by a stamp of higher face value.

2) We object to the high face values which are found in each set. That they are not needed is recognizable from their low prints. They only aim at the purse of the collectors and a high income for AN POST.

3) We object to the number of sheets combining different stamps and issuing them in multiple formats - sheets, rolls, booklets etc. This is only to force collectors to buy more stamps than actually needed.

4) We object to the way the new issues are extolled as a great financial investment for the future. Every serious collector knows that there will not be the least profit from the average commemorative stamps of the last 40 years. These "wonderful pictures" are often being ignored by the adult collector. They are mainly aimed at the children who cannot judge the future value of the stamps. It is irresponsible to lead them to believe that they have not only a fine hobby but also a good investment for their future. These issues are far away from serious philately, which does not mean to add stamp to stamp bought from the post office.

5) We object to the motifs chosen for many years. Stamps with ship motifs appeared in 1982, 1986, 1988, 1991,1996, 1998, 1999 (set and 2 mini sheets) and 2001. Why so many sets showing cars, motorbikes, trains, trams, buses? And why illustrating the pine martin in 1992 four times? And - I beg your pardon - the yearly issued minisheets to celebrate the Chinese New Year are so far away from any reality that the annual repetition causes collectors to shake their heads in disbelief. Why all the sportsmen on stamps? In most countries it is frowned on to picture living persons on stamps. All the Millennium sheets were strictly to extract additional money from the collectors.

In 2000, the German agency Roll, who distribute the stamps of 231 countries, sent collectors an advertising leaflet. The new issues of all these countries, the average number of yearly appearing stamps and their cost are to be found. Only 3 (three) countries out of 60 European charge more for their stamps than Ireland does. Even countries as large as China and Russia require less money. Great Britain is less expensive. The annually issued stamps of Switzerland, Austria and The Netherlands, which are extremely popular with collectors, cost nearly half the amount the Irish stamps demand.

You should be aware that each collector who cancels his standing order will never return. Hundreds have turned away from new issues and are ending their Ireland collection with the year 2000 or 2001.

Yours sincerely

Otto Jung, FAI President

Stan Challis

To my knowledge since this newsletter was started over two years ago (well done for keeping it going, Michael!) nothing has been written about parcel labels. They tend to be a little-collected aspect of postal history because, inter alia, of the relative difficulty of finding them in quantity and the vast variety in the labels themselves.  The most extensive writing on the subject is to be found in Mackay's 'The Parcel Post of the British Isles' where illustrations of over 100 Irish labels are to be found.  The avid reader is referred thereto as I have no intention to rewrite what has already been written.  However a short summary would perhaps be of use to those without access to Mackay's work.

The Parcels Post service commenced in 1883.  It was renamed Parcel Post the following year. At the outset it was decided that a label should be affixed to each parcel showing the name of the office of posting and also providing a space for the postage stamps to be affixed.  Perhaps little more than 10% of the surviving labels still have the stamps.  In some cases they were affixed to the parcel itself, more often collectors have removed them as the labels provided a good source of the 'high values' from 3d to 1/- (the values from 2/6d upwards are known on English labels but I have never seen such use in Ireland), and finally many of the surviving labels are 'mint' examples.

Label1The labels, but much smaller varieties, were in use until quite recent times, but those with individual office names were generally out of use by about 1920 although I have seen several examples bearing Irish stamps in the 1920s and 1930s. The first printings were endorsed 'Parcels Post' but thereafter 'Parcel Post'.  Between the two words was the Royal Crest, but which Royal Crest?  Is there an expert out there?  I attach examples of five labels and hope some readers will provide more detail for us.

Label 1 shows one of the original 'Parcels Post' labels.  This series is believed to have been printed in London and shows the unicorn looking left.


Label 2 (Sligo) is the basic Irish type (printed, it is believed, in Dublin) found from about the mid 1880s.  The unicorn now looks right.

Label3Label 3 shows a variety of the above but with what appears to be arms (one broken) holding up the crown.  This is an earlier type; I don't know how well it will come out in the scan but is typical of the very poor printing that is generally found - the labels were, after all, meant to have a life of no more than two or three days.


