Memphis Stamp Collectors Society
These are a few of examples of Lundy first day covers, and a puffin stamp, from the collection of David Saks.
Engraved stamps are beautiful examples of art, on stamps. Here, some Belgian Congo, American Bank Note examples, by the Belgian artist Emile Vloors, 1871-1952. Vloors was an accomplished watercolorist and sculptor. Above designs are part of series from 1923 -1927.
The stamps of Lundy are as extraordinary as it's history. Lundy stamps are known as "cinderellas."
A cinderella stamp, in philately, is "virtually anything resembling a postage stamp, but not issued for postal purposes by a government postal administration.
In 1925, a wealthy Englishman by the name of Martin Harman purchased a small 3 mile-long island in the Bristol Channel off the coast of Devon. One fine day, Mr.Harman mused, " Since I own this island, why shouldn't I be the king ?" The self-proclaimed king began coining money and issuing stamps for Lundy's inhabitants. The revenue from the stamps was used for fuel and other necessities for the island.
All appeared initially fine, but, in 1931, the British government discovered Mr.Harman's puffin coins and stamps. The self-proclaing King Harman was ordered to appear in court and charged with 'unlawfully coining money".
The presiding judge cast a grim stare at Mr.Harman and asked him, "Who did you say is sovereign of Lundy ?" Mr.Harman said, boldly, "I am, and as sovereign I have the right to issue stamps and coin my puffins and half puffins."
The court disagreed with Mr.Harman whereupon Mr.Harman suddenly realized that he was the ex-king and was subsequently fined 5 pounds, equal to about ten dollars in American money.
But, the good news, is that Lundy is protected by the British Empire and that the former king, Mr.Harman, was permitted to continue printing his stamps which are highly prized by the stamp collectors of the world this very day.
The stamps bore the picture of the Puffin, a comical, potbellied bird which inhabits the island in great numbers and demonstrates a rather arrogant superiority to the other denizens of Lundy.
Long before phones and computers, these glorious examples of art and craftsmanship, seemingly, mere little blobs of ink on paper, have been part of our human history spanning the globe. They have helped us "reach out and touch someone" for more than 165 years.
As members of MSCS, here are just a just few types of postal history we collect: US. International. Perfins. Fancy Cancels. Covers and First Day Issue (entire envelope with stamp). Topicals, such as Flags, Animals, Trains or Flowers. Coils. Tax Stamps. AirMail. Revenue. BOB (Back of Book). Postcards. Postal Stationary. Cut Corners.
They provide a constant stimulus for the inquisitive mind and lover of history. Do you collect? How, and what, do you collect? Come Join Us! Someone in the club will know something about about your interest.
The challenge, is engaging the younger generations, and thus, we congratulate a fellow club member for her innovation. (Please see the School Librarian page and MSCS Grant Pages.)