Lai Lundy Card Errata

by Roger Cichorz, September 10, 2005

[Roger Cichorz was editor of the Lundy Collectors Club Philatelic Quarterly from 1980-1999 for 19 of its 20 years of publication beginning in 1979. He is considered by many knowledgeable Lundy collectors to be an authority on Lundy stamps and postal history. The following is part of an email exchange between himself and Dr. David Lai, author of Pentothal Postcards which took part in late May, 2005, and posted with permission of both.]

I am afraid that the discussion of the Lundy Pentothal card (shown on pages 99 and 100) was botched in the text (pages 4 and 5). As far as I know, all the Lundy cards were mailed during April 1962, and the postmark on the card shown on page 100 is also 1962, not 1967 as the Lai text attests: "The same card, mailed some years later in 1967 is featured on page 99 of this book. (Often the same postcards were sent in different batches, spanning weeks or even months). ..."

Albeit the Bristol circular datestamp (cds) year date "2" is not a clear strike on the card shown on page 100 (with the base of the "2" faint or missing), although the rounded part of the "2" is a giveaway that it is not a "7"--but the Lundy cds year date is clearly "62"with the number following the "6" a clear, rounded topped "2" and not a "7"! The second (parenthetical) Lai text statement is meant to be general (not only specific for Lundy) and true as the range of dates for many of the cards on your master census list attests. In this case, the statement is true for the Lundy cards as well as they were mailed out during a course of about three weeks--the earliest one I have is dated Lundy 4/2/62 + Bristol 4/5/62 and the latest I have is dated Lundy 4/28/62 + Bristol 4/25/62 (unusual for the fact that the Lundy cds date is later than the Bristol cds date, the only such card I have with that "reversed date order" characteristic)! I note also that all 47 of the Lundy cards recorded/reported in my (perhaps outdated?) copy of Tom Fortunato's census have April 1962 dates.

The balance of Dr. Lai's Lundy card discussion about the Lundy and British stamps being affixed to the card on Lundy and the card being delivered from Lundy to and forwarded through the Bristol Post Office on the British mainland ordinarily would be true, but in this case it appeared only to be done this way, i.e., it was a simulated Lundy mailing. Lundy postal historians and specialists know that so many (estimated as several tens of thousands?) of the Lundy cards were prepared and sent that there was no way to accommodate this massive mailing on Lundy (with its limited number of Harman employees available for the task--i.e., Island Agent Felix Gade, aka the "Lundy Postmaster" was totally responsible for the mail and could not handle this task in addition to his other duties). Consequently, the Lundy postcard mailing was contracted to a firm in Bristol, and both the Lundy and British stamps were applied in Bristol and the cards delivered locally to the Bristol Post Office.

The Lundy metal cds canceller used in Bristol was a specially prepared one (Chinchen type N') that differed slightly in size from the one of the same type (Chinchen type N) used contemporaneously on Lundy (i.e., 25-mm diameter vs. 27-mm diameter). Barry N. D. Chinchen's A Catalogue of Lundy Stamps (authorized 1981 Edition by me) includes the following text and an illustration of this slightly smaller cds: "Canceller N' - smaller version date -9 APR 62 applied in purple (in Bristol" on "Pentothal" advertising cards." Likewise, Stanley Newman in his Postal History, Postmarks & Cachets of Lundy Island distinguishes these two cancellers as types Na (Lundy, 27-mm diameter) and Nb (Bristol, 25-mm diameter) and reports: "Type Nb - A slightly smaller version (25-mm diameter) used only on special Medical promotional cards advertising Pentothal, sent out during April 1962 to aneaethetists (sic) throughout the U.S.A., Canada and possibly elsewhere. These all bear a Bristol machine cancellation, and it is reported that these cards were in fact prepared at, and dispatched from Bristol and not Lundy. All were cancelled in purple." To my knowledge, the type N' or Nb canceller was never on the Island, or if it was returned to Lundy after its use in Bristol, it was never used on any subsequent Lundy mail (unknown other than use on the Pentothal cards).

Unfortunately, Felix Gade makes no mention of the Lundy Pentothal card mailing in his Supplement to The Postal History of Lundy, which covers that time period. Nor could I find any information about the Lundy Pentothal card mailing in contemporary (and subsequent years') issues of The Puffin, Newsletter of the Lundy Specialists Society. The primary source for the fact of the Bristol mailing was provided by Barry Chinchen (the Editor of The Puffin and an authority on Lundy stamps) to be added to the (aforementioned) text to his 1981 Edition reprint catalogue.

Folklore has it that the Pentothal postcard mailings were responsible for the premature exhaustion of stocks of the 1957 1-puffin definitive stamps despite its printing quantity of 150,000. To this day it is a tough stamp to acquire in mint condition despite its formidable printing for a Lundy stamp (compare 150,000 to the range of 18,225 9p stamps to 76,881 2p stamps in the same 1957 definitive issue set). The 1957 1p definitive is listed as #126 in Stamps of Lundy Island, an illustrated priced guide and handbook ("Puffin Stamps" Fourth Edition, 2003, formerly under the authorship of Stanley Newman) and catalogues at 18 pounds mint compared to $2.50 for the 2p and 1 pound each for the other four stamps in the set despite their lower printings. There were no subsequent Lundy 1-puffin definitive stamps issued until 1969, but 18,000 of a provisional 1-puffin definitive was produced in 1965 by surcharging the 1957 3p definitive with "1"s above the two round value obliterators (to obscure the "3"s). This gives further credence to the conjecture that the 1957 1p stamps were exhausted by this time (and hence would no longer be available for a late 1967 Lundy Pentothal card mailing if such a thing exists, which I doubt).

I don't mean to be critical of Dr. Lai's book as it is a wonderful reference and the brief text is helpful and informative. It is just the unfortunate errors in the Lundy card discussion (and probably known only to a few Lundy specialists who probably are unaware of the book) that detracted for me. I hope the preceding discussion will be helpful to Dr. Lai (particularly if it undergoes a second printing and the text can be changed accordingly to reflect the reality of the Lundy card mailings). I suggest that readers reexamine the dates on the Lundy card illustrated on pages 99 and 100, and in light of the information I provided, I think that you might end up agreeing with me that it's just another 1962 card.