Philatelic Society of Queensland

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Philatelic Society of Queensland


The Philatelic Society of Queensland has a long and proud history of organising exhibitions, mostly in its own right, but sometimes in collaboration with other stamp clubs or associations.  The Society now organises exhibitions each year at its annual open day, for both the Sheard Award and a competition judged by popular vote.  You can read about the S. H. Sheard Memorial Competition Medal at the bottom of this page.

Members of the Philatelic Society of Queensland enthusiastically participate in the annual State Exhibition organised under the auspices of the Queensland Philatelic Council.

So many exhibitions have been organised in the one hundred years plus since the Society’s inception, that it is not possible to write about them all, nor is it possible to choose some as being more significant than others.  For that reason, an account of the first two exhibitions is given, being the Society’s first foray into running exhibitions. 

The 1936 Exhibition

The Queensland Philatelic Society (as it was called at the time) held its first exhibition in September,1936.  Originally, it was to be called a “Display”, but the committee decided that the emphasis should be on education rather than competition, so it became an exhibition.  To make it accessible to all, no entrance fee was charged. 

Twenty-five members provided displays, totalling 411 sheets of stamps and covers, as well as airmail stamps and covers.  Various foreign countries, as well as Great Britain and its Dependencies were represented in the displays.  All were shown in frames, on tables,  under glass.

A post office was set up within the exhibition which provided special cancellations as well as a display of dies, and another display showing how stamps were printed.  Information sheets were available for juniors to explain how to correctly collect and mount stamps.   Queensland Stamp Mart and the Standard Stamp Company, Brisbane’s only stamp dealers at the time, both attended.

1936 exhibition first day cover 2 small

It is believed 5,000 covers were printed for the exhibition.  The special die for cancellations was hexagonal and slightly larger than usual.  It was destroyed after the exhibition closed.  One thousand special Registered labels were printed, and 808 Registered covers serviced.  (Numbers 1 and 808 are still held in the Society’s archives.)  Just under 4,000 ordinary letters were posted from the exhibition post office, with mail being dispatched to the G.P.O at 3.30pm, 6pm and 9pm on each day of the exhibition. 

1936 exhibition first day cover small

This cover was signed by the Society’s President and Secretary, and interestingly is addressed to Arch Stoney, whose one hundredth birthday and sixty-four years of membership of the Society were celebrated in 1994.

This exhibition was extremely successful in promoting philately and was also quite successful financially.

The 1938 Exhibition

1938 adverts cropped

The Queensland Philatelic Society held another exhibition in 1938.  Once again, it was decided that it should be non-competitive, so entry was free.

1938 exhibition first day cover 1 small

A post office was installed within the exhibition and special cancel and registration label provided.  Blocks of stickers and a cover were designed for the occasion.  A cover with Registration label No. 1 was forwarded to the Royal Collection.

One thousand five hundred sheets of stickers were produced, 500 each in brown, blue and red.  Sheets in a darker blue were also produced, but these had no gum or selvedge, so may have been proofs.

1938 exhibition stickers 2

Each sheet had 6 labels on it.  The label itself featured a black and white photo of a koala, surrounded by a border containing the words “QUEENSLAND PHILATELIC SOCIETY” and “BRISBANE 28th – 30th SEPT 1938”.  Some sheets were received imperforate, and it was decided that these would be signed by the President and Secretary of the Society.  Single labels were sold for ½d, with a full sheet costing 3d. 

Displays were supplied by members and “Southern friends”, presumably stamp collectors in New South Wales and Victoria.  It is unclear if these “friends” were also members of the Society.  To safeguard the displays, several members slept in the building each night.  At the time of the exhibition, Brisbane had at least four stamp dealers, but there is no evidence that they participated in a professional capacity.

The 1938 exhibition was also a financial success with the records showing takings of almost double that of the 1936 exhibition.

After the exhibition, there were 150 sheets of stickers and 70 imperforate sheets signed by the President left unsold.  The signed sheets were offered at 6d each.  By 1976, there were still some sheets remaining, but they had suffered adhesion and had to be soaked to separate them.  At a Society auction at around that time, sheets were fetching $1 each.  The last complete set of stickers, featuring all types and all colours, was sold in 1978.

The S. H. Sheard Memorial Competition Medal

The Society’s first President, Saville Hodge Sheard, passed away 28 March 1949.  It is not exactly clear when or how a decision was made to design and strike a medal and introduce the competition, but the first was won by a B. Hinton in July 1953, with his exhibit of ‘Anniversary Stamps’.  He was presented with his medal by the President at the Society’s first Christmas Reunion held in December.  A prestigious jeweller in the Brisbane Arcade had been commissioned to create the original die.  His account for £22.10.00, itemises: Die £20, Medal £2.10.  Six more medals were to be ordered. 

The design chosen was a replica of the Penny Black, with bottom corner letters G B, seen as the first adhesive postage stamp and the beginning of ‘Stamp Collecting’.

The competition is held in July each year.  Originally judging required ten sheets of stamps from a collection.  A minimum of six entries, submitted by different members, was needed.  The Rules appear to have had several changes over the years, as some winners were chosen by Popular Choice too.  Later fifteen sheets were required, with a minimum of three entries from different members, to be judged using the State Exhibition criteria.

Due to the rising cost of silver, medals from 1978 were replaced by those of silver-plated metal.  In 2006, it was suggested that future medals be of solid silver.  An option at $250 each was rejected.  The original die fractured in 2008 with a cost of $600 to repair.

By 2013, the last medal available had been awarded.  The search for a new die maker began for striking a similar medal in solid silver, changing the text on the obverse from ‘Queensland Philatelic Society’ to ‘Philatelic Society of Queensland’.  Eventually Geneng Pty Ltd of Beenleigh was chosen, and a satisfactory die produced.  A batch of twenty medals was ordered at an overall cost of $240 each.  As the Society now owns the original die, future costs will be minimised.

Paul Xavier, one of the judges of PSQ’s 2022 Sheard competition, giving feedback to PSQ exhibitors.