Category Archives: Collectables

An iceberg in the South Pacific

An original and a David Aldersley copy

As shown in my 2018 book X8 – Early New Zealand Shipping Company Postcards and their Photographers, available to purchase here – often real photo postcards were re-published with changed text on the front. Sometimes the change happened when the cards were reproduced by David Aldersley, a prolific New Zealand-based photographer. However, David Aldersley was not the photographer in this case, the photograph was probably either by Henry George Keyse or Peter Zerface, barbers and photographers working for the New Zealand Shipping Company. My book illustrates a few postcards which have had reprints with changes made. These include photographs of stormy sea views from the deck of ships, as well as icebergs in the South Pacific.

I recently purchased another South Pacific iceberg postcard. This shows the original photograph before it was re-photographed and re-published by David Aldersley. The Aldersley version of the card is included in my book X8. This original has the advantage of a very interesting, although quite difficult to read, message on the back. It was written on board the S.S. Remuera on 18th December 1914, just over four months after the start of the first World War.

This voyage would be the first part of the ninth return voyage of the Remuera which left London on 27th November, 1914 bound for New Zealand, and returned to the UK on 25th March 1915.

Dramatic view of an iceberg in the South Pacific, photographed c.1914
The back of the “original” real photo postcard was written on board the S.S. Remuera on 18th December 1914, just over four months after the start of the first World War.

The following is a very rough transcription of the message on the back of the postcard.

We saw this iceberg coming home – SS Reumera
December 18th 1914
Cape Town tomorrow. Very good trip so far. No excitements. We have kept well to the west of trade route and have passed very few ships. British cruisers have been in our only neighbourhood for several days. We have heard ••• talking, but have not spoken to them. No wireless news since two days out from Tenerife and are longing for news. I wonder what we shall hear tomorrow. Quite pleasant fellow passengers – not wildly interesting. Less heat in tropics than usual. Cricket match this afternoon. Second class ladies beat us by 3 runs! Ships-board life wonderfully ••• affected by the war – no lights on deck at night is the only difference. Now the days are lengthening out, and the trade winds are less strong yesterday and today tho still dead ahead of our route. ••• have been poor. Busy preparing a Christmas for 90 children on board! Much love yours S.S. •••

The re-print postcard (below) is illustrated in my book (page 28) with my following text:
If you look closely at the top and right edges of the actual image there appears to be a slight shadow. This suggests to me that the original photograph has been re-photographed to make this postcard.

Note that the text on the front has been changed with the addition of “Passed by R.M.S. Ruahine”. This is interesting because it seems that the original postcard, above, may have been purchased on the Remuera.

David Aldersley’s re-photographed copy of the South Pacific iceberg postcard
The back of the David Aldersley postcard. This is reference “O(1)” in my catalogue of postcard backs, available to download free of charge here.

Collectables – Serviette (Napkin) Ring – part two

As a follow up to my previous serviette ring post, here are two more rings from my collection. These two seem to be a bit less fancy than those in the previous post which were more obviously produced as souvenirs for sale to passengers.

I’d love to know if they were actually used on board. However, with the possible movement of the ship, anything which would cause a serviette to roll off a table would not have been particularly practical.

Please leave a reply if you have any more information.

Rotorua montage postcard by David Aldersley

This is an excellent example of an early real photo montage postcard published by the New Zealand based professional photographer David Aldersley. I have several of the small photographs on this card in my collection as full size postcards, including the two Panama Canal views which are also shown here on this Blog. The rough sea image can be seen full size in this Blog entry.

The back of the postcard is rubber stamped with David Aldersley’s “Ingleboro Photo Series” credit which I have catalogued as style “H”. My free guide to postcard backs is available as a digital PDF publication and can be downloaded here.

Pervis Young’s letter to passengers

Thanks to Ian Wilkinson for sending me scans of this leaflet. It was produced to give to passengers on ships which called at Pitcairn Island, and is signed by Pervis Young. Pervis Ferris Young (1928-2003) was magistrate of Pitcairn Island from 1967 until 1975. He was the son of Andrew Young, Pitcairn’s first radio operator.

Pervis was sketched by the late Jennifer Toombs, stamp designer, for her 1972 South Pacific Commission stamp, where he is shown third from the left. Jennifer spent ten days on Pitcairn in 1966 when Pervis was her mentor and guide.

