‘Inner workings’ of Canada Post’s Stamp Advisory Committee explained

Canada Post Director of Stamp Services Jim Phillips led one of three educational seminars at the National Postage Stamp and Coin Show on March 25-26.

Working about 24 months in advance from concept to completion, Canada Post’s Stamp Advisory Committee has the sometimes-arduous task of reviewing and recommending ideas for Canada’s stamp program. While it can be a daunting responsibility, it’s one that’s also cherished by those who are lucky enough to participate in it. “We’re very honoured to be able to have that role at Canada Post, and we take that role very seriously,” said Director of Stamp Services Jim Phillips, who added he often corrects people who refer to Canada’s stamps as “Canada Post stamps.” “Those are Canadian stamps. Those are the stamps we’re issuing for Canada, and we cherish that role and try to do the best we can to meet all the different needs for all the different communities who are interested in postage.” While explaining Canada Post’s stamp-issuing policies and guiding principles during an hour-long educational seminar at the National Postage Stamp and Coin Show on March 25, Phillips also shined a light on what he calls the “inner workings” of the Stamp Advisory Committee. Continue reading →

Long-time dealer Issie Baum ready to sell topical business

Montreal’s Isidore ‘Issie’ Baum estimates he has upwards of 600 square feet of stamps scattered throughout his home, where he runs two businesses: Judaica Sales, and Wonderful World of Stamps, the latter of which is currently up for sale.

Long-time philatelic dealer Isidore “Issie” Baum has announced his intention to sell his topical business, Wonderful World of Stamps, which he started more than 30 years ago. “If somebody walked in and wanted to buy my business, I’d sell it tomorrow,” said Baum, adding “2016 ended with a bang.” Although he feels like he’s in good health, Baum was diagnosed with low- to intermediate-risk prostate cancer late last year, around the same time his wife, Zila, suffered a minor heart attack; however, the 76-year-old philatelic aficionado said his business has outgrown his desires. “I have to cut back for a number of reasons, not the least of which I have so much stuff here that if I were to drop dead tomorrow my wife would be inundated,” he said. “It’s getting to be too much, and I can’t keep up with all of it.” Despite his current hang-up, Baum – always jovial – said “everything is fine.” “I feel great, and I’ve been told there would probably not be any effects. I feel good, and I’m out and about working every day.” Baum owns two businesses, Judaica Sales, which boasts the largest stock of Judaica material in the world, and the aforementioned Wonderful World of Stamps, which focuses on worldwide topical material. “It’s time to let somebody else at it,” he said, of his topical business, adding he’s not selling solely for health reasons. “I don’t anticipate anything happening – I will finish radiation and keep well – but it’s my back and my knee. I can’t travel unless I can ensure someone can help load.” Continue reading →

Garcelon sale nets ‘strong’ bids

Lot 465 featured a well-centered block of eight 1897 eight-cent orange (Unitrade #72) on vertical wove paper. With original gum and never hinged, it sold for $4,000, compared to a pre-sale estimate of $3,000-plus.

The Garcelon sale brings to a close a stamp story that started in 1932 when Ralph O. Garcelon, a collector who discovered he liked buying and selling stamps more than collecting them, opened up the Garcelon Stamp Company, in St. Stephen, N.B. At first he worked out of a room on the family farm, but by the 1950s the company had its own building and more than 60 employees. The company continued to grow, moving into a larger building in 1962. Much of Garcelon’s business was done in the United States. St. Stephen is a border town, and Garcelon used a post office box in Calais, Maine, to sell US stamps to customers. He was an aggressive advertiser, appearing in newspapers, magazines, and comic books all over North America. Continue reading →

Topical opportunities at every philatelic corner

The 2007 ‘Canadian Recording Artists’ series featured Canadian music legends Gordon Lightfoot (Scott #2221a), Joni Mitchell (SC #2221b), Anne Murray (SC #2221c) and Paul Anka (SC #2221d).

