Karl Henning Covers

A market regular and wonderfully informative contributor to this blog, Michael Burroughs, has again turned up trumps with this collection of covers and postcards all addressed to the somewhat controversial German collector, Karl Henning.

An active member of the NSDAP (Nazi) party, he officially began making the covers during the Third Reich. This included the General Government covers. By war’s end, he was Post Master General on the Channel Islands and later produced official post-war commemorative covers including the Berlin airlift – an example of which is pictured here.

Taking all his, admittedly considerable, stock to the Dominican republic, it is believed that he continued trading through another company name, Casa Filatelica Antillana. Even today, members of his family are said to still trade but eyebrows have been raised in stamp collecting forums at the seemingly inexhaustible amount of stock still for sale.

This has not seriously tarnished the allure of the ‘Karl Hennig cover’ per se though. They are still much sought after – although it’s wise to consult an experienced dealer before purchasing.

The ‘Wound Stripe’

Instituted in 1916 by King George V, the ‘Wound Stripe’ denoted anyone who’d sustained an injury in wartime. It was worn (as here) on the left forearm of the tunic, fastened through the uniform cloth. Soldiers unlucky enough to sustain another injury would be granted an additional stripe. This particular soldier is a private in the Royal Berkshire Regiment.

The Ministry of Food

With the outbreak of war in 1939, the British government was (rightly) concerned about the country’s food supply.

The Ministry of Food had been established during the Great War but stood down in 1921. Renewed hostilities meant that Britain’s island status once again became both its greatest defence and a food supply issue. In 1939 only 30% of what people ate was grown domestically.

Used on all ration books and, here, on armbands like this, the MoF logo was a familiar sight during the war years. This armband would have been worn by a member of the civil defence authorities tasked with giving advice and cooking tips at large air raid shelters and refugee centres. This is a one colour print applied by silk screen with dark blue ink on a white armband. The reverse shows the classic signs of bleed through from the print.

Brown paper packages tied up with string

Still one of our favourite things and for good reason: the contents are usually quite exciting…

As was the case when Anything Militaria’s Michael Burroughs recently acquired one such package from an old nursing home. Carefully packed inside were several military issue red ties dating back to the Great War. Such ties were issued to and worn by convalescing wounded soldiers and the custom dates back to the Crimean War. Wearing a red tie like this was a visual cue that the soldier should be excused for leaning or not standing upright to attention. Several comic postcards of the era are included to show them being worn.

During the second world war, they tried a blue battledress and trousers but, as standard hospital issue was striped pyjamas, this idea was dropped. These red ties are quite the rarity. 4cm wide tapering to 2.5cm at the middle and featuring four lines of stitching reminiscent of a karate grading belt.

Yet the singularly most striking things about these antique military ties is their condition. So well preserved were they in their brown paper and string that the deep red is as bright today as it must have been then.