Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Rhodesias month in British periodicals

Partial translation of a SébPhilately article in French from yesterday.

By chance both Rhodesias are present in November 2015 London Philatelist and December Stamp Magazine, partly due the fiftieth anniversary of the South Rhodesia's Unilateral Declaration of Independence on November 11th, 1965

Britain vs. a rebel republic (again!?)
In Stamp Magazine Alaistair Gunn provides a very complete and catching philatelic and postal history article about the fourteen year of rebellious independence of the White Southern Rhodesian government from 1965 to 1979.
A personal item of the independence stamp issued one month after, printed by Mardon in Salisbury. Gunn warns that it was forget quite a lot for such a low value stamp. Don't know if mine is true.
The story of this South African colony is dramatic: following the model of Apartheid South Africa, the White in power in South Rhodesia refused to establish a democracy that would have let the political power to the Black majority of the population after independence. This solution permitted the independence and renaming of Zambia and Malawi in 1963.

On November 11th, 1965, the White governement declared the independence of Rhodesia, shortly before proclaming a republic... Then, after a civil war, it accepted to retrieve colonial statute for three months in 1979, the time to conclude an agreement that created Zimbabwe.

This political variations can be followed on covers franked with colonial stamps of South Rhodesia still valid and the ones of Rhodesia-Just-Rhodesia. But, for mails sent to the United Kingdom, the Post Office was uncompromising toward the rebellious country:
- if Dorothy Wilding's royal effigy and currency in local pound/schilling/penny = ok ;
- but any mention of independence, lack of royal effigy or the new dollar/cent decimal currency = stamps refused = tax to be paid by recipient.

This let to a collection of covers and cancelled stamps in unusual situations: postage due while officially issued stamps affixed, stamps bearing two currencies in 1967-1968, and, when the conclusion approached next to May 31st 1979, postmen removed the name of the country from the exterior crown of cancellation stamp.

From the Rhodesian/British postal war to catalogues of postal wars
This article echoed with Jan Heijs, author with Burhop of a Catalogue of postal war 1870-2008, who wrote a follow-up to two previous article on postal wars, published in November 2015 issue of The London Philatelist.

Postal wars happened when a post of a country refused to carry mail or accept the stamps value from a foreign country, because of the topic of the said stamps. French stamps honoring soldiers in operation during the Independence Wars in North Africa or the anniversary of diplomatic relations with Israel had forced the French post to received back mail from some countries, repack them in a service cover and resend them again.

Heijs recalls the sensitivity of the British Post Office in front of some Rhodesian stamps, and illustrated Communist Poland problem with West German stamps on former German places, in Poland after 1945, and of memory of the arrival of East Prussian Germans at the end of World War Two.

He proposed some bibliographical references with his own catalogue, especially Elsner Wolfgang's The 'Classical' Postal Wars - before 1848 written in English and German.

Aerophilately around the Rhodesias
In the same issue, Neil Donen and Keith Harrop submit readers with a police investigation through airmail archives: how many covers flew on the inaugural flight between London and Lusaka, North Rhodesia, in 1935? And how many could have ended on the market? How many official mail stuck in the public archives?

The crime scene are auction sales and specialised catalogues who promised: only fifteen exist! Rare = expensive = good resale value! [noise of casino's machines]

But an airmail expert wrote an estimate of ten to twenty available to the market in two letters separated by threee decades...

After eight pages of investigation and historic methodology, the authors conclude on an estimate while flying all around the neighbouring colonies and giving a lecture to buyers: know well the domain of the thing you buy, to be sure of the rarity and pricing.

No comments: