Volume 3, Number 8

Irish Philatelic Newsletter

Volume 3, Number 8                                                                                                                                   August, 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
  Major Perf. Shift on Birds 35p
Padraig O Shea

I am delighted to have the opportunity to offer the following superb examples of a modern Irish rarity.  Details as follows.

2001 Birds 35p Phosphor printed by Walsall with dramatic perforation shift, this is probably the finest definitive error to appear to date in Irish stamps and only one sheet of 100 stamps has been located.

Happy Collecting

Padraig O Shea
Raven Stamps, 12C Washington St. West, Cork, Ireland
Tel (021) 4271750   Fax (021)4271779  Website: www.irstamps.com

ÉPA Annual General Meeting
Michael Connolly

Irish Postal History will be the theme of MILCOPEX 2001, the annual stamp exhibition of the Milwaukee Philatelic Society, to be held at the Family Living Center of the Wisconsin State Fair Park, South 84th Street and West Greenfield Avenue, September 14-16, 2001.  Admission is free and the public is invited to attend Wisconsin's largest stamp show, held annually since 1967.

An Irish postal history souvenir envelope will be available at MICOPEX.  Artwork will be in teh tradition of past MILCOPEX envelopes.  Interested collectors may order sets of three envelopes for $2.50 per set.  Orders should be sent to MPS Cachets, P.O. Box 1980, Milwaukee, WI 53201-1980/  Checks should be made out to "Milwaukee Philatelic Society, Inc.".  A stamped, self-addressed envelope should be included with all orders for return of the covers.

The Éire Philatelic Association will hold a business meeting and a general membership meeting during the weekend.

July 28 Meeting of Commodore John Barry chapter of the ÉPA
Michael Connolly

As usual for our summer meeting (we hold four meetings each year), it was held at a member's home, combined with an old-fashioned barbeque.  Dave Brennan hosted the meeting at his home in Bernardsville, New Jesey.

Dave's wife, Mary, was a gracious hostess and provided all the necessities for an enjoyable and successful party.  There were seven members in attendance with an additional six spouses.  Joe Foley was up from Maryland for the meeting and conducted an auction in his usual excellent fashion.  Chapter business was conducted, stamp donations were collected and a grand time was had by all.

A bright sunny day, an abundance of food and plenty of beverages (soft and hard) contributed to a very successful gathering. 

In attendance were Dave  Brennan, Mike Connolly, Joe Foley, Stacy Kelleher, Henry Bright, Al Doremus and Ray Lambrecht.

Postal News
Maurice Barrett

Minister Opens An Post Regional Mails Centre in Portlaoise 
The Minister for Transport, Energy & Communications, Mr. Alan Dukes, T.D., officially opened An Post's new £5 million regional Mails Centre in Portlaoise, Co. Laois, today, (Monday, 24 March 1997). The new mails centre was purpose built for modern mail processing with the assistance of European Commission, through the Economic
Infrastructure Operational Programme of the ERDF. 

Speaking at the launch, the Minster said that the new mails centre will serve as a hub in the national distribution network as well as a sorting and delivery office for the local catchment area.

"The centre is not just an upgrading of technology. This regional mails centre will act as a major hub in a complex network - a network designed to serve the regions. Wherever you live in Ireland, you should expect to receive next day delivery of your post. In order to achieve that, the entire pattern of mails-management is being changed," he said.

Congratulating An Post for coping with competition above and beyond what they might reasonably have expected, the Minister said that he was pleased to see that efforts to respond to competition are very positive and customer orientated.

"Investment in customer service and in one's own workforce is always rewarded with improved performance and increased business. An Post have shown that they clearly understand this concept and are willing to adapt to change and plan for future needs," the Minister said.

The new regional mails centre, situated in Clonminam Industrial Estate, Portlaoise, was built from a green field site. It is the third such Mails Centre to be opened by An Post in the last three years.

