Expertising a needed and growing service

The expertising service is on the front line of the war against those people who alter stamps, often seeking windfall profits as a result of some of this tampering. I’m not talking about someone who soaks a stamp to clean off grime, or even may use an eraser to eliminate a tiny pencil mark. There are people out there who intentionally alter the colour of a stamp, or remove a cancellation, or even change the back of a stamp to a different sort of paper. The problem is, even experts can make a mistake. For that reason most services are prepared to explain the reasons behind their decision, and even agree to reconsider when a reasonable case is presented. But one big advantage of having a stamp expertised is that it can be bought and sold with a fair amount of confidence that it is the genuine item. Continue reading →

Collecting world still leaves room for mystery

We sometimes imply that there is a sort of natural evolution; that the collector starts out just accumulating, then eventually develops a plan, and finally becomes serious. At that point they start thinking about publishing and exhibiting. I don’t think that is always the case. I know some very experienced collectors who sort of do both things at once. They have a serious collection, which takes up most of their collecting budget and a chunk of time, and one or two fun collections which have little value but give them great pleasure. We also know generalist collectors, who take their hobby very seriously. My point here is that whatever you call it, the hobby is just not something that is easy to sum up in a single sentence. It is not just about acquisition, and it is not just about study, and for way too many of us, it is not just about profit. Continue reading →

Cool new Canadian stamps tough to track down

Yet I remember very clearly a set of British stamps issued in 1966 to mark the 900th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings and the Norman Conquest. Granted those stamps, based on the famous Bayeux Tapestries, with scenes of arms, armour, and combat, had a lot more appeal for a young boy, but I think it was also the colour and vitality of the stamps. Face it, in the 1960s, Canadian stamps, while artistically well done, were often somewhat conservative in tone. What I am stating here is pretty obvious. However, in the more recent history there has been a dramatic change, not just in the look and style, but in the content. Continue reading →

More of the same… or is it?

Frankly, I wondered if we would see similar changes in the regular stamp lineup. The truth is, stamp programs have some flexibility, but the 2013 issues were well on the road to being settled months ago. What I do see are a couple of interesting issues such as motorcycles and ghost stories, which seem a bit out of the ordinary. But on a second look, they are not that much different from issues such as Canadian motor vehicles, and the spooky stamp month issue of some 15 or more years ago. The truth is, this stamp program, with the exception of some as-yet-undefined special effects, is not that different from those of past years. Continue reading →

CFL still biggest game in some towns

Weather permitting, we played football in backyards, inventing ways to play two-on-one, or even two-on-three, running the length of the yard for a down, then turning around and running the other way for a touchdown. For me, life was simple and Russ Jackson was the king. Then, over the years, something happened. When I moved to southern Ontario I discovered that the most populated part of Canada, star-struck by the drawing power of our neighbours to the south, was enamoured with the National Football League. What’s your favourite team? was more likely to bring a response such as Miami or Buffalo, instead of Ottawa or Hamilton. One day, a friend of mine remarked, “They will hold a Grey Cup game in Toronto and nobody in the city will notice.” I’ve seen that happen twice. Continue reading →

Universal health care a newer, but defining Canadian detail

That short history lesson reminds us that something we have come to take for granted really is quite a recent innovation. So it is nice to see a stamp that reminds us that this part of our identity is so very new; much newer than Confederation. I often joke that Canadians often define themselves in two ways: one, that they have universal health care, and two, that they are not residents of the United States. If that’s the case, these stamps are very truly Canadian. Continue reading →

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