Label 4 shows a temporary label used at Duke Street Dublin with what I take to be an English coat of arms. Mackay shows an example of one of these temporary labels. His is used in 1899; all the six I have are dated between 1899 and 1901.  It seems that an emergency stock was sent from England to Dublin stores and used over this period. 

Label 5 shows the new coat adopted for all three countries (England, Scotland and Ireland) following the accession of George V in 1910, these known from about 1912 (my earliest is used at Westport on 23 August 1912).Label5

These five examples also show the various styles of lettering to be found on the labels, but this is a mere scratch at the surface.  Some of the 100 or so illustrations of Irish labels shown in Mackay are undoubtedly of very scarce types; it would be an interesting exercise to see how many could be found from any particular county - now there's a challenge for you!  Another collection could be of labels showing all the various different rates of postage employed in the years to, say, 1920.  In fact, label 5 shows an apparent anomaly in that when the item was used on 4 June 1920 there was no 1/3d parcel rate - the only way this could have been made up was 1/- postage plus 3d registration fee �.�.that is unless the parcel had been going to Malta at the special under 2lbs rate of 1/3d.  All the internal rates can be found in Mackay but you will need Post Office Guides for the overseas rates.

And what happens on a parcel today �.  in the Republic the use of stamps has become virtually unknown in the last year or so and in Northern Ireland even if stamps get used the postmarks are all too often illegible  �.. plus ça change ..� ce n'est pas la même chose!

Stan Challis

Stan Challis

My super whizzo AA (AAA to you folk in North America) route planner that I 'won' in some exercise or other tells me, after I have spent about as long as it would take to drive, hitting various computer keys and losing myself, that it is 24.9 miles from Magherafelt to Ballymoney and one arrives in a seemingly rather leisurely 52 minutes, no doubt following a haycart.  It was all rather different 150 years ago.

Portglenone RoutingMost collectors of Irish postal history will at some point have come across examples from the Belfast Bank, Ballymoney Branch archive.  I am told, but stand open to correction, that when it was found in the 1970s (I think) there were several sacks of the material, all, certainly that I have seen, in above average to superb condition comprising mail addressed into the bank covering the years from the late 1830s into the 1870s and untouched by human hand for over a century.  By now one or two examples must have reached most collections; the content is boring (banking matters) but many of the postmarks are brilliant. The Ballymoney hoard suffers from comprising items originating almost entirely in north east Ulster but has nevertheless proved a good source for the Belfast spoon cancellations and has provided many examples of the previously scarce P.D C.RAINE (paid at Coleraine) mark.   For my part it has provided examples of many of the numeral cancellations of that part of the island but I was a little surprised to find I had accumulated no less than seven examples of the <319> diamond of Magherafelt (Co Derry) addressed to Ballymoney in the 1845 to 1857 period. 

However the value lies not in the front of each cover but in the huge variety of postmarks on the reverse.  I have summarised these on the spreadsheet showing the many routings used over the years (see below).  I did think to provide a map, but in some cases without more investigation one cannot be absolutely sure of the route and in any case I would hate to remove the reader's pleasure in sorting the routings out for themselves!  Note that it appears that Ballymoney did not cancel incoming mail until c1850.

319DiamondI think the actual route taken may well have depended on the time of day the item was posted in some cases, and whilst I have not stopped to check, a different routing may have applied on Sundays.  Railways also came to the fore in these years. The Ulster railway reached Armagh in 1848, Ballymoney was reached by the Northern Counties line in 1855 and in 1856 Magherafelt was linked to the system by the Belfast and Ballymena Railway.  Determining when each of these lines began to carry mail is beyond the scope of this note, but it is indeed surprising to find routing via Dungannon in 1857 when that town's railway was not opened until 1858.