Its role is to service the local catchment area including Laois, Offaly, Kildare, Carlow and Kilkenny. It will also serve as a major hub in the national distribution network for the Letter Post service. 

This regional mails centre is second only in size to the Dublin mails centre and follows the Athlone regional Mails Centre which was officially opened in 1994.

An Post Chairman, Mr. Stephen O'Connor, said that this is yet another clear demonstration of An Post's commitment to investing in the Irish postal service and investing in the regions.

"I thank the European Commission, through the Economic Infrastructure Operational Programme of the ERDF, for the £2 million funding assistance. It meant that we were able to build this £5 million centre in the local region and in a much faster time scale. I congratulate all those involved in the design and construction of the centre and I hope that the staff who work here will enjoy the role they play in providing a cost effective, customer orientated postal
service," he said.

When the facility is fully operational, there will be around 100 staff working there and as many trucks collecting and delivering mail from there every night. Almost thirty million letters and eight million parcels will be handled there each year. An Post LetterPost Division handles over two million letters a day.

Minister opens new Mail Centre in Naas 

An Post's new £1.6 million Mails Centre in Naas, Co. Kildare was officially opened by the Minister for Public Enterprise, Mrs. Mary O'Rourke T.D. on Monday, 3 November 1997.

Speaking at the opening the Minister said that the new Mails Centre at Blessington Road, Naas, was purpose built to provide LetterPost and SDS collection and delivery services for the rapidly expanding County Kildare and the West Wicklow areas.

"Quality of service and improved facilities for both private and business customers were An Post's priority when planning and designing this new Mails Centre. County Kildare, in particular, is a rapidly developing area and with the new millennium fast approaching, this centre is a key infrastructual development in this area. I congratulate An Post on their investment and I am very pleased to note that the building is easily accessible for wheelchair users and
that excellent staff facilities have been incorporated in the design."

An Post Chairman, Mr. Stephen O'Connor, said that the new mails centre is yet another important development for An Post's LetterPost and SDS network and another clear demonstration of An Post's commitment to investing in the Irish postal service:

"Over 100,000 items of mail will pass through this mails centre every working day. We set out to build a customised centre in a secure, convenient location, with parking facilities for customers and staff, and ease of access for our road fleet. We are very proud of this new centre. I congratulate all those involved in the design and
construction and I hope that all who work here will enjoy the vital role they play in providing a cost effective, customer-orientated postal service."

48 staff are based at the new Centre. Naas Post Office has recently relocated to temporary premises at Abbey Street, Naas while major renovation work is carried out to the main premises at South Main Street. The office's retail area will be extended to include the area formerly used for sorting and delivery purposes. The post office will
re-open in March 1998. 

New Post Office for Greystones, Co Wicklow

Mr. Joe Jacob T.D., Minister of State at the Department of Public Enterprise today (Monday, 9 March 1998) officially opened the recently relocated and improved Post Office at Church Road, Greystones, Co. Wicklow.

Congratulating An Post on giving Greystones this bright, modern, well located post office, the Minister said that as a rapidly expanding town, Greystones deserved the very best of modern post office facilities.

An Post Chairman, Mr. Stephen O�Connor, said that the post office is now an important part of the weekly lives of 1.5 million customers throughout the country. Greystones was one of 1,000 post offices in which computer-based systems have been installed.

�These post offices serve over 95% of all our customers and these modern facilities have enabled us to go out and generate new business and attract new customers. This system has enabled post office business to grow by 30% over the last five years,� Mr. O�Connor said.

An Post has invested £160,000 in moving the post office.

New Mails Centre Opened in Sligo

An Post�s new Sligo Mails Centre, to serve the expanding postal needs of Sligo and the North West was officially opened today (Monday, 8 March 1999) by the Minister for Public Enterprise, Mrs. Mary O�Rourke.

