Lanarkshire Philatelic Society


"Mr P. Westwood"


"Burns, Slania & Aspects of Russia"


"Burns, Slania and Aspects of Russia" – this was the intriguing title that greeted members of the Lanarkshire Philatelic Society at their meeting on Friday, 13th November! Mr Peter Westwood, who had travelled up from Castle Douglas gave a varied and most interesting display.

He is Honorary President of the Robert Burns’ World Federation and the first part of his display was about the development of the stamps and covers which were issued earlier this year to mark the 250th Anniversary of the birth of Robert Burns. He then went back in Burns’ history and showed postmarks used on letters written and sent by Burns – pre stamps! On 25th August, 1956, Russia issued a stamp in honour of Robert Burns – the first country in the world to do so. In 1959, Romania commemorated him with a stamp in their "Cultural Anniversary Series". There was also a commemorative cover issued to mark the Centenary of the Burns’ Federation – this honouring Samuel Marshak, the Russian translator of the works of Burns. Then to 2009 and a display of the many postmark designs used to mark the 250th Anniversary. This was also commemorated by special covers from Italy, Ireland, Russia, Australia, USA and also the city of Burns in Oregon.

This first round ended with a Banknote issued in 1966 by the Clydesdale Bank with a portrait of Burns and also quoting the last verse of his poem, "Tam O’ Shanter". On the reverse was a picture of a field mouse. A proof of the new £10 note issued by the same bank to coincide with "Homecoming Scotland" was also displayed. This, too, has a portrait of Burns and a small picture of Tam O’ Shanter on his mare being pursued by Maggie the witch.

The second round was opened with a display of methods of design of stamps. Designs were hand engraved on a steel plate then printed. The Pole, Czeslaw Slania (22/10/1921-17/03/2005) was the foremost engraver of stamps and banknotes in the world. He engraved over 1000 stamps and many of these were displayed. Enlargements of the stamps enabled members to appreciate the wonderful skill required to engrave these intricate designs.

Next, a move back in history to Johannes Gutenberg who invented movable type printing. There were many stamps and postcards featuring the man and his printing press – and various examples of his work, including a copy of a page from the Bible which he printed.

Finally a display of stamps from the City of Pskov Collectors’ Club – a Club of those interested in Russian stamps. On show were issues with a portrait of Czar Nicholas II – from before the Revolution. Many stamps of Stalin. A cover showing the well known photo of Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin. Covers and stamps showing Yuri Gagarin, the first man in Space. 

The Vote of Thanks was given by David Haig.

Our next meeting in St Andrews Parish Church Hall is on Friday, 27th November, 2009 at 7:30pm when Mr A. McCulloch will display New Zealand. 

Anyone with an interest in stamps, postal history, postcards etc is very welcome to attend.