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Antiques: Birmingham about to put its stamp on the Millennium.

Crimewatch: Behind the issue of these two Swedish stamps lies a story of mystery, intrigue, theft, deception and an international detective hunt through the capitals of Europe, which rivals anything written in the annals of fiction. Yet it is all true. The stamps show an antique gold watch made by J Bellete in London for King Charles XII of Sweden in 1701. Jewelled, enamelled and sumptuously engraved, it cost a fortune. For security the magnificent timepiece was deposited by the Swedish Royal Family in their Royal Armoury. But in 1932 it was stolen and a massive police hunt drew a blank. However, in 1998 a London antique dealer contacted Stockholm palace officials saying he had bought the watch innocently. He offered to sell it back to them. A public appeal in Sweden, together with grants from a charitable foundation and the government took the stolen watch back to Stockholm. It is now on show at the Stockholm Palace. For information about the stamps, covers and postmarking: Sweden Post Stamps, SE-164-Kista, Sweden.

Millions of people around the world will soon beware of Birmingham's multi-million pound investment in technology of the future, our heritage and past achievements and present-day education of young and old.

For the city's Millennium Point, now under construction in the Digbeth area of the city centre, is to be highlighted by a special postage stamp due to be issued this autumn despite the fact that the project is not expected to be officially opened and in full use for another year afterwards.

The Millennium Point stamp is one of five stamps due to be issued by Royal Mail on September 5.

They are part of the Post Office's special Millennium Collection, issued to celebrate 1,000 years of Britain's achievements as seen by almost 100 artists, photographers and designers through the miniature art of stamps. Issued at a rate of four a month, they will continue to the end of this year.

It is expected that Birmingham's Millennium Point stamp will be the 45p value of the 'Mind and Matter' stamps for September. The three other stamps in the set are expected to highlight other Millennium projects in different areas of England. These will be Norfolk (1st class stamp), Bath (2nd class) and Bristol (65p).

First class and second class stamps are being sold extensively for letter posts rather than 26p and 19p values because of ongoing talks to increase our postage rates.

You can save a fair amount of cash by stocking up now with supplies of 1st and 2nd class stamps for domestic mailings and the special 'E' stamps for European correspondence.

A collection of beautiful little scent bottles, several of which were made in the Stourbridge and Birmingham areas, are to be sold in London on Tuesday .

Ranging from mid-18th Century to early 20th Century, the little bottles represent some of the most outstanding examples of the art of the scent bottle, ranging in price from pounds 100 to pounds 1,000.

The collection, expected to fetch well over pounds 15,000, will attract specialist collectors and glass dealers from a wide area of Britain and the European mainland to Bonhams' sale of European ceramics and glass at its premises in Montpelier Street, Knightsbridge.

Included in the sale are a number of unusual cameo scent bottles. The first, made in the late 19th century, is of a slender pointed form with a yellow ground overlaid in opaque white and carved with an ornate design of stem, leaves and bell shaped flowers first with a Samson Morden maker's mark to the mount (pounds 700-pounds 1,000). Two other Stourbridge silver mounted cameo glass scent bottles are in the sale, one raspberry red and opaque white depicting a sunflower type bloom in (pounds 500-pounds 700) and the other lime green and opaque white featuring a poppy (pounds 400-pounds 600). Also produced in Stourbridge by Webb an attractive peach blow scent bottle featuring blossom stems probably gilded by Jules Barbe (pounds 300-pounds 400).

An attractive Birmingham painted silver oval shaped scent bottle of 1889, painted on one side with a bullfinch perched on a branch of white blossoms is estimated to sell for pounds 200-pounds 300). Another silver Birmingham scent bottle is decorated with a spray of yellow primroses (pounds 300-pounds 400).

During the Second World War thousands of young American men and women were stationed in the Midlands. Sutton Coldfield was a particularly big US army base and postal historian Mr John C W Field from Rugeley, Staffordshire, has made a special study of the postal markings applied to mail to and from the American forces in the early 1940s at Sutton.

At that time the Royal Borough was part of Warwickshire, outside the Birmingham boundary. The US Army Postal Service post offices in the town at that time were APO 640 and Base Post Offices 1 and 23.

Next Saturday Mr Field and fellow members of Streetly Philatelic Society will be recalling those days when the society holds its annual stamp fair between 9.30am to 4pm in the Streetly Community Centre, Foley Road East, Streetly.

The Centre will have a number of dealers in attendance and members of the London and Provincial Stamp Club will be providing a display. Foley Road East is off the A452 Chester Road between Sutton and Brownhills.

The Spring Stoneleigh antiques and collectables fair returns on Tuesday to the National Agricultural Centre at Stoneleigh, Kenilworth, Warwickshire from 7am-3pm. Organised by DMG Antiques Fairs of Newark, Nottinghamshire, there is a free car parking for motorists and a courtesy coach from Coventry's Pool Meadow bus station for those on public transport. Admission to the showground between 7am and 1pm costs pounds 5.

Next Friday sees the start of the three-day antiques and collectables fair at Bingley Hall, in the Staffordshire County Showground, Weston Road, Stone. More than 400 standholders are expected to attend by the organisers, Bowman Antiques Fairs of Otley, West Yorkshire. Open for each of the three days from 10am until 5pm, there is ample free parking with admission costing pounds 2.50 with concessions at pounds 1.50 and children under 14 free.

Tomorrow Antique Forum from Longton, Stoke-on-Trent, will be holding an antiques, collectables and militaria fair in the prestigious surroundings of Trentham Gardens, Stoke-on-Trent. Gates open at 7am and admission costs pounds 1.
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Author:Hawkes, Harry
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Mar 11, 2000
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