The new building, on a 3.7 acre site at Finisklin Industrial Estate was occupied last November and incorporates the operations of the LetterPost and SDS divisions of the company. The new development which cost just over £2 million, is comprised of a total of 17,600 square feet, and includes a letters and parcels sorting hall, loading bays and a two storey office and ancillary accommodation.

An Post Chief Executive, Mr. John Hynes, welcomed the Minister, guests and customers to the opening and said that the Sligo Mails Centre was part of the necessary strategic infrastructure which was essential to the long term An Post plans for future operations in the post-monopoly competitive environment.

The investment filled a long-felt need and would enable the company to develop a sharper focus on the needs of customers. "Attention to the requirements of customers is the way of the future for all business and An Post, now facing new competitive challenges, is no different," Mr. Hynes added.

Mrs. O�Rourke praised An Post for its investment which she said "demonstrates the determination of the company to face the new competitive future with confidence. The development is part of a continuing series of investments, following Portlaoise, Athlone and Limerick, which will enhance the quality of next day delivery of all mail between Dublin and the Provinces," she said.

New Postal Delivery Office Opened in Wicklow

A new An Post Delivery Office at Murrough, in Wicklow town was opened officially today (Friday, September 29, 2000) by Mr. Joe Jacob, the Minister of State at the Department of Public Enterprise.

The sorting and delivery functions for the LetterPost Division of the company have been moved from the cramped town-centre location at Main Street, to the 6,000 square foot premises which have been specially modified and equipped.

They are designed to facilitate the most efficient delivery of mail volumes which have grown from 2.8 million items in 1997 to 4.5 million items - an increase of 60 per cent in the three years. Post office services continue at the retail office at Main Street.

The Group Chief Executive of An Post, Mr. John Hynes, said the new delivery office at Wicklow was part of ongoing An Post investment to meet existing customer demands and to provide for continuing growth in the levels of local and national postings.

"Already in Co. Wicklow, we have in recent years, opened a new post office in Greystones and an additional town sub-office in Bray. We have also opened a new letter forwarding office at Boghall Road in the town."

"The coming on stream of this new delivery office at a cost of £300,000 will enable us to ensure that the people of north Wicklow will have a service of the highest possible quality," Mr. Hynes said.

Minister Jacob welcomed the An Post initiative in moving letter sorting operations from the town centre to the Murrough location. "It means a better service for customers and much improved working conditions for the 30 staff who work at the two locations."

"The real benefit of the An Post investments will be to customers, both business and personal, who will be assured of a continuing high quality postal delivery service as we head into the 21st century," Mr. Jacob added.

Minister opens new £3.4 million Waterford Mails Centre 

The new Waterford Mail Centre in the IDA Industrial Estate at Cleaboy Road, Waterford City was officially opened today (18 May 2001) by the Minister for Public Enterprise, Mrs Mary O�Rourke T.D.

With a staff of 82, including 66 delivery persons, Waterford Mails Centre processes almost 100,000 items of mail (letters and parcels) daily for Waterford city and county, as well as for the South Kilkenny area.

Letter Post and SDS staffing levels have increased by almost 10 per cent in Waterford over the past two years due to increased mail volumes and city development.

Speaking at the opening of the £3.4 million, 20,000 sq. ft. custom-built building, the Minister said that the new mail centre would help provide the south-east with the high quality service needed by an expanding business centre.

The Minister commended An Post on its policy of investment in the infrastructure of the postal network. �The postal business is on the threshold of dramatic new developments which will see competition strike An Post in many parts of its operations�.

�It will be essential for the company to be able to defend its market share against newcomers and I applaud the company for is foresight in embarking on an investment programme which will see major network hubs established in Cork, Portlaoise and Athlone by 2004�, the Minister said.

An Post chairman, Mr Stephen O�Connor, said the Waterford Mail Centre was the latest of significant investments which had seen similar installations provided in Galway, Mallow, Sligo, Portlaoise, Athlone and Mullingar.

