We recently caught up with PTS Member Tony Shields from Shields Stamp and Coins. He told us about a trip he went on to the South Pole. Here is his story
'A week ago I was a speaker on the first ever plane to fly from another continent to the South Geographical Pole in Antarctica non-stop. It was a Qantas Dreamliner with about 250 passengers and crew and a 16 hour flight from Tullamarine to Victoria Land in the Antarctic, Mount Erebus which is one of only two active Antarctic volcanoes, and then a route due South following Captain Scott's historic trip in 1911 on which he died. We circled the South Pole for about 30 minutes looking at the icy Plateau which extends to the horizon in all directions and the only feature we could see was the Scott-Amundsen Antarctic Base. The pole is 2000 feet higher than Mount Kosciuszko, and it was bathed in sunlight. Everything from there is North, and east and west do not exist which makes navigation very interesting. They also have one night of darkness for 6 months and one day of sunlight for 6 months per year so a very different reality in a 24-hour period from what we are used to.
It was a sensational trip and I had a number of friends on it. We also flew over the Dry Valleys which are the driest place on Earth, with no rainfall or snow for over 2 million years!
On December 28th I am going again to the Antarctic but this time by ship via the Falkland Islands and South Georgia. The trip is a little over a month and I have done it before but this one has a number of descendants of the original famous explorers on board and is commemorating the death Centenary of Ernest Shackleton who was the most famous of them.
It's wonderful to hear what our philatelic traders get up to outside of stamp collecting.
PTS Member Empire Philatelists found more than they expected in a recent set of auction lots that they had purchased. On review it was found that a very rare unique item was found. In fact hidden between the masses of stamps was in fact a Hong Kong stamp which had a "double surcharge”. The team sent off for a certificate and the item came back as genuine. It is the Hong Kong 1891 20c on 30c Grey-Green SG48b with a catalogue value of £25,000
Why is it rare?
During the reign of Queen Victoria, Hong Kong surcharged her stamps because postage rates changed so frequently that existing denominations were unable to cover demand. On an ad hoc basis the Hong Kong government sent stamps, with outdated denominations, to a local company to be overprinted as surcharged issues, in order to plug the gap, before stamps with new denominations arrived from Britain
At that time Hong Kong had a shortfall of 20c stamps so they overprinted the 30c stamp to make it a 20c stamp. However, this particular stamp was overprinted twice in error.
It is known that some, 20c on 30c, stamps were double overprinted in error (as evidence by Stanley Gibbons listing it in their catalogue) but very few, if any, other than this one, has survived.
The Empire Philatelists team have researched and found no evidence of this particular error ever being sold, or available. It is possible that there are others out there, maybe one exists in the Kings Collection, but currently this stamp is unique and the only one available on the International stamp market.
Stuart from Empire Philatelists comments
“These moments are so exciting. First finding a stamp worth tens of thousands of pounds in a lot which I thought was all worth a couple of hundred pounds was a thrill. But to find something so rare and then to have it confirmed as genuine definitely doesn’t happen every day!”
You can see the stamp online here:
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