I have seen covers from Cookstown to Ballymoney carried by a wide variety of routes and if one was lucky enough to have them the same considerations may also apply to other towns to the west of Lough Neagh (Moneymore, Stewartstown, Coleisland and Dungannon perhaps).  It would be nice if a reader would care to pursue the subject further and report at a later date.

The back of the February 1845 cover via Portglenone is attached as is the best example of the <319> diamond I could find - the strikes are generally rather poor.

Magherafelt to Ballymoney Ref Date of Posting Routing Routing Date     1 16 February 1845 Castledawson 16.2          Portglenone 16.2         Ballymena 16.2     2 5 April 1845 Antrim 5.4 ** same routing 3 4 February 1846 Armagh 4.2         Belfast not clear     4 6 March 1846 Antrim 6.3 ** same routing 5 23 December 1851 Dungannon 23.12         Newry 23.12         Belfast 24.12   Mng. handstamp     Ballymoney 24.12     6 24 January 1852 Coleraine 24.1         Ballymoney 25.1     7 28 July 1857 Dungannon 28.7         Ballymoney 29.7    

Stan Challis

     Auction Action

   Éire Philatelic Association
     Joe Foley 

     PRICES REALIZED - AUCTION #126                              (Lots not listed were not sold) 
  1  $3.25  3 3.75 4  17.00 6  3.75 7  17.00 8  11.00 10 160.00 19  80.00 20  80.00 21 1.00 23  14.00 29 2.25 33  13.00 37 1.00 48 0.50 50 1.25 53 1.25 68 6.50 72 7.50 73  11.00 74 5.50 75 1.50 76 1.75 78 2.25 79 2.00 80 2.50 81 3.75 82 3.75 83 3.75 84 6.50 85 6.50 86 7.50 87 7.50 88 7.50 89 6.00 90  6.50 91 7.00 92 7.50 93 2.25 94 2.00 95  11.00 96 2.25 97 2.25 98 1.75 99 2.00 100 5.50 101 2.25 102 1.25 103 1.75 104  2.25 105  2.75 106 2.75 107 2.25 108 27.50 109 16.00 110 3.25 111 5.00 112  8.00 115 3.50 117 12.00 128 21.00 132  4.00 133 11.00 134  21.00 135  6.50 136  3.75 137 4.50 138 1.50 139 0.75 140 0.75 141 1.25 142 1.25 143 1.25 144 1.75 145  1.25 146 18.00 147 19.00 148 9.50 149 6.50 150 6.50 151 1.00 152 1.25 153 1.50 154 1.00 155 1.25 156 1.50 157 1.50 158 0.75 159 2.25 160 2.75 161 1.00 162 0.75 163 12.00 164 13.00 165 13.00 166 12.00 167 7.50 168 6.50 169 3.50 170 0.75 171 0.75 172 0.75 173 12.00 174 16.00 175 19.00 176 11.00 177 4.25 178 8.00 179 7.50 180 16.00 181 1.25 183 1.25 184 1.25 185 9.50 188 3.50 190 1.00 192 1.00 194 1.00 196 21.00 197 27.50 199 15.00 201 12.00 202 2.75 203 4.00 204 3.00 205 6.00 206 4.50 207 4.00 208 5.00 209 9.50 210 4.00 211 7.50 212  6.00 213 6.00 214 6.50 216 6.00 217 2.00 218  4.75 219 2.75 223 2.75 224 3.00 226 3.00 227 3.00 230 5.50 231 2.75 232 3.00 233 3.00 234 3.00 235 2.75 236 2.75 237 2.50 238 2.75 239 2.75 240 2.25 241 2.00 242 3.00 243 2.25 251 21.00 252 21.00 253 80.00 254 80.00 257 55.00 258 60.00 259 8.50 260 2.50 261A 2.00 261B 4.50 262 2.00 263 2.25 264 2.50 265 2.75 267 5.00 268 2.00 269 6.00 270 4.00 271 2.75 273 5.00 274 3.00 276 0.50 279 5.00 280 4.75 281 3.00 282 1.00 283 5.00 284 1.00 285 1.00 286 1.00 287 2.00 288 4.75 289 2.00 294 4.00 298 2.00 299 3.25 300 12.00 306 11.00 309 1.00 311 1.75 312 1.75 319 5.50 320 4.00

     Note: some very low bids were not considered. 