�Our ongoing national automation programme will see us spend £76 million over the next four years and will see An Post come more into line with the major postal operators in the level of mail handling which is treated automatically�, he said. 

The new centre is fully wheelchair accessible and features a range of customer and staff welfare facilities.

Site Problem Delays Mails Centre Plan 

3 July 2001

Plans by an Post to construct a new mails delivery office in Castlebar are being stalled by difficulties in acquiring a suitable site for the planned 10,000 square foot development.

An extensive trawl of the area has so far failed to provide a secure freehold or long leasehold site, zoned light industrial, within a mile of the town centre.

A site (from 1.5 acres to 2.5 acres in size) is required for the development of a new delivery office now necessary because of growing mails volumes in the area in recent years.

The expansion of the town has meant that existing An Post installations, previously housed at Castlebar Post Office, have become inadequate to deal with the major growth being experienced by all businesses.

�In January last we moved from the original office, which had served the needs of the An Post since 1902, to a new retail office. The old office had major access problems which could only be resolved by moving to a new location.�, a spokesman for An Post said.

�Our move to the new retail office at Link Road has been very successful and while we now have more space at the original office, the problems of access for big vehicles remain. We need to build a new mails delivery office to meet current and projected needs."

�Our Group Property people urgently want to hear from landowners who may have a suitable site, or owners of existing industrial type buildings, which might suit our requirements.�, he added.

Stan Challis 

As some members may know I have spent several years looking at Ireland's numeral cancellations with the intention of producing a booklet on the subject in what I hope is not the too distant future.  There is much work to be done!

The numeral cancellations were introduced in June 1844 and remained in use to cancel substantially the whole of Ireland's 'normal' mail until 1894 to be phased out over the next six years from all but a few offices.  The original allocation is easy; the list was published and can be found in a number of works (ie: Collect British Postmarks by Peachey and others).  From around 1850 the numeral cancellations began to get withdrawn, new numbers were issued and old withdrawn numbers were reallocated.  Further lists are known and published for the years until 1857, 1874, 1887 etc.  That does not mean that nothing happened between 1857 and 1874; someone somewhere clearly had a master list and new 'issues' were made at regularly intervals as demand required.  That master list has sadly been lost as have the Irish proof books with examples of the cancellations themselves (I will not attempt to surmise when or where).

Thus the collection of Irish numeral cancellations requires a fair bit of original research and the task is probably much harder than confronted John Parmenter when he prepared the series of works on the numeral cancellations of England and Wales in the early 1980s for at least he had proof books available to him even if as is to be expected the volume of cancellations that confronted him was much greater.

Amongst the allocations made in 1844 was that of number 92 to the small town of Caledon in County Tyrone, population at this time around 700.   I have the 92 cancellation in the original type of 1844 on both the imperf penny red and the 'stars' issue, earliest date seen 26 Feb 1848  (see Fig 1 - an usually bright blue cancellation) and latest 30 April 1861. With the mark seen on a single perf 16 penny red used c1855 (fig 2) I believe we may assume continuous use until from 1844 until at least 1861.

Caledon was downgraded from being a Head Office at the end of 1851 at a time when it was recorded as handling 400 letters a week. However it is clear that as a Sub Office (Caledon was now under Armagh) it continued to cancel mail for a number of years, thus the 'right' to use a  numeral cancellation was not entirely dependant on status.  It is likely that '92' was withdrawn when control passed from Armagh to Monaghan, but that clearly proved unsatisfactory for the PO Circular of 1 April 1863 noted that Caledon had been transferred back to the control of Armagh.

It was certainly not cancelling mail by July 1864 (figs 3 and 4 show front and back of an item posted from Caledon to Dublin with the stamp cancelled with the '8' diamond of Armagh.  I have a similar cover dated 28 Sept 1865.