Collectables – Serviette (Napkin) Ring

A very popular souvenir produced for sale to passengers on the Remuera was the serviette or napkin ring. These don’t appear to have been in use on the ship, but just produced for sale along with many other items including teaspoons, lighters, goblets, vases, table lamps, bottle openers and even embroidered cushions. The souvenir shop must have been bulging at the beginning of each voyage.

The website RMS Remuera shows a further four designs of serviette rings, dating back to at least 1926.

 

3rd Class Dining Saloon

Very early postcard view of the 3rd Class Dining Saloon with no sign of serviette rings

1st Class Dining Saloon

Another postcard, this time showing the 1st Class Dining Saloon. The serviette rings are seen inserted in the glasses. Would they have done this in rough weather I wonder?

A mystery photograph

Mystery-ship-sun-bedsOn a recent visit to a local postcard fair, I managed to purchase this atmospheric real photo postcard taken on board a mystery ship. I love these photographs because they make me want to take a walk along the deck, maybe rest a while in a sun bed, or just watch the open sea. Where are the passengers? Perhaps all taking lunch, or maybe on a shore excursion?

There are very few clues, but what got me most interested was the back. I have a small collection of 1920s photographs by New Zealand Shipping Company barber/photographer Henry George Keyse. Some of his photographs feature the back style shown below, and this mystery photograph has the same back. Now I don’t even know if it is a New Zealand Shipping Company vessel, and it is my great hope that one of the readers of this blog will be able to help me out. I have reproduced the whole postcard which you can click to see a larger image, and also a selection of close up areas which I hope will act as little clues to, as Hercule Poirot would say, get your little grey cells working!

Please, if you can help in any way, give me your views in a comment.

This is the back of a Henry Keyse postcard from the 1920s. The postcard above has the same back style, including the sun logo, but without the publisher text on the left hand side.

This is the back of a Henry Keyse postcard from the 1920s. The postcard above has the same back style, including the sun logo, but without the publisher text on the left hand side.

 

Collectables – Silver Goblet

Goblet-1I have been unable to find out much about this New Zealand Shipping Company goblet, other than the details given by the eBay vendor. I managed to purchase it for an incredibly low price (£3.20 plus delivery), and I like it very much, so really the actual age does not matter to me. It has the letters NZSC engraved on the side of the bowl, and on the bottom there are details which can clearly be read in the photograph shown below (click on it to enlarge).

Goblet-2Manufactured by Mappin & Webb, the item is described as Prince’s Plate (silver plate). It is 11.5cm from top to bottom, and the top is 9cm in diameter. The vendor stated that the initials G.S. on the bottom indicate a date of between 1890 and 1895, but according to my research online, it is very difficult to date Mappin & Webb items, in fact their method of dating is still unknown. I do know that Prince’s Plate was first advertised from about 1890, so that would be the earliest date. I have contacted the company to see if they could assist with a date of manufacture and hope to report back here later.*

Goblet-3It is a heavy item (252g), but rather uneven . . . I can imagine it having fallen from tables on several occasions in rough seas. If stood upside down now, it rocks slightly. I like to think of it as being in use on one of the oldest of the Company’s ships, perhaps being used by one of the old Ruahine’s 74 first class passengers, but I guess that more likely, and less romantically, it was simply sold as a souvenir.

I have made the rather wobbly video below to show off the goblet. If you can provide any further information, please comment in a reply to this blog entry.

*I have had a reply from Mappin & Webb, but unfortunately I am no wiser. If you can help with a dating method, please let me know. They did not realise my purchase price when I contacted them, but I don’t really want to spend more than I paid for the item to get a valuation!

Dear David, Thank you for your message. I advise that Aurum Holdings became the owners of Mappin & Webb in 2005. Regretfully we do not hold a product archive and are unable to assist you in identifying the date of manufacture. You may be able to get some clarity of its origin, year of manufacture from a auction house or assessor in your locality. Alternatively our showrooms offer a valuation service in which they would identify the year of manufacture and advise of the current replacement /resale value, currently the charge for this service is £60 and takes approximately three weeks to complete. I hope this information is of assistance. Yours sincerely, The Mappin & Webb Team

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