New Members Night

Three relatively new members stood up and spoke about their collecting interests at our second April meeting.

First up was Geoff Armiger, who spoke about Zanzibar, and had a very interesting display to complement his talk. Geoff began by noting that the first stamps used in Zanzibar came from Bombay, and Zanzibar was part of the Bombay Circle (a Postal Circle is something like a postal district). Early markings show a variety of forms, and some have a date that includes the year, some have a date that excludes the year. There were also squared circle cancellations, with either four or three corner lines.

Thomas Remington became Postmaster General in Zanzibar in the mid 1890s, and one of his tasks was to constantly jug- gle his short supply of stamps to meet the local demand. Indian stamps in stock were overprinted Zanzibar, at the offices of the Zanzibar Gazette. Fonts and type wore out, certain letters were in short supply, local employees often got letters of the alphabet mixed up, and the overall result was a great variety of typographical errors. Examples include the use of a backwards q for a p, a lower case z for an upper case Z, and a d used instead of a b, giving us Zanzidar! Zanzidar appeared on only the first of six print­ings. Remington never left detailed notes about what he did in Zanzibar, and the best piecing together of what happened was done by the noted philatelist Thomas Hall, who published his work in 1906 (before becoming editor of the London Philatelist).

Early Zanzibar stamps were printed by Thomas de la Rue, and commonly featured a portrait of the Sultan. Unfortunately, by the time the first stamps to feature a portrait arrived in Zanzibar, the local Sultan had died. Later issues featured the Sultan's monogram, rather than a portrait.

Second up was Bethel Clark, who spoke about a variety of collecting and artistic hobbies. Bethel displayed her first stamp album, which on 17 October 1969 had 67 stamps in it! She now concentrates on expanding her New Zealand collection. Bethel also makes cards - birthday and Christmas cards, and the like. She does this with a group ofladies each Monday evening. Yet another hobby is family history. Bethel has concentrated on her mother's side of the family, and has French ancestry which came to Akaroa in 1840. Bethel displayed a large (687 pages) volume about the Libeau family, and waved a French tricolour to empha­sise her French background. [A website for the Libeau family notes that in March 1840 the Comte de Paris sailed from Rochefort, France, heading for Banks Peninsula in New Zealand. The passengers included Joseph Libeau and his wife Magdeleine as well as two children, with a third born on the journey. In Akaroa another six children were born to Joseph and Magdeleine, one child died only days after birth. Some of the original buildings that were built by Joseph Libeau still stand and can be found in Rue Grehan, Akaroa. A number of the grave sites of the family who landed can also be found.]

Third up was Ian Dobson, who collects mint New Zealand stamps. Ian has been collecting for about two years now, and emphasised the value of belonging to a club and listening to what other people had to say about stamps. Ian also emphasised the value of a good club library (and is on the look-out for a 3/- Admiral, if anyone has a spare copy!).

This was an entertaining evening, made more so by the completely different approaches each speaker took to their presentations.