The Leamington Spa
Annual Southern Africa Philatelic Conference
6 to 8 November 2015
Friday afternoon marks the arrival of an expectant group of keen Philatelists, Alan MacGregor from Simonstown had already arrived the previous day, Otto Peetoom parked at the hotel at 2.30pm and shortly afterwards Gary Brown and his wife (from Australia) checked in. The flood of arriving enthusiasts soon grew, Brian Trotter brought along Lars Jorgensen (Travelling from Belgium). The familiar face of Paul van Zeyl from South Africa appeared, then there came Simon Peetoom, the organizer, Mike Berry, Nick Arrow, Richard Stock, Richard Stroud, Chris Rainey attended for the first time and David Morrison followed on his heels.
As the bar filled during the afternoon, more smiling faces made their presence felt Lyn and Rob Lester, Bob Hill, Tony Howgrave-Graham, Tony Stanford, Brian Hurst, Tony Johnson, Richard Weaver, Mike Smith, Robert Johnson, Chris Board, Alan Harley, Colin Hoffman and Derek Lambert.
During dinner, the wine flowed and the subject was by and large philately and several individuals went to bed later than planned. Saturday morning brought along others such as Alan Drysdall, Andrew Higson, Richard Barnett and his wife, Pat Flanagan (from South Africa) John Gledhill and Graham Manning. Chris and Susan Oliver had other commitments and didn’t make it until Sunday.
Brian Trotter presented an overview of the new journal Southern Africa Philately, its aims and its intended presence of promoting the philately of Southern Africa. This was well received and virtually every individual at the conference took a subscription to the journal. I counted around thirty five people present.
The first display by Derek Lambert covered Northern Rhodesia, expeditions by Paul Graetz, WWI and action in German East Africa.
Next up we were entertained by Lars Jorgensen, who led us through the pitfalls of collecting the Early issues of Transvaal, the various printings, different papers, imperforates, roulettes, perforations and varieties.
After a time, Lars was interrupted whilst contemplating an inverted VR overprint with the announcement that coffee and tea had arrived. Without batting an eyelid Lars stated Surely Transvaal Philately is more important than coffee!
After the break Gary Brown presented RSA Protea Definitives with emphasis on their correct commercial use.
A somewhat belated lunch put the conference back on schedule.
After lunch Paul van Zeyl presented an interesting display on The Rebellion & the Union’s entry into WWI in GSWA, Paul was awarded Gold for this exhibit at the recent Cape Town National.
Richard Stock was up next, starting with Bechuanaland 1961 decimal overprints before moving onto the Boer War on the subject of Armoured Trains and looted mail. On this occasion the coffee break was on schedule.
Rob and Lynn Lester, with their usual enthusiasm presented the final Saturday display Exhibitions in South Africa.
Starting with the 1892 Kimberley exhibition, Rob took us through the decades of a mixture of stamp and other exhibitions and finally ended with the last Union fling at UNIPEX in 1961.
The Saturday evening gathering in the bar had an air of expectation for something special, various attendees wearing medals, made me glad that I had washed on the day, sent me back to my room to don a jacket and tie...If only I had brought my medals...O’ well you can’t win them all. On entering the dining room champagne was being dispensed and those present were far too old for it to be a wedding reception.
First Andrew Higson read the Nomination as a Signatory to the Roll of Distinguished Philatelist of South Africa for Richard Stroud that was met by much cheering and clapping. Next a Citation for the Manfred Weinstein Congress Award presented to Chris Board, two important milestones of achievement in the name of Southern Africa Philately.
Finally the annual contest of ‘Last ones in the Bar’ finished off an enjoyable and tiring day.
Breakfast at 8 am and people checking out
Morning displays are to be followed by the auction after lunch.
Nick Arrow advised that around 55% of the lots sold with realizations around £7000.
Leamington Spa is without doubt the highlight of the Southern Africa Philatelic year and next year promises a new, larger venue, with no stairs to negotiate and a lift to the rooms.
Details of the Sunday displays will follow in due course.
The new journal Southern Africa Philately will include several articles covering the Saturday displays - If you haven't subscribed yet ask the Grandchildren to pay on your behalf - It could be your Christmas Box!