Volume 2, Number 3

Irish Philatelic Newsletter

Volume 2, Number 3                                                                                                                                March, 2000

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

A Call for ÉPA Related Philatelic Items
Michael Connolly

I have prepared a 16 page (1 frame) exhibit chronicling the 50 year history of the Éire Philatelic Association.  It has been shown at Stampa 99 and will be displayed at the ÉPA AGM during Stampshow 2000 in Boxborough, Massachusetts, in May.  I plan to send it around the country to various shows during the rest of the year. 

I would like to add to the exhibit to make it more interesting by adding philatelic items relating to the ÉPA. I have three items: a numbered card issued by the ÉPA at Ameripex 86, a postcard canceled at Nojex 92 for the Commodore John Barry chapter of the ÉPA and a postcard canceled at Interpex 92 (also for the Barry chapter). 

I know that there were ÉPA envelope labels printed in 1951 for members use on correspondence. 

Also, a unique souvenir of Philympia and the joint ÉPA-IPC meeting consisting of an international reply-paid postcard posted from Dublin to England, with the reply half bearing an ÉPA member label tied by an attractive ÉPA/IPC cachet and the Irish 6d airmail stamp tied by the special Philymphia airmail cancellation for Sept.19, 1970, was produced. 

The ÉPA produced cacheted covers for 50th anniversary of first Irish postage stamps that were canceled in Dublin on Feb. 17, 1972.  Slightly less than 500 covers were printed and each member received one. 

I am certain that there were some covers produced for the 25th anniversary celebration at Westpex 75. 

These and other such philatelic memorabilia would be a great addition to the exhibit.  If any of you have such items, I would like to either a) buy them from you, b) request that you donate them to the ÉPA or c) lend them while the exhibit is making its rounds.

Act of Union Issue and Jeanie Johnston stamp 
Brian Warren

The two stamp issue to mark the Act of Union, which was to be released on 9 March, has been canceled. No details as to why were contained in the An Post press release. 
The Jeanie Johnston stamp will be the only stamp to be released on 9 March.
William Shields

Just a quick note to let you know that a Provisional of Ireland is in E-Bay.  Click on stamps, and then put in perfins. Its on the first page, I believe. Irish perfins. Go down the lot and you will see the GS/R. The R is way out of line. The IS/L  (Irish Shell Ltd.), is going to be another one proven after years. It was always listed as just two separate punches on the stamp. This will be only two provisionals for Ireland, and the chances of finding another one is nil. 

We have found more info that will be put into the album, that in reality, there will be very little additions or corrections for a number of years to come. 

Did you check out Norah White’s latest lot auctioned off at Whyte’s? Maybe someone should have a article or a up date on new finds in the ÉPA web-site or the Revealer on a somewhat regular basis. Perfins are catching on and a person can build a good collection once he or she has dupes for trading, etc., at a modest cost. I have just started GB in pressure from others and already I have about 5000. They are not that hard to get. 

Gault said that he is behind on the H and I pages. He and Rosemary Smith are making up an exhibit for the London Stampshow. We all work on them and there will be a lot of modifications. Additions such as dates, types of stamps, PMs, different holes, etc. 

Do be well. 
God Bless, 

IMP Notes 

IMP Update
Brian Warren

Collectors interested in modern slogans and postmarks should note that there are various experiments of late on  the IMP machines at the DMC. I would urge you to keep any IMP slogan items from 11 January 2000 to date. The differences are not always obvious and include the indents on the reverse of the envelope. Maurice Barrett and I together with John Lennon are trying to “sort it all out” and notes will appear at a later date in Die Harfe, the journal of the FAI. 


A new IMP slogan came into use on 4 February 2000 and is worded: REMEMBER / SOMEONE / SPECIAL / VALENTINES DAY 14TH FEB; a heart and Cupid firing an arrow are included in the slogan. Impressions for machines 1 and 2 dated 4 February 2000 have been seen. 

The “Millennium Greetings…..” slogan was last seen used on 3 February 2000. 

IMP 15 – St. Patrick’s Day

On 14 February 2000, the Valentines Day slogan was used in the earlier part of the day. Later in the day, a new slogan, IMP 15, was used. this slogan is worded: SEND / A CARD / THIS / ST PATRICK’S / DAY and it has three shamrocks in the design. It was used on both machines 1 and 2 on this first day. 