However Caledon was once again back cancelling mail by 10 April 1871, but now the office number is 91 (a number not previously allocated).  Fig 5 (Caledon address and backstamp on reverse) shows the 'killer' cancellation by now employed which is known used between 1871 and 22 April 1878.  This is not to be confused with a similar cancellation number 16 used at this time at Athenry; covers should always have a town datestamp on the reverse.

A duplex cancellation was in use by April 1893 and this is know used as late as February 1901.  Surprisingly for such a small town I have noted seven examples (fig 6), but no postmark of the 1880s has yet shown up.

Would all readers care to check their collections and see what gaps they can help fill up and revert to me - note new e-mail address at challis@gtonline.net.  Please also look at backstamps on items cancelled at Armagh.  Thanks.

My thanks to the late Tony Graham for information on the history 

Auction Action 

Éire Philatelic Association 
Joe Foley 

PRICES REALIZED - AUCTION #125                               (Lots not listed were not sold)  1  $2.00 2  3.25 3  4.25 4  2.00 5  3.75 6 4.25 7  4.25 8  4.25 9  1.75 10  4.00 11  27.50 12  12.00 14  13.00 15  4.25 16  1.25 17  2.25 19  25.00 20  19.00 22  90.00 23  13.00 25  6.00 27  7.50 30 8.50 31  1.00 32  1.00 33  1.00 34  1.00 35  0.75 36  1.00 37  0.75 38  0.75 39  1.00 40  5.50 41  5.50 42  7.50 47  7.00 48  8.00 49  19.00 51  60.00 52  190.00 53  475.00 55  7.50 56  4.75 57  8.00 58  11.00 59  6.50  60  4.75 64  2.25 65  2.25 66  2.00 69  7.00 70  2.25 71  2.25 72  2.25 73  2.25 77  2.25 79  2.00 80  2.25 81  2.25 82  2,25 83  1.50 86  4.25 87  8.50 89  5.50 91  3.25 93  6.50 95  1.75 97  0.75 98  1.00 99  16.00 100  2.75 101  2.25 102  2.25 113  2.25 114  2.25 115  2.75 116  2.25 117  2.00 118  11.00 119  3.25 120  2.25 121  2.25 123  2.75 124  2.50 125  3.25 126  3.25 127  5.50 128  9.00 129  6.50 130  8.00 131  7.50 132  11.00 133  3.00 151  1.25 152  1.25 154  21.00 155  21.00 156  21.00 157  21.00 158  21.00 161  1.00 163  4.25 164  4.25 167  3.25 169  1.25 172  1.25 173  4.00 188  5.50 189  5.50 201  14.00 205  5.00 214  2.00 218  3.50 222  5.50 223  8.00 227  170.00 236  9.50             Note: some very low bids were not considered. 
W=withdrawn.  Editorial statement:

In today's cyber-age, its only fitting that we interact in cyberspace. I can't see any reason why the members of our societies should not join in. More and more of our members are now accessing e-mail and the internet.

To subscribe to the Newsletter, send a request by e-mail to webmaster.  To remove yourself from receiving the Newsletter, send your request to the same e-mail address. 

Viewing of the newsletter is available online from the ÉPA web page

Past issues are archived and are available for online retrieval, again from the ÉPA web page.  E-mail requests for back issues are also accepted.

Members are encouraged to contribute articles or bits of news to the newsletter.  I believe that learned treatises belong in our society journals, where they can be shared with all members. I don't feel that a newsletter should ever attempt to be a replacement for our journals.

"Newsy" bits would certainly interest me personally and would seem to be ideal for a newsletter such as this.

Requests for information and help with puzzling items can be submitted and, hopefully, some reader will have an answer.

Brief articles or informational pieces would also be welcome.

If you have e-mail access, you can send articles by e-mail to webmaster.

For those in the U.S.A., libraries providing access and free e-mail sites are proliferating.  Members could access the Web even without home or office access to cyberspace.

Input from members can even come via our beloved snail-mail.

Submitters should understand that any material published in the newsletter would, automatically, become available for publication in our journals. 


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