"From my Collection"
Some interesting examples from our collections



Post card collecting and philately often go hand in hand, not least when forming part of a postal history collection.


The post card shown here is from the St. Albans, Harpenden & District Philatelic Society Local History Collectiion.

It is thought that the view dates from around 1900 and it shows the Hunt gathering on Redbourn Common. Redbourn is a village almost 3½ miles east of Harpenden; at the time the post card was produced the two were linked by the Harpenden - Hemel Hempstead - Heath Park Halt branch line of the Midland Railway (The Nickey Line").


The message on the front of the card is interesting, as it triggered the postage due markings on the reverse. The card is destined for Canada but unfortunately the sender has only affixed a ½d. King Edward VII stamp, whereas the Foreign & Colonial rate for a post card (i.e. with a message) was then 1d.

It will be seen that the card has been marked with a "5". This was applied in Britain since under the rules of the Universal Postal Union, the originating country had to calcute the "deficiency" (the amount of the underpayment) which in this case was ½d. This amount was then converted into 5 centimes – the currency of the Latin Monetary Union used by the Universal Postal Union - hence the marking.


The destination country (Canada) then doubled this figure and converted the resultant amount into its own currency, which in this case gave a charge of 2 (Canadian) cents to be collected the recipient, Mr. Doubleday.

Pcs Redbourn Hunt only.jpg
Pcs Redbn Hunt rev.jpg

The REDBOURN postmark is difficult to read but appears to be JANUARY 15 1907.


Interestingly, in October 1907, the procedure for handilng underpaid foreign mail was changed. From that date the doubling of the deficiency calculation was undertaken by the orginating country and so the card would have been marked 10 (centimes) rather than 5.The Canadian Post Office would simply convert this into local currency - and so Mr Doubleday would still have had to pay 2 cents!

However had the sender simply sent the card without a message, and with just the sender's name and up to five words of conventional greeting, the ½d stamp would have sufficed as the card would have qualified for the overseas Printed Matter Rate that remained ½d. until 1949.