Date added: 13 Oct 2017
Malcolm C. Dizer (1886-1978) was a British-American philatelist who assembled a number of specialized postage stamp collections under the general topic of "History in Philately". They are an excellent example of the use of postage stamps to preserve collective memory.
As reported by Bill Duncan, Staff Writer aboard the RMS Queen Mary
Independent from Long Beach - December 5, 1967
This mammoth luxury liner will dock in Acapulco at noon today, last port of call before she starts the last leg of the long journey to her new Long Beach home. She will steam into Long Beach Harbour through the Queen's Gate at noon Saturday. One passenger regretting the voyage's pending end is Malcolm C. Dizer of New York City, sailing on the Mary for the price of postage stamps. Dizer, 81, a philatelist, is paying for his trip with each stamp cancellation he puts on an envelope in each port the Mary visits. Easy? Not on a long voyage it isn't. Dizer sold 100 envelopes for $25 each before he left New York for England. He guaranteed the customer that he'd get a cancelled stamp from each port where the Mary stopped up to and including Long Beach.
The cancellations have the date the Mary was in port, beginning Oct. 31 when the Mary sailed from Southampton on her epic cruise. His troubles began in Southampton. “The Monday before the Queen Mary sailed, I visited the Government Post Office in Southampton and tried to get the British to pre-cancel the 100 envelopes with an Oct. 31 date because the Queen Mary was sailing at such an early hour," he explained. "The British are quite proper and told me this was against all regulations, but promised if I'd leave the envelopes with the postal authorities they would cancel them first thing Oct. 31 and deliver them to the ship before sailing time. It was a big risk, but I decided to take it." Dizer, his 100 envelopes on shore, paced the deck Tuesday morning as the clock ticked toward sailing time - 9:30 a.m. At 9:15 a.m. a man raced up the gangway and delivered Dizer's precious cargo.
At Lisbon he met more difficulty when the Queen Mary arrived late on November 2 and he couldn't find a post office open for a Nov. 2 cancellation. However, on Nov. 3 without speaking a word of Portuguese, he somehow talked the postal authorities into rolling back the cancellation machine to Nov. 2 for his 100 envelopes.
“The Queen Mary arrived at Las Palmas on a Sunday, but Dizer's luck was all good. He found an auxiliary post office in a panel truck on the dock where it has been established to take care of the Queen Mary's mailings. Dizer asked if he could get his 100 envelopes stamped and cancelled, but the postman said he was too busy to handle such a request. Dizer volunteered to help him if he'd allow him to cancel the 100 stamps for his envelopes and he possibly became the only American member of the Spanish post office. He had to work the whole day in the auxiliary post office and that's as much of Las Palmas as he saw.
In Rio, the ship again arrived on a Sunday and postal authorities would not cancel his stamps. The 100 earned a Monday, Nov. 13 cancellation date, instead of Sunday Nov. 12, the day the Mary arrived. He purchased Chilean stamps ahead of time, then had his own cancelling stamp prepared and cancelled them when the Queen Mary rounded the Horn-Chilean territory. He faces similar situations in the Mary's future ports. The ship arrives in Long Beach on a Saturday, which is going to make cancellations difficult. Dizer was certain either the United States or Great Britain would issue a special commemorative stamps for the Queen Mary. When neither country did, he decided to build his theme around the Last Voyage of the Queen Mary, and the historic trip taken by Sir Francis Chichester around the world in the Gipsy Moth IV. "This is my tribute to such a gallant man and so strong a sailor, a man who spent 226 days at sea alone," Dizer said. The 100 envelopes Dizer holds will one day be priceless. They will be the only ones of their kind in existence and "that's exactly why I limited the number. I could have sold 10,000 for $25 each on this voyage alone," he said. "But can you imagine trying to get all those cancelled in each port?" While Dizer was talking a lady approached him and offered to buy two and she was willing to double the price.