KSC History

History of the KSC - Part Three

The Mike Duggan Years

In previous articles, we described the foundation of Kiwi Exchange Club in 1930 by Walter Nicholas, and the growth of autonomous Kiwi Sales Circuits in more than 50 countries of the world, with particular reference to the New Zealand division, managed by George Taylor.

In 1974, Leonard Bevan, who ran the Leonard Stamp Circuit in Auckland, was looking to scale down his philatelic activities, which also included a stamp shop, an auction section and a first day cover service. Mike Duggan happened on this opportunity, accepted management of the FDC service and the stamp circuit.

Later that same year George Taylor died and Mike was asked by Len if he was interested in expanding membership of the Leonard. Mike, Len and Brian Farmer approached George’s daughter Doreen, with the result that Mike took over the New Zealand division of the Kiwi Sales Circuit Stamp Club. Mike ran the ‘Leonard’ and the ‘Kiwi’ separately for several years before combining their operations.

Over the next decade, Mike built the ‘Kiwi’ up to its peak membership of 650 with over 30 circuit boxes being sent out every month. Several of the selling members were based overseas, notably in Australia and Canada. At that time, circuit boxes went as far as New Zealand forces in Singapore – the postage to overseas forces being the same as the domestic rate. Mike’s biggest scare was when some circuit books just seemed to disappear and he was unable contact the members – he was very relieved to eventually recover them and find out that the mail had simply been held up in an Australian Postal strike.

Writing about the early days, Mike says ~

I was one of the first group of people to get a BBC computer. I was anxious to get it to help with the circuits and started to learn programming in BBC basic.

Eventually I had it doing most of the hard work. Typing 650 envelopes for newsletters was a tedious all day job for a two fingered typist – but it took only an hour to produce sticky labels using the computer.

I bought a program on tape (no disc drives or mouses in those days) called FILER. It was really a database for names and addresses and when I got to 450 names it crashed. I returned it to the seller and later received an updated version which coped with the entire circuit. The seller said they had never envisaged anyone needing to list that many names and addresses!

My wife Rosalie did most of the stamp mounting for me, and helped get boxes ready for circuit. We would lay the boxes and piles of booklets (sorted by seller) on the floor and then fill each box, trying to ensure that they all contained an equal number of new booklets and a mixture of sellers.

With Rosalie’s help, Mike ran the circuit enthusiastically and efficiently for 16 years (until 1991). In his “spare time” Mike worked as an Air Traffic Control Officer at Auckland International Airport, being in charge of the Training Section for a period and finishing up as Watch Supervisor.In 1994, Mike moved to Whangaparaoa, retiring from the airport shortly after, but retaining his interest in stamps, in particular, see newsletter #15, October 2000, page3 ‘Mike’s World of Owls on Stamps’, or visit his webpage at http://mikeduggan.tripod.com

Mike and Rosalie are currently holidaying in the north of England. In an email from somewhere near the Yorkshire Moors, Mike writes “Its lovely to be out of reach of the TV, especially to hear no word of the New Zealand weather, the Treaty of Waitangi or the Rugby!”