Collectors on the hunt for ‘experimental’ kiosk stamps

The first 18-digit code version of 2016 British-style horizontal artwork postage labels sold briefly from an experimental kiosk machine at a Vancouver specialty Canada Post centre when it opened Oct. 31.

There is a rush on by some dealers and collectors seeking a new series of illustrated “experimental” computer-vended Canadian postage labels. They are being sold from recently-installed dispensers installed on kiosks at three 24-hour “Concept Store” postal stations in British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario. Like the previous program launched in late 2012 and cancelled seven months later, there was no official public announcement about the current stamps. Staff were notified internally about the “New print-on-demand postage service at concept stores!” via Canada Post Magazine in October. The colorful ‘print-on-demand’ issues, which feature five different landscape paintings by Canadian artists, first went on sale Oct. 31 at the new downtown Vancouver main post office.They resemble similar self-stick “Post & Go” labels sold in Great Britain for more than 10 years. Continue reading →

Saskatoon Stamp Club president talks ups and downs of the hobby

Saskatoon Stamp Club President Ernie Wlock at the 54th Annual Saskatoon Coin and Stamp Show and Sale, held Oct. 29-30 in Saskatoon, Sask. (Photo by Kathy Hartley)

Ernie Wlock, the long-time president of the Saskatoon Stamp Club (SSC), recently announced his plans to retire from his role as president by the end of the year. Wlock, who’s also a director-at-large with The Royal Philatelic Society of Canada (RPSC), is known around the country for his philatelic philosophies. Since joining the SSC as a member in 1991, he has encouraged its members to actively participate in the hobby as well as the club’s activities; and since becoming club president in 2004, he has made it his duty to promote the club and the hobby to non-members, too. “I’ve done what I wanted to do with the club,” said Wlock, whose two stints as SSC president ran from December 2004-November 2008 and December 2010 until next month, when he will step down. Continue reading →

PSSC honours long-time philatelist Peter Butler

Attendees of the 62nd Annual Banquet of the Philatelic Specialists Society of Canada congratulate society member and program co-ordinator Peter Butler on his philatelic achievements. On the right, is his wife Susan Butler.

Before a presentation by guest speaker John Walsh – owner of Walsh’s Philatelic Service in St. John’s, N.L., and publisher of the Newfoundland Specialized Stamp Catalogue and British North America Specialized Stamp Catalogue – there was an award presentation to PSSC Program Co-ordinator Peter Butler. Mike Walsh, publisher of Canadian Stamp News, presented Butler with the award, which was an oversized, framed front-page cover of CSN; however, instead of the usual news of the week, this front page included photographs of Butler alongside text from the various speeches given by his colleagues. Continue reading →

Both classic and modern material hotly contested in Halifax

The highest price of the October Eastern Auctions sale was paid for a set of die proofs of 1875 Registration stamps. The three lots, sold as a single item, realized more than $50,000.

Bidding was strong at two auctions held in Halifax in late October by Eastern Auctions Ltd. The first sale featured collections formed by the late Mel Baron. According to auctioneer Gary Lyon, demand from mail, phone, and floor bidders was strong throughout the sale, with many lots bringing prices well over the estimates. “The section of imperforates was the most complete ever offered,” he said. A set of tete-beche Admiral issue booklet panes sold for $40,250. An imperf pair of the two-cent green Arch issue realized $16,100, while a block of four of the three-cent Medallion die II realized $9,775. Modern issues included an imperforate four-cent Cameo coil strip that brought an astounding $24,150. Continue reading →

Learn the genuine to know the fakes, says longtime philatelic researcher

From left to right: Philatelic fake, forgery and counterfeit expert Ken Pugh, of Vernon, B.C., poses with Garfield Portch, Ian Robertson and Sid Mensinga of the West Toronto Stamp Club, for which he made a presentation on Oct. 18.

It takes careful thought and consideration, but there are ways – and thankfully machines – to detect even the most meticulously crafted philatelic fakes, forgeries and counterfeits. This was the message on Oct. 18, when more than 30 philatelists gathered at a meeting of the West Toronto Stamp Club for a presentation by Canada’s pre-eminent philatelic forgery expert. Attendees came from as far away as White Rock, B.C., for the first of three presentations led by Ken Pugh, the author of an 11-part series on the forgeries of British North America (BNA), among other areas of collecting. It’s somewhat alarming for a philatelist to hear: Pugh has 36 books in his series on the fakes and forgeries of BNA and Canada alone; that’s in addition to five books on Buenos Aires and others on Uruguay, Serbia and the Belgian Congo. Each book is between 50 and 150 pages, making for nearly 4,000 pages of reference material on philatelic fakes and forgeries from the world over. Continue reading →

Stamp art dazzles at Toronto’s First Post Office

Chen uses pencil crayons to produce her drawings, to which she also affixes cancelled stamps. They are postcard-sized pieces of art, according to one attendee.

Stamps and pencil crayons are helping one artist stay “on the bright side” of things. Oct. 6 was the opening reception for “On the Bright Side: The Stamp Art of Celine Chen,” a new exhibit hosted by the Town of York Historical Society at Toronto’s First Post Office (TFPO). It will be on display until Jan. 20, 2017. “Stamps, to most people, are something they almost cannot relate to anymore,” Chen said. “Honestly, when was the last time I mailed something out?” Nevertheless, her love for stamps – “especially the old ones that have been cancelled” – persists Continue reading →

Baron collection offers ‘great number of rarities’

One of the covers in a complete set of King George VI war effort stamps, with a block of four $1 destroyers and a warship cachet, sent by registered mail from Toronto terminal A.

For the first time in years, a seminal collection of first-day covers (FDCs) will go on the block when Eastern Auctions sells the Baron Collections on Oct. 28. Yohann Tanguay, of Eastern, said the collection was assembled over decades – as early as the late 1960s – and was then held and enjoyed by the family for many years before being consigned. “When you go through the binders, the comments were all put in using a typewriter,” Tanguay said. Melvin Baron was particularly interested in first-day covers. His collection formed the basis of a series of articles written with Stan Lum from 1977 to 1982. Continue reading →

Royal success complements society’s exceptional year

Attendees of this year’s Convention of The Royal Philatelic Society of Canada were treated to a high-quality bourse and an exceptional display of exhibits according to society president George Pepall.

The 88th convention of the Royal Philatelic Society of Canada (RPSC) has come to a close, and its success reflects a similarly strong year for “Canada’s national stamp club.” RPSC president George Pepall, who’s also treasurer of the Kitchener-Waterloo Philatelic Society (KWPS), host club for this year’s event, said upwards of 600 attendees were treated to top-level exhibits and a high-quality bourse over the Aug. 19-21 weekend. “We had a post-Royal meeting, and the overall perception of the event was very positive,” said Pepall. “We had fewer dealers than we would have wanted because of the very unusual timing of the event in August, but we got such good feedback from the dealers, about their sales and what they had to offer, that we’re happy for them.” Continue reading →

Semi-postals serve to help communities

Canada’s first semi-postal stamps were issued to help pay for Canada’s first Olympic games, hosted by Montreal in 1976.

he main purpose of stamps, of course, is to prove pre-payment of postage, but sometimes they can do good work for society as well. That is the case of semi-postals, a special sort of stamp that also raises money for good causes. The concept goes back much further than many collectors realize. In 1890, Great Britain issued the first semi-postal, a postcard with a five penny surcharge over the penny postage rate. The extra money was put into a fund to benefit postal workers. The idea caught on quick, and by the early 1900s they were becoming quite popular in Europe. In 1913 Switzerland issued the first semi-postal in the Pro Juvente series. The series, which supports a charity of the same name which provides programs for children with mental and physical handicaps, continues to this day. The first stamps in the series go back even further, to a group of three 10-centime labels with no postage value, sold through the post office. Continue reading →

Canadian postal records thrive online

The Canadian Museum of History can take users to the postal archives, a highly detailed online collection of this country’s stamps.

For years, one of the best-kept secrets of Canadian postal history was the Canadian Postal Museum. Tucked away in a back corner of the top floor of the Museum of Civilization, in Gatineau, across the river from Ottawa, the museum contained a collection of one of every Canadian stamp, and galleries covering the history of postal service in Canada. It didn’t get a lot of attention. I received a guided tour of the museum in 2010. When we got to the postal section, my official guide said he didn’t know much about the stamps and left me to my own resources. Compared with the main exhibits, there were few tourists taking in the stamps. In 2012, the museum was closed. At that time, the Museum of Civilization announced it would move the stamp collection into a new gallery, incorporate philately into other exhibits, and build on virtual exhibits on the museum’s website. The collection reopened in 2014 with more than 3,000 stamp exhibits in a gallery on the first level. Continue reading →

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