                   (Scanned image courtesy of Brian Warren). 

On 15 February 2000, this IMP 15 was seen used on machine 1 at the times of “33” and “34” (which I think are 4:30pm and 5:00pm) but with the time printed as 04:255 pm. I have no idea how this happened nor what it means and later in the day the time was printed correctly. Can anyone explain? 

IMP 15 (P)

Today I saw the St. Patrick’s Day IMP slogan used at the PMC (Portlaoise Mails Centre). Slogan appears the same as IMP 15 (D) from the Dublin Mails Centre. The IMP is worded: 

PortLaoise / PMC / 29.02.00 / 09:00pm / 14201553 

I understand that the IMP was first used at Portlaoise on Friday night last, 25 February 2000 and that only IMP 15(P) slogan has been used. I am also told that the machine was at the Portlaoise centre since before Christmas and was only put into use on Friday last. 

I understand that IMPs may, in the future, be used at Athlone but this has not been confirmed and no date has been given for any such move. 

Re: IMP 15 (P)
Brian Warren

The indent on the back reads      3994/29/42/01553     i.e. MATCHES THE POSTMARK. 

The machine indent number 3994 was seen during Feb. with BAC postmark – if it was in Portlaoise since Christmas, how does this arise? 

Also PRIOR TO THIS (but still circa late Jan/early Feb.) covers were seen from BAC  with time and number references on the printed postmark (with machine numbers 1 and 2) which differed from the indent time and item numbers on the reverse. The indent time was usually a few hours later than the printed time and  the indents were from any of the other OCR/IMP machines, i.e. 3989/90/91/92/93 suggesting the possibility that the OCR element on the 3994/5 machines was not working and they also put  the envelopes through the OCR element of one of the other machines. But of course it cannot be conclusively proved that they went through 3994/5 first. Perhaps this was another fault. Also this could not happen in the case of machine 3994 if it was in Portlaoise. But perhaps this problem only related to machine 3995. 

Of course the use of the numbers 3994 and 5 were perhaps being used on different machines at different locations. 

Most of the above comes from the observations of John Lennon who unfortunately is not on e-mail. 

If anybody has any ideas, please let me and Maurice Barrett know. 

St. Patrick’s Day Cards
Brian Warren

The issue of St. Patrick’s Day cards has been postponed from Friday 18th to Saturday 19th March.

Re: Covers from India

Editor’s Note: An article  entitled “Covers from India” from  Stan Challis appeared in vol.2, no.1, January 2000 issue of the newsletter and follow-up letters in vol.2, no.1, February 2000.  The debate continues. 

Ken Sanford

If I may reply to Stan’s comments.  I tend to agree with Stan, except for one problem.  Why would the postage due marking be applied in India?  It is not logical.  The flight was operating from India to Great Britain and the crash occurred at Brindisi, Italy.  As it was a flying boat crash in water, many of the stamps were washed off the covers.  So the postage due marking must have been applied somewhere between Brindisi and Ireland.  My research on covers from this crash shows that nearly all the mail to countries other than Great Britain, was taken by train to Paris, processed by the Post Office there, and then forwarded to destination.  The mail to Great Britain was held until the next Imperial Airways flight came through, and was then carried on to that country.  I have not seen enough mail to Ireland to determine if such mail was taken with the non GB mail to Paris, or if it was put in with the mail to GB. 

I am not familiar enough with postage due markings to determine where the marking was applied to the cover in question.  However, for the reasons stated above, I do not believe it was applied in India.

Re: Covers from India 

Editor’s Note: I sent Ken’s response to Stan and he replied with the following message. 

Stan Challis

I am now satisfied that the large T in the circle is an Indian marking.  I am taking the liberty of attaching no less than five further scans of items posted underpaid from India to Ireland in the period 1935 to 1938. All have the large T. All have 20 or 20c (gold centimes) written near to the T mark.  This is the Indian post office at work recognising that the Irish rate was 8 and a half annas – I think 7 and a half annas applied the UK. 20 gold centimes equated to both 2 annas and to 2d at this time. There are three different T markings – applied at three different locations in India.  To prove the Indian use beyond all possible doubt can someone find something posted underpaid from India to another destination? 

Now if you look at these covers they are all franked at 7 and a half annas – i.e.: the (I think) UK rate. and all required a selection of stamps to make up this rate there being no 7 and a half annas stamp. 

