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 Graphics Favourite

How does one choose a graphic favourite with so much choice available? Well, for me it was quite easy, for it has to be a card issued by the British security printer Harrison and Sons Limited to mark their attendance at Stampex. The show in question opened on the 16th March 1957 and I was 11 months old to the day and quite oblivious of the joy that stamp collecting was to offer me from the age of nine to date.

The uniface card was given away to visitors and depicted a photogravure sample stamp of a sailing ship on a scarlet background with simulated perforations and with an explanatory text appearing in black above and below the stamp image.  Some copies were given a cachet by staff at the stand; while others were used by visitors as postcards by the addition of a postage stamp and address to the reverse of the card. They currently sell for around GBP20 per copy by dealers who recognise their worth, or for a pound or two by the unaware. I have rarely come across examples in over a quarter of a century of searching dealers stocks for philatelic material.

The ship design was extensively used in the 1950s for a variety of photogravure trials at Harrison’s.  For example, perforated and gummed labels exist mounted on separate numbered cards, one colour per card, housed within a red gold-tooled leather wallet that is in the shape of a small pocket-sized book. These wallets were taken around by Harrison salesmen to potential customers as examples of their work and highlighted the colours achievable by single colour photogravure printing, so popular at that time. The labels are quite rare, especially when complete and undamaged, as my example is. Small sheetlets of six labels (three rows of two) of the design also exist in green, although at least 25 colours are believed to exist in this format.

I made an unconscious decision at Stampex 1970 to start a new collecting interest when I purchased my first Harrison ship card for half-a-crown (12.5 post-1971 pence). At subsequent shows I started purchasing anything that was cheap (I was still at school with limited funds available) that related to the stamp production theme. I now have a huge collection of sample, presentation, testing and training materials from stamp printers and post offices from around the world – all thanks to the humble card associated with this brief article.

(First Published in Philateli-Graphics, 1990s) 420 words

  Page Version: 1.1, 2012.  All material Copyright  © 2000-Date Glenn H Morgan FRPSL.