News Release from An Post
Maurice Barrett

Four New GAA Hall of Fame Stamps - 17 September 2001

Four new stamps, just published by An Post, celebrate the first group of new nominees to the Hall of Fame of Cumann Luthchleas Gael at Croke Park.

The new inductees are footballers Dr Padraic Carney of Mayo and Kerry�s Jack O�Shea as well as hurlers Frank Cummins of Kilkenny and the late Nicky Rackard from Wexford.

They join the 30 players chosen in the last two years on the An Post/GAA Teams of the Millennium and will be take their place amongst the Hall of Fame portraits on the level three concourse at Croke Park.

Rackard and O�Shea are amongst the great names of hurling and football who controversially failed to make the original hurling and football selections while Carney and Cummins are part of the folklore of the games.

The new inductees, chosen by a panel of journalists and former Presidents of Cumann Luthchleas Gael, comprise a hurling and football star from the past and the modern era.

All four stamps designed by FOR Design, are in the 30p (38c) denomination. They are based on contemporary portraits of the players, in their county colours, by Cork artist Finbarr O�Connor.

The stamps have been issued in a strip of four and are available at all major post offices. A full sheet of 16 stamps make an ideal companion to the Hurling and Football teams sets. A self-adhesive booklet of ten is also available.

A souvenir presentation collection, containing a full 16 stamp sheet, a copy of the booklet packaged in a full colour A4 folder with text by Micheal Ó Muircheartaigh is also available for £11.95.

New Hall of Fame inductees

Nicky Rackard (Wexford) - A combination of powerful physique, hurling skill and great pride in his native county were the hallmarks of this legendary player from Rathnure. He learned his hurling at St Kieran�s College, Kilkenny and in 1943 was the only Wexfordman on the Leinster side. He captained the Wexford team which made the breakthrough by reaching the 1951 All-Ireland final, though losing to Tipperary.  Despite a further loss, to Cork in the 1954 final, he and his popular Wexford side were rewarded with victory in 1955 and again in 1956.  One of the most inspirational forwards of all time, he joins his brother Bobby in the Hall of Fame.

Frank Cummins (Kilkenny) - As the only player to win seven All-Ireland medals playing in the midfield position, Frank is assured of his place in the annals of the game of hurling. He began his career as a footballer but by 1967 had secured his first hurling medal - as a substitute. In 1969 he was a powerful influence when Kilkenny beat Cork and so began a wonderful career which lasted until 1983. That year his contribution to Kilkenny�s All-Ireland and National League wins was recognised with his being named Hurler of the Year. Frank was a dynamic player whose left-hand below right grip made him an extremely tough player to control.

Padraic Carney (Mayo) - Born in Swinford, Co Mayo in 1928, he was a member of the Mayo minor sides of 1945 and 1946 and made his senior debut as an 18 year old. Mayo took the Connacht title in 1948 and hammered a fancied Kerry team 13 points to 3 points in the All-Ireland semi-final. In 1950, with the stylish Carney powering them at midfield, Mayo were rewarded for years of exciting football by winning the All -Ireland title for the first time in 14 years. They won again in 1951. A doctor, he emigrated to the US in 1954 but returned to help Mayo in the National League, earning the title �The Flying Doctor�.

Jack O�Shea (Kerry) - One of the great players of all time commenced his run of successes with a minor All-Ireland medal in 1975. Within two years he was a regular on the history making Kerry side which went on to win eight All-Ireland titles. An outstanding midfielder, he won National League medals in 1977, 1982 and 1990. He captained the Compromise Rules side to Australia in 1984 and 1986 and also played in 1987 and 1990. From Caherciveen, he played much of his club football in Kildare for St Mary�s Leixlip. Footballer of the Year on four occasions, he retired in 1992 following a star-studded career which lasted 16 years.



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