Items of Interest

Items of Interest

Welcome to this page! These are items that have been added to my collection which have a story of their own.

Maori Council Frank

I recently purchased a collection of stamps, postcards and this Maori Council Frank from a British Auction House.

The Maori Councils were originally set up in 1902 by the Government to control the “Health, Welfare and Moral well-being of Maori”. They operated at regional level, laying down rules of social control through bylaws which were valid in their own areas. They were partly funded by a “dog tax” imposed by the Government which was not universally acceptable. There were eventually 25 Maori Councils.

The Chairmen of the Maori Councils had “Free Frank” privileges, and could post letters and postcards without charge on official Maori Council business. The Maori Council Frank for their area was applied and signed by the Chairman. This is signed by Haparota Pore Pukekohatu.

Most surviving Maori Council Franks are cut-outs from covers and postcards.

Interestingly this item was featured in “The New Zealand Bulletin”, Campbell Paterson’s Newsletter, Volume XXIII, Number 12, July 1986. They state that “these franks, although actually of 20th century origin, must be among the scarcest of all N. Z. postal markings. No doubt because of their scarcity, reference information is very sketchy indeed”.

See Maoritanga, Frame 3, pages 3, 4  and 5 for other examples, and Council franks on cover and a postcard.

First Recorded Type 6 Officially Sealed Label on Cover

This cover was recently purchased on the internet. It is the first that I have seen on a cover, although there is the possibility of another reported by Andrew Dove.

The cover is registered from Mapua (Tasman Bay) to Dunedin. Postage and registration is paid with 4 x 1d Dominion stamps cancelled with  2 x “MAPUA 23 MR 26” G-class datestamps and one for the registration label. Label applied to bottom of cover, endorsed “torn” and initialed by two officers. The flap of the cover is also sealed with five selvedge pieces from a stamp sheet, one with part sheet number N58…

The Type 6 Officially Sealed label has Mail 76 (old No. P.O. 134) outside the frame of the label, bottom left.

The four other recorded Type 6 labels are undated. The challenge is to find more of these Type 6 labels on cover. While it is conjectured that these followed the type 5 labels, they are likely to be dated 1924. Because Mapua is a small Post Office, old supplies of labels were probably used.

Reference: “Post Office “Found Open – Officially Sealed Labels Part 3: 1903 – 1920 Types 4, 5 and 6 Labels” Alan Craig, Lindsay Chitty; The New Zealand Stamp Collector Vol. 97 Number 4, Dec. 2017.

Cover to meet the “Gripsholm”

When the USA entered WWII after the bombing of Pearl Harbour, WWII, there was a need to repatriate diplomats, civilians caught in the Far East at the wrong time, and sick and wounded prisoners of war. The USA sent a message 8th December 1941 to the US Charge d’Affaires in Berne, Switzerland to start negotiations through their Tokyo Embassy. The result of this was that the M. V. Gripsholm (a vessel from neutral Sweden) was chartered by the USA for transfers of prisoners, mail and supplies. It was agreed that the first exchange would be at the neutral port of Lorenço Marques, Portuguese Mozambique.

The Japanese had two exchange vessels. The M. V. Asama Maru left Yokohama with 416 repatriates, picking others up at Hong Kong and Saigon. The Conte Verde left Shanghai with 640 repatriates and picked others up at Singapore.

This cover was purchased in a lot of three, on E-bay. With the COVID-19 lock-down and disruption of international postage, the item was sent March 18th from the USA, with a transit time of 9 weeks.

This cover is addressed to Wilhelmina Kuyf who was a passenger with the first Diplomatic Exchange voyage leaving Lourenco Marques July 28th 1942 arriving New York August 25 1942. The passenger manifest lists her as United States Citizen. Her passport was issued Tientsin, China March 21 1941, recorded as a female aged 41.

Her address was recorded as 626 W. Allegheny Ave Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, the return address given on the cover.

The cover has a 3c USA adhesive with “PHILADELPHIA PA AUG 16 1942” slogan cancellation; Cover opened by Customs and resealed with brown tape; Purple boxed cachet “PORT of “NY” AUG 19 1942 Examined and passed “152” U.S. Customs Officer”.

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