Hobby gets well-deserved national exposure

I received a pleasant “stamp” surprise while reading the newspapers at my in-laws over the Christmas holidays. It’s a morning routine to grab a cup of coffee and sit next to my father-in-law Tom as he hands over sections of the London Free Press and his hometown paper, the St. Thomas Times-Journal. Before I go on, I need to add that I worked as a reporter/editor at the Times-Journal (locally known as the T-J) in the late ’80s and early ’90s and it’s where I met my wife Karen. Whenever we’re home, I look forward to catching up on the local news. As Tom handed over the first few sections of the Free Press (he reads the sports section first!), I spent some time reading the first section consisting of local and national news. The next section I grabbed was “An Edition of NP” (National Post), eight pages covering national and international news. When I flipped over to page two I was so surprised by the content that I quickly flipped back to the cover page to confirm the article was indeed published in the National Post. Continue reading →

Collectors, dealers, volunteers ensure the shows will go on

“The goal of a stamp show is to meet the needs of a diverse constituency.” That quote served as the basis for discussion at the recent “Summit on the Future of Philately” spearheaded by the American Philatelic Society (APS). In reviewing the report that came out of the summit, I’m happy to discover the participants deservingly gave a lot of attention to the topic: The future of stamp shows and dealers – How are we doing planning shows? The discussion certainly reveals America’s leading philatelists are not giving up on local and national stamp shows, even though some in the hobby feel the events are being crushed by online auctions and consumer-to-consumer e-commerce sites such as eBay and Amazon. They identified the need to “rebrand shows to something that may attract new collectors.” Continue reading →

Peter Butler a ‘catalyst’ of philately

The recent tribute paid to Peter Butler was a super way to cap off a wonderful year for Canada’s philatelic community. My wife, Karen, and I were honoured to be invited to attend the recent annual banquet of the Philatelic Specialists Society of Canada. It’s a wonderful evening of socializing with some of Canada’s – and beyond – premier philatelic specialists who are dedicated to expanding the knowledge and resources for our hobby. It’s also a great evening of expanding one’s own knowledge and this year’s keynote speaker – John Walsh of St. John’s, N.L., – lived up to the high expectations of providing an insightful and fun presentation on “Musings on a Life in Philately.” The emotional highlight of the evening, of course, was the incredible and well-deserving accolades paid to long-time philatelist Peter Butler. Continue reading →

Helping to restore the philatelic vision

By now you have read, or heard about, some of the suggestions from the task force looking into the long-term viability of Canada Post. What’s missing from the 102-page report is any real focus on philately. The closest the report gets to mentioning philately is the following reference in the executive summary: “Public opinion research focus groups indicate that even though Canadians recognize the ongoing shift to digital communications, they are emotionally attached to mail: personal letters, parcels from loved ones, greeting and holiday related cards are viewed with much affection, even nostalgia.” Continue reading →

‘Craftsmanship and quality’ key to enticing younger collectors

I usually find myself chuckling as I’m listening to my favourite radio station during my 50-minute morning commute to my St. Catharines office. But I found myself annoyed one recent morning when the hosts were talking about collecting and hobbies. They talked about numerous things people collect, but when the male host mentioned stamps, his counterpart – a young woman likely in her 20s – quickly dismissed stamp collecting as a dead hobby. I was taken back by how contemptuous she was about stamps. It’so easy to dismiss her as being reflective of a generation that spends more time texting and snapchatting with next to no experience in mailing letters. If I had Bluetooth, I likely would have called into the radio show to give an important news flash that our hobby is alive and well. And yes, I know most philatelists have likely experienced similar comments from family, friends and the younger generation. But it doesn’t mean we have to accept it. Continue reading →

CP’s Star Trek journey ‘hailing on all frequencies’

Canada Post’s Star Trek 50th Anniversary series is a hit with Canadian collectors as well as our friends south of the border. This was evident at the World Stamp Show hosted in New York City this past May. Canada Post’s Star Trek-themed display was captivating. While the booth dwarfed in size compared to its neighbour – the United States Postal Service (USPS) – the large image of the USS Enterprise, towering above the Canada Post display with its magnetic draw, made it difficult to resist. It was by far the most attractive display on the massive convention floor at the Javits Center, where the eight-day World Stamp Show drew tens of thousands of people from across the world. And the booth was buzzing with customers any time I was there, or even walking by. It was, indeed, a huge success for Canada Post. Continue reading →

Canadian philatelists making a world of difference

Philatelists around the world are 'pumped up' about the hobby following the massive, once-in-a-decade World Stamp Show.

I, along with several other Canadians, cannot help but be pumped up about our hobby after spending a week with philatelists from around the world. I am referring to the tens of thousands of collectors – of all ages and languages – who gathered in New York City recently for the World Stamp Show, which is held in North America only once a decade. Where else would I have the opportunity – under one roof – to see within the space of a foot or so the world’s most expensive stamp and the most famous stamp in the United States. Continue reading →

Big Apple show lives up to world-class billing, Canadians effuse

Canada was strongly represented at the World Stamp Show held May 28 – June 4 at the Javits Center in New York City. From the left are Canadians Ingo Nessel, president of the Philatelic Society of Canada; librarian Kathy Hartley of the Vincent Graves Greene Philatelic Research Foundation; Michel Houde who is very active in the Canadian philatelic community; Maxime S. Herold of Canada Stamp Finder; and, John Jamieson of Saskatoon Stamp Centre. Photo by Mike Walsh.

mpressive, amazing and wow! These are just a few of the words that hit me during my first few hours of being among the thousands of collectors and dealers gathered for the World Stamp Show at the Javits Center, located near New York City’s Times Square. Attending my first World Stamp Show, I was quickly drawn to the massive layout of exhibits. I have never seen such a large number of exhibits and frames under one roof. In fact, Thomas Fortunato, chairman of marketing and public relations, shared with me that the World Stamp Show hosted 706 competitive exhibits, representing 4,146 frames. The most common theme was postal history, representing 29.2 per cent of the exhibits; followed by traditional with 22.4 per cent; and – a distant third – one-frame exhibits with 11.9 per cent of the total competitive exhibits. Now, that’s an exhibition of worldly proportions. Just as impressive was the Canadian presence. Continue reading →

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