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A philatelic trip to my parents

By Vincent Green




A few years ago I moved to be nearer my parents. So far so good, despite the odd setback they’ve remained in rude health. My mother enjoys painting and my father still manages to see many of his friends, most of whom, like him, spent some time in the forces (he actually served in both the Navy and the Army, quite a feat and a story worthy of recounting some time)

I occasionally show my parents what I’ve been doing; they like to know that their boy is actually working rather than spending his time collecting stamps, so I will take along something that may interest them. Almost always it’s an item that would appeal to my father’s interests, wartime stuff, and last week I showed him a group of German 1941 & 1942 covers with stamps bearing “POL” perfins for official Police use (see lot 6420).

They reminded Dad that just a day earlier he had been at the local supermarket and bumped into an old friend, this gentleman had fought in France but like many of his generation had never spoken about it. My father mentioned that he hadn’t seen him for a couple of months.

“I’ve been ill, in hospital”

“Oh dear, what happened?”

“I was watching all that stuff they’ve been putting on the television about the anniversary of the First World War. I started to get flashbacks to what I’d seen in Europe, then I couldn’t sleep, I became so Ill I ended up in a mental health ward. They’ve just let me out”

89 years old with a healthy, successful life behind him, then he starts suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder with its roots in 1944. My generation should never forget, but perhaps others don’t need reminding.

On a lighter note I had brought something to show my mother. An entire collection formed by Knud Damborg, a gifted watercolourist. I have never seen a collection so beautifully illustrated and I wanted my mother, no slouch herself with watercolours, to pass an educated eye over the 300 lovingly painted pages.

Apparently they were very good and I got an uneasy feeling as Mum began to call her ‘arty friends’. An hour later the house was full of artists clucking over the stamp collection. Would I take the stamps off and sell the pages? Would I display the collection at their local show? Did her son know that Christmas was just around the corner?

I escaped with the collection clutched to my chest, check out lots 5001 to 5010, the scans barely do them justice as the original colours are magnificent but you will see (as the artist folk could not) that they are valued purely for the stamps. Much to my mother’s disgust, we have allowed nothing for the paintings!

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