THE composer of the Invercargill March, Alex Lithgow, now features on a postage stamp and First Day Cover.
The $1.30 stamp, known as a CALs (Custom Advertising Labels), a type of advertising postage stamp, has been produced which features the bronze statue of Mr Lithgow which was unveiled next to the Civic Theatre in Invercargill earlier this year.
George Stewart, of the Southland Stamp Club, said the stamp, along with First Day covers and maxi cards, would be available to view and buy at the club’s stamp fair on Saturday.
A Maxi Card (or Maximum Card) contains a stamp, a similar image, but not the same as the stamp on the postcard and a post mark connecting the stamp and card, Mr Stewart said.
“So an Invercargill date stamp connects Mr Lithgow and the Marchto the stamp and card,” he said.
The stamps and maxi cards of the statue were produced by stamp dealer Steven McLachlan, of Christchurch, in conjunction with Mr Stewart, through New Zealand Post.
Only 500 regular and 500 $1.30 self-adhesive stamps had been printed, and would be offered on a first come/first served basis, he said.
Mr Lithgow wrote and composed the Invercargill March in 1908, (published 1909) with “To Invercargill, the Southern-most City in New Zealand (End of the World) and its Citizens, I dedicate this March as a memento of the many pleasant years spent there in my boyhood” written on the score.
It was played for the first time at Rugby Park in Invercargill on November 3, 1909.
Words were not written to the tune until after Lithgow’s death in 1929, so there have been many versions. The march is still played by brass bands around the world and has been rated as one of the most popular, particularly in the United States.
But it wasn’t just the stamp which had excited the southern philatelic society members, it was the combination of the stamp on the envelopes which also had an image of Mr Lithgow or the statue, which would be date stamped especially for the fair, he said.
The important thing when collecting maxi cards was for the stamp, envelope and postage mark to be related, but not identical, he said.
“That is what collectors look for… the three elements must all agree.”
To complete the Alex Lithgow maxi card, the envelopes and stamps had to be postmarked in Invercargill, because Mr Lithgow’s statue was there.
The stamp fair not only gave club members the opportunity to buy and sell stamps and collecting-related objects, but also gave the general public the chance to have their stamps and albums valued, Mr Stewart said.