Royal Reels: Gambling


This Lord Howe Island cover was offered on Ebay auctions, and at the time I considered it to be possibly unique. It was addressed to Messrs. Wilcox, Smith & Co.,/ Stamp Merchants,/ DUNEDIN/ NEW ZEALAND. The stamp was the 1KGV Redhead, with the N.S.W. Type 1D(i) 2-line postmark, dated 15 MY/ 1929/ N.S.W . The sender had typed in the top left-hand corner: From Lord Howe Islands (sic) (Fig. 1)

Hopson & Tobin’s N.S.W. and A.C.T. Post, Receiving, Telegraph & Telephone Offices, Volume 2 , October 1995 lists the Type 1D(i) postmark for the Island as being used from 1902-32. The same authors’ Volume 4 of November 1999, Appendix 1 does not list any corrections or additions to the Island’s postmarks.

The ‘unique’ feature about the postmark was the spacing between ‘HOWE’ and ‘ISLAND’ and I learnt subsequently that the space was due to the ‘S’ of ‘HOWES’ being removed (Fig. 2). It had been described previously by David Wood of Premier Postal Auctions No. 44, 15th December 2002, Lot 267 on piece, as follows: “framed LORD HOWE ISLAND/ SP 23/ 1921/N.S.W (‘S’ removed) on KGV 2d orange.” Once again I learnt it is unwise to say that a postmark is unique, for once it has been described, other examples ‘come out of the woodwork’.

This uncommon postmark will be listed in Part 5 of my submitted article to the A.C.C.C. of N.S.W. Bulletin “N.S.W. & A.C.T. ERD’s/LRD’s Additions” (Jan. 2004 submission) as follows:

“LORD HOWE ( ) ISLAND 1D(i) 1921-29, ‘S’ removed from ‘HOWES’, not previously listed (2 copies).”

There is further interest in this postmark, for within the variety of the Type 1 D(i) postmark, the day precedes the 2-letter month on the cover, whereas the ‘on piece’ shows the month precedes the day. For all Type 1 postmarks [1, 1A, 1B, 1C, 1D(i) & 1D(ii)], the common format is for the 2-letter month to precede the day. Because of wrong insertion of the date plugs, many different formats of this type of date stamp are seen, including partial and complete inversions, and a spectacular year of 2019 on a KGV Head. The late use (1929) of the KGV Redhead as a single stamp is uncommonly found on intact covers, whereas covers with multiple stamps are seen not infrequently in the late 1930’s with KGV 1d Redheads used as ‘make-up’ values. Perhaps to belabour the points of interest, the author is unaware that Lord Howe Islands (as typed on the cover), is correct. What is the chance that this cover was philatelically inspired as it was sent to a Stamp Merchant?

Lord Howe Island was named after Admiral Lord Richard Howe (1726-99) aka ‘Black Dick’, the dubious nickname earned because his sailors said he never smiled unless a battle was to begin. Admiral Lord Nelson called Howe “our great master in tactics and bravery”. The Island was discovered in 1778 by Lt Henry Lidgbird Ball of HMS Supply. The resident population of the Island is c. 300 and tourism is the major component of the Island economy (revision date of internet site, January 2001).

Addendum: David Wood on 23 Jan/04 wrote that he has sold c. 6 copies of this postmark with the gap, and it is only his assumption that the ‘S’ has been removed from ‘HOWES’.

Categories: Islands, Postmarks