Thursday, September 16, 2010

Philatelic Prankster W. Reginald Bray

The New Yorker Magazine posts a piece in its Book Bench section about John Tingey's “The Englishman Who Posted Himself and Other Curious Objects,” about the turn of the twentieth-century eccentric and philatelist W. Reginald Bray.

Deirdre Foley-Mendelssohn writes, "Bray (1879-1939) was an avid collector who amassed stamps, postmarks, train tickets, and girlfriends, and who, after reading the entire British Post Office Guide, impishly determined to take the rules as challenges. He tried posting an unimaginable array of things, to see whether the post office would deliver them.

"Apparently, at the time, the smallest item that could be posted was a bee, and the largest an elephant. Bray seems to have tried most things in between. At one point or another, he mailed a bowler hat, a rabbit skull (the address spelled out on the nasal bone, and the stamps pasted to the back), a purse, a slipper, a clothes brush, seaweed, shirt collars, a penny, a turnip (address and message carved into the durable tuber), an Irish Terrier, and a pipe, among other curios."

To read the entire article, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM