Barrie philatelist researching retailers’ letters from Santa

This 1918 cover, franked with a 1911 one-cent King George V stamp (Scott #104), includes another ‘letter from Santa Claus.’

Barrie philatelist Dave Hanes is researching Canadian letters from Santa Claus for a forthcoming book slated to be published by the British North America Philatelic Society (BNAPS). Hanes is compiling a listing of letters from Santa sent via iconic Canadian retailers T. Eaton Company (commonly known as Eaton’s) and the Robert Simpson Company (known as Simpsons since 1972). “It’s history that a lot of people have seen, but they’ve never taken any great interest in it,” said Hanes, who has been a member of the Philatelic Specialists Society of Canada (PSSC) for about a decade. “I’m getting older now, and I’d like to see this stuff recorded for posterity.” Eaton’s Toyland, which was the retailer’s fifth-floor Christmastime toy section, began writing letters from Santa as early as 1909. The earliest known letter – “so far,” added Hanes with cautious optimism – was written on Eaton’s letterhead. Continue reading →

Canada Post issues ‘stop selling’ Hanukkah covers and booklets

The original booklet of 10 stamps (right) depicted the Star of David on the cover. It was replaced with the left side of a menorah on the reprinted version (left).

The day after being unveiled in Toronto, and only one day before it was slated to go on sale across the country, the new Hanukkah stamp issued by Canada Post was removed from display and returned to head office because of what the Crown corporation called “a design issue” with the stamp booklet and first-day cover. Initially slated for release on Nov. 14 as a booklet of 10, the Hanukkah stamp was unveiled on Nov. 12 at the Starry Nights event held at the Toronto Reference Library’s Bram and Bluma Appel Salon. However, according to a Canada Post memo sent to all dealer post offices on Nov. 13, entitled “IMPORTANT: Stop selling Hanukkah stamp products immediately,” the booklet (product code “414066111”) and official first-day cover (product code “414066131”) were ordered to be “immediately removed from display and returned.” “These products are not to be sold to customers and they are also no longer available through mail order or online,” reads the memo, which also explains “the reprinted version” of the stamp booklets and OFDC would “be back on sale in the next coming weeks.” The products were to be returned no later than Nov. 22. Post offices were also requested to remove the November 2017 issue of Details magazine, which featured the original Hanukkah products on page 10. Continue reading →

National Postage Stamp & Coin Show continues to grow

Dealer Hugo Deshaye (left), of Québec City, on the bourse of the National Postage Stamp and Coin Show with eight-year-old Jack Nixon, of Toronto, who recently won the American Philatelic Society Youth Grand Champion of Champions award. Photo by Jesse Robitaille.

The biannual National Postage Stamp and Coin Show returned to the Greater Toronto Area this October for its fourth showing since 2015, when Trajan Media took the reigns of what was then known as the National Postage Stamp Show. Nearly 1,000 collectors attended the Oct. 28-29 show, and they were greeted by a familiar 9,000-square-foot bourse located in the Hilton Mississauga’s Graydon Hall, which has been the show’s home since last spring. “I liked that there’s a mix of postal history and postcard vendors,” said collector and award-winning exhibitor Leon Matthys about the bourse, which included 25 dealers of all kinds of philatelic material as well as about two dozen numismatic dealers. “If I had more time, I bet I’d have ventured into uncharted territories and browsed the coin merchants for non-philatelic ephemera such as medals, badges, pins and tokens.” Matthys added the event was “a breeze for drivers” with free on-site parking at the hotel, which is located directly off Highway 401 on Mississauga Road. Continue reading →

Canpex 2017 Grand Award features ‘extraordinary’ research, rare covers

Rob Leigh’s five-frame exhibit, ‘The Western District of Upper Canada: The Development of Postal Communications and Postal Markings, 1800-1850,’ won the Grand Award at Canpex this October. Photo by Jesse Robitaille.

A five-frame exhibit entitled “The Western District of Upper Canada: The Development of Postal Communications and Postal Markings, 1800-1850” was the big winner at Canpex 2017. Created by Rob Leigh, the Grand Award-winning exhibit was one of eight Large Gold winners among 35 total exhibits at the national show held in London, Ont. on Oct. 14-15. Leigh’s exhibit – his first exhibit ever – was only being shown for the second time ever in a competitive exhibition. It also won the British North America Philatelic Society (BNAPS) Best BNA Exhibit Award and BNA Postal History Award as well as the Philatelic Specialists Society of Canada (PSSC) Canada Research Award. “Rob’s exhibit was what I consider an extremely fine showing of an area of postal history that is most important; that is, with a major emphasis on how postal services followed the development of the Western District,” said Chief Judge Steve Reinhard, of Mineola, N.Y. “Research shown was extraordinary, and the rarity of many of the covers excelled. I hope that Rob will show this exhibit in the Champion of Champions competition being held in Columbus, Ohio next August.” Continue reading →

‘Magnificent’ China stamps highlight Eastern fall sale

A complete set of imperforate corner blocks from the 1962 Stage Art of Mei Lan-fang issue is being offered as Lot 21 of Eastern Auction’s Nov. 3-4 sale. Issued by the People’s Republic of China, this lot has a catalogue value of $117,000.

A “magnificent and very fine set” of sought-after imperforate stamps issued in 1962 by the People’s Republic of China is expected to bring big money at a New Brunswick auction this November. Described as an “outstanding complete set” of imperforate corner blocks from the 1962 Stage Art of Mei Lan-fang issue (Scott #620-627), the stamps are being offered as Lot 21 of the two-day sale hosted by New Brunswick’s Eastern Auctions. Altogether, the 18-stamp set – one of nearly 1,100 lots from the Max Goldman Estate – has a catalogue value of $117,000. “Advanced collectors are well aware that these are rarely offered on the marketplace and will receive much attention and spirited bidding,” said Yohann Tanguay, chief describer at Eastern Auctions. “I don’t think there will be much demand coming out of Canada. I wouldn’t be surprised if most of the Chinese stamps are sold primarily in Hong Kong, the U.S., Europe and of course China.” Other popular People’s Republic of China items, which will be offered on Nov. 3 as Lots 1-124, include Lot 37, an “extraordinary” offering of six miniature sheets of the 1962 $3 Stage Art of Mea Lan-fang issue (Scott #628). Continue reading →

‘Ultimate Six’ Canadian hockey legends commemorated

The six stamps include (clockwise from top left) Maurice Richard; Jean Béliveau; Mario Lemieux; Wayne Gretzky; Bobby Orr; and Gordie Howe.

A week before the drops the puck on the 2017-18 National Hockey League (NHL) season, Canada Post unveiled its final instalment of the five-year NHL stamp collection at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto. The 2017 Canadian Hockey Legends issue includes Maurice Richard and Jean Béliveau (Montréal Canadiens); Gordie Howe (Detroit Red Wings); Bobby Orr (Boston Bruins); Mario Lemieux (Pittsburgh Penguins); and Wayne Gretzky (Edmonton Oilers). As a group, the all-star lineup scored more than 9,500 points in almost 7,000 regular-season games, won 40 Stanley Cups – 30 as players and another 10 as management – and more than 80 individual awards. "The players we immortalized on this year's stamps redefined hockey over careers that spanned more than 60 years. They inspired us – and each other – with feats that boggle the mind. They are the ultimate six," said Canada Post president and CEO Deepak Chopra. "We hope that by issuing these stamps during the NHL's centennial, we have helped make this milestone year for the NHL even more special.” Continue reading →

Majors’ rate study exhibit earns Grand at BNAPEX

The Order of the Beaver (OTB) elected three new members, who were inducted during the Calgary Awards Banquet, held at the 2017 Calgary BNAPEX. From the left are OTB Vice-Chairman H. Michael Street, new inductees Eldon Godfrey and Dave Bartlet and OTB President William C. (Bill) Walton. Leo Beaudet of Ottawa was also elected to the OTB but was unable to attend the banquet. Established in 1968, the OTB consists of BNAPS members who have: provided distinguished service to BNAPS; contributed to organized philately in general; shared and advanced philatelic knowledge through exhibiting and/or writing; and attended and participated regularly at the annual BNAPEX conventions. Photo by Erika Peter.

This September, esteemed exhibitor Ronald E. Majors was awarded the BNAPS Horace Harrison Grand Award for his rate study of decimal-franked and stampless covers from the mid-19th century. Entitled “Canadian Postal History: A Rate Study using Decimal-Franked and Stampless Covers (1859-1868),” the exhibit was “the best representation of the postal history of the period ever put together,” according to Chief Judge Victor Willson, of Texas. “Mr. Majors’ exhibit covered the uses of Canada’s second set of stamps, which coincided with a great increase in Canadian trade and communication. The shift from pence to cents as the Canadian currency acknowledged the shift in trade balance from England to the U.S. as well,” said Willson. “Several previous BNAPEX high-level exhibits had focused on this issue, and Mr. Majors’ exceeded them all, having incorporated much of those into it over the years.” Continue reading →

PHSC taking on a new life

Postal History Society of Canada (PHSC) President Stéphane Cloutier signs his name in The Royal Philatelic Society of Canada’s Fellows book at this summer’s Royal Convention in Boucherville, Qué.

The Postal History Society of Canada (PHSC) hosted its annual general meeting during the society’s inaugural four-day symposium this July. The key takeaway, according to PHSC President Stéphane Cloutier, was the recent surge in membership leading up to the July 20-23 symposium in Hamilton. “We’ve recently had a big boom in members, and that started before the symposium, but the symposium helped a lot,” said Cloutier, who has served as president of the society for eight years and secretary-treasurer for another eight years before that. “From Jan. 1 to the date of the symposium we had 26 new members join, bringing our total to 416,” he added. “We’ve not passed the 400 mark for years and years, ever since I can remember being secretary-treasurer.” And with no signs of slowing down, the society’s membership has continued to grow since this summer’s symposium. “We’re currently sitting at 428 members, so since the symposium we’ve added 12. That’s good news.” Continue reading →

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