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 as well as the most famous U.S. stamp.
With camera in hand, and under the close scrutiny of security, I excitedly snapped photos of the British Guiana one-cent magenta that sold two years ago for a world record price of $9.5 million USD. I also had the once-in-a-lifetime chance to take pictures of an Inverted Jenny stamp, position 58, which sold a few days earlier at the show to a private collector for $1.3 million USD, including all fees.
Then, of course, there was the Smithsonian display of John Lennon’s boyhood collection of stamps. There was nothing rare or expensive about the stamps in his collection, other than the fact it was owned by the legendary member of The Beatles.
Yes, indeed, it was an honour to have the opportunity to view these rarities. However, the pictures I took represent only a small percentage of the overall photos I snapped during the four days my wife and I spent at the show. A large number of my photos are of fellow Canadians who drove or flew to New York City for, what Ron Major described as the “Olympics” of stamp shows.
I totally agree with Major, who was instrumental in organizing the Canadian table.
The most compelling comment resonating out of this exceptionally well-organized convention was the strong and exciting Canadian presence throughout the eight-day show. Canada was well represented in all categories: dealers, exhibitors, lecturers, association members, and show volunteers.
Kudos to The Royal Philatelic Society of Canada (RPSC), the British North America Philatelic Association (BNAPS), and the Postal History Society of Canada (PHSC) for jointly purchasing a table at the show. While it served as a great venue for fellow Canadian collectors to meet, it also served as a conduit for volunteers to share with show-goers the great things happening in Canada’s philatelic circles.
A big shout out to Major and all the collectors who volunteered their time to man the table, and a personal thanks to the three societies for sharing space for us to hand out copies of Canadian Stamp News.
It became crystal clear during my first few hours at the show that Canadians are highly regarded by philatelists from around the world.
From my conversations with the half-dozen dealers who had tables at the show – not a cheap investment by any means – their exceptional materials were well appreciated by collectors, as all the dealers reported robust sales throughout the show.
Equally impressive was the outstanding display booth by our own Canada Post. White its booth paled in size to its next-door neighbour – the United States Postal Service – I believe (yes, all biases aside) it was the best looking booth at the show.
Canada Post did a fantastic job in presenting its Star Trek theme, and a ton of other topics with Canadian connections. The booth really stood out and, no doubt, was a magnet drawing collectors, as there were always lots of people shopping at the booth every time I looked.
Canadian contributions in philately were also recognized by their worldwide philatelists. As reported elsewhere in this issue, several Canadians who entered the competitive exhibits left the show with gold, silver and vermeil honours. Congratulations to all of them! Canada’s own Charles Verge served as vice-president of the World Stamp Show-NY 2016 jury.
Besides the sea of 4,000-plus exhibit frames, the more than 200 dealer booths and the Court of Honor featuring some of the world’s rarest stamps, there were several classrooms occupied by philatelists eager to draw on the expertise of worldwide collectors. Several Canadians led these workshops and seminars including James Taylor and George Pepall of the RPSC, while the Vincent Graves Greene Philatelic Research Foundation and the Philatelic Specialists Society of Canada (PSSC) co-hosted a meet and greet that was well-attended and provided a great networking opportunity.
Overall, I left New York with a lot of great memories and information from the World Stamp Show but, most importantly, l left knowing Canadian philatelists made a world of difference in New York!