Today in Postal History

Fiji Local Usage

June 2, 1953

This first day cover was postmarked with a simple CDS for Suva, Fiji.
The stamp, of course, is the 2 d. black and green
issued in commemoration of the Coronation of Elizabeth II (SG 278).
Although some colonies had a second high value, only one stamp was issued for Fiji.
There probably wasn't much use for a value in Fiji.

This particular cover was probably the product of a commercial preparer.

This gives me the opportunity to tell you of my experiences that day.
My wife and I were nearing our 2nd anniversary at the time.
We were living the life of church mice.

 The Coronation was to be our first experience with television.

At that time the only video recording medium was film.
There were no broadband links for transmitting video from London.
The networks worked out a complicated plan (scroll down to see the whole story) along with BBC to give
Americans a view of the coronation as soon as possible.

The plan was for BBC to film the event in London, and as soon as film was available,
to put it on Canberra jet bombers for showing in American and Canada in the evening.
The Canberras were outfitted with film processing equipment, I believe,  and the processing was done en route.
I also believe that it was planned to be edited en route.
The films were sent in three segments
so that the early parts of the event could be presented earlier
in the United States before the remaining film arrived.
There were further plans for separate air shipments by and for American networks.
There were also plans for police escorts so that the film could dash through traffic at both ends.

Of course, our circumstances (and attitudes) prevented us from having a television.
However, we had friends in the same garden-apartment complex who were blessed with an RCA 621 set.
This was one of the first commercially available TVs with a 7" screen buried in a large cabinet.
It was derived from World War II radar displays.

In any event, we planned to make a party of watching the Coronation.
Truth be told, both wives were Anglophiles and thought this was just the most exciting event of the year.
So we dutifully appeared at our friends' door at the appointed hour
bringing snacks and then the four of us huddled around the miniscule TV
and oohed and aahed for some hours at the wondrous sight of an event
which had occurred only hours before 'clear across the Atlantic!'

Just think, that was only 50 years ago today!


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