There’s arguably never been a better time to be a topical exhibitor. As noted by CSN Consulting Editor Ian Robertson in his recent story on the Royal Mail’s unveiling of a 10-stamp issue featuring David Bowie, these kinds of stamps are popular around the world. “Commemoratives featuring entertainers are popular and several small countries have issued stamps featuring Bowie,” wrote Robertson, who’s also vice-president of the West Toronto Stamp Club. The 10-stamp set was unveiled Jan. 25, nearly a year after Bowie died following an 18-month battle with cancer. Although Royal Mail has previously honoured bands and groups – namely the Beatles in 2010 and Pink Floyd in 2015 – this is the first time the British postal service has dedicated an entire issue to an individual musician or cultural figure. Continue reading →

Black History Month, Canadian Opera, Daisies coming next from Canada Post

A Permanent-rate stamp commemorating Mathieu Da Costa was issued recently by Canada Post as part of its Black History Month issue. This official first-day cover was cancelled in Tadoussac, Que.

Canada Post recently issued its annual Black History Month stamp, and this year’s commemoration focuses on a historical figure who continues to fascinate and confound scholars. Little is known about Mathieu Da Costa, but from the few records that remain, historians conclude he was a free man who earned a living as an interpreter for Europeans, who were trading with Indigenous people in the New World. Believed to be of African or even Euro-African descent, his connection to Canada came in 1608 – the year Samuel de Champlain founded the city of Québec – when Da Costa signed a contract to work for Pierre Dugua de Mons, a French fur-trader, explorer and governor of Acadia. “While the full story of Mathieu Da Costa may never be known, interest in his life and in his unique connection with our country is a reminder of the values of respect, acceptance and diversity that Canadians cherish,” said Canada Post President and CEO Deepak Chopra. With no portrait of Da Costa available, designer Andrew Perro and illustrator Ron Dollekamp worked closely with Canadian historical illustrator and storyboard artist Francis Back to ensure the period clothing and sailing ship reflect De Costa’s time and socio-economic milieu. As with all stamps issued in 2017, the Black History stamp will contain references to Canada’s sesquicentennial that are only visible with a black light. Continue reading →

Eastern Auctions features Garcelon Stamp Company

Lot 357 features a group of 34 Toronto geometric fancy cancelled covers and six postcards, all from 1870 to 1874. It has an estimate of $1,000.

The final chapter in a Canadian stamp story will come to a close Feb. 25, when Eastern Auctions sells the final inventory of the Garcelon Stamp Company of St. Stephen, N.B. The business, familiar to most old-time collectors, was formed in 1932 by Ralph O. Garcelon, a collector who discovered he enjoyed buying and selling stamps more than collecting them. At first he worked out of a room on the family farm, but by the 1950s the company had its own building and more than 60 employees. The company continued to grow, moving into a larger building in 1962. Much of Garcelon's business was done in the United States. St. Stephen is a border town, and Garcelon used a post office box in Calais, Maine, to sell U.S. stamps to customers. He was an aggressive advertiser, appearing in newspapers, magazines, and comic books all over North America. Continue reading →

New definitives seemed eerily familiar

The 2016 Canadian UNESCO heritage sites consisted of five stamps, including Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump in Alberta.

In a case of déjà-stamp – you thought you’d seen them before – the UNESCO set of five P-denominated 85-cent definitives released on Jan. 11 repeat the designs of the five larger-format 2014 commemoratives that feature photos of World Heritage Sites in Canada. They are: Canyon cliffs at Head-Smashed-in-Buffalo Jump, Alta.; the harbour at Lunenburg, N.S. and the Landscape of Grand Pré, N.S., on $1.20 stamps (Scott #2739a-41, 2739b-40 and 2739c-42); plus an evergreen forest at SGang Gwaay, B.C.; and the Rideau Canal beside Parliament Hill in Ottawa, on $2.50 stamps (SC #2739d-43, 2739e-44). The same photographs provided by Ward Isnor, François Gaudet, the Alberta government, Brodie Guy, and Tourism Ottawa were again used by Lime Design Inc. The Victoria, B.C. firm’s staff placed small red and white Maple Leaf flags in the bottom-left corners of the 2016 definitives, beside “CANADA” in red and white lettering, with the “P” symbol in black lettering within small white maple leaves to the right. Continue reading →

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 →

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