The cover in my previous note appears to have had only one stamp. The remains of a postmark tying a stamp (which had clearly floated off) proves this to my satisfaction. That single stamp must have been the 8as value. Hence only a half anna short and 1d postage due to pay. 

It seems I have probably answered my own question. 

Nevertheless my thanks to the several people that contacted me with details of the crash – no doubt you will include details in the next newsletter. 

Best wishes 

Stan Challis 

Stan Challis

Amongst some covers I acquired recently was one from Castlecomer, Co. Kilkenny to Cork in December 1912 – a most innocent cover of the sort that can picked up from time to time for little more than the price of a pint of stout. 

The stamp is canceled with a Castlecomer postmark timed at 6.45pm on 10 December. My curiosity was aroused only when I turned to the back to find a less than perfect Cork arrival mark of 3.15am the following morning  attached. That’s quick, quick by today’s standards, but even quicker when one was still dependent on Ireland’s notoriously infrequent train service (infrequent by Western European standards) and mail carts. So how was it done?  You will probably need your atlas at this point! 

A quick check with Johnson’s Atlas and Gazetteer of the Railways of Ireland (still, I think, in print and thoroughly recommended) reveals that the railway to Castlecomer was not opened until 1921 (and closed in 1931,  but that’s another story). Thus at least the first part of the journey had to be done by mail cart. 

First stop is the circulation map. I was lucky enough some years ago to be able to photocopy that of 1907. A check tells us that a mail cart ran the 10 miles from Castlecomer via Ballinakill to Abbeyleix, but all mail from there went on by rail.  For those not familiar with the circulation maps, which are not easy to find, the dark black lines show rail transit and the red lines represent mail carts (orange for foot post etc.). Post Office Archives in London have some of the maps but not a full set. They are without doubt a valuable tool for the Postal Historian. 

Next a check with Bradshaw’s (the nearest I have is 1910 but probably good enough). The last train to Dublin left Kilkenny, 12 miles from Castlecomer, at 7.36pm via Carlow, the last via Abbeyleix having gone at 4.42pm.  The average mail cart trundled at about 8 to 12 mph so that route was clearly no good. In any case no mail cart shows on the circulation map. 

The next possibility was a connection by mail cart to Athy, 17 miles (18 to the station on the far side of town) on what is now a good road, but then?  The 7.36pm from Kilkenny to Dublin called at Athy at 8.47pm – a possible but very tight connection. That would have connected into the Cork Night mail at Kildare.  But, once again no mail cart connection is shown. 

Now, bless Post Office Archives!  They have amongst their treasures a copy of the 1912 circulation map. What do we find?  The Castlecomer to Abbeyleix mail cart has been extended to Maryborough (now Portlaoise). Here is our answer. The mail cart would have left Castlecomer at, say, 7pm, reached Abbeyleix soon after 8pm (sadly, I do not have a cover from Abbeyleix to prove this!) and then got to Maryborough some time after 9pm.  It could have connected into the 9.13pm to Dublin but more likely Dublin bound mail would have waited until the Up Night Mail called at 2.14am – still plenty of time to sort and deliver in Dublin the following morning. 

However our cover is going to Cork. The Cork Night Mail left Dublin Kingsbridge at 8.35pm (whilst the mail cart was still trundling across Queen’s County) and after several intermediate stops reached Maryborough at 10.50pm. This schedule gave plenty of time for our cover to be put on board and it was no doubt walk sorted en route to Cork, reached at 2.50am – hence the 3.15am arrival mail.  We know the train was on time that night! 

It is worth comparing this achievement to what would have happened before the mail cart was extended to Maryborough. In 1910, the last train possible left Abbeyleix at 5.22pm which would have meant the mail cart leaving Castlecomer at about 4pm, thus an improvement of perhaps three hours had been achieved, a great credit to the Post Office as volumes cannot have been large.  An amusing exercise might be to try and find the minute at Post Office Archives which gave the justification for extending the mail cart. Some such minutes give details of the volume of letters accelerated. 

A final irony of this routing comes down to the present day. Kilkenny Head Post Office has responsibility for nearly all that County (except an area north of Waterford and also an area around Urlingford) and south Co. Carlow, but not the town of Castlecomer, which certainly into the early 1990’s, was controlled by Portlaoise.

Editorial statement:

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