Lanarkshire Philatelic Society
"EUROPEAN POSTAL HISTORY, 1840 TO 1871"
Mr. Gavin Fryer FRPSL
Members were given the privilege of viewing some of the eminent collection of Gavin Fryer, Fellow, & Immediate Past President, of the Royal Philatelic Society London; the oldest philatelic society in the world.
Gavin's collection of rare European covers, told the story of how the comparison of early postal rates from European countries. He explained how, along with another Fellow, John Whiteside, they had made their comparisons. Taking "One Penny" as the base they calculated that this was equal to 1 grain of pure silver. They were then able to compare the relative worth of currencies, i.e. in Russia the basic postal rate was 10 kopeks which equalled 3½ pence, whilst in France the basic rate equalled 1.9 pence.
Gavin showed "first issue" covers from GB to Belgium, a Belgian cover with a rare "Aurolee" (circular) cancellation mark, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Austria, Germany, France and Paris City rates, Denmark, Norway, Sweden-the Stockholm City Post, Finland, Greece, Turkey used in Bulgaria (and vice versa), Italian & Papal States, and Switzerland-local and Cantonal rates.
With "inclusive", or through postal charges not being agreed, and implemented, until 1871 many of Gavin's covers showed how foreign mails were "taxed" or rated for payment at each border crossing. It must have been an absolute nightmare being a postal official having to check, work out currency conversion rates and then stamp the individual mail at the appropriate rates. Furthermore, many countries had mail routes used only in summer, or winter, and these routes would carry differing charges.
Alan Wishart accorded the Vote of Thanks to Gavin for a most interesting display.