Workers on stamps tell story of Canada’s evolution

The anniversary of Canada’s second-largest postal union was commemorated in 2002. It is the only workers union to be given specific recognition on a Canadian postage stamp.

As Canadians prepare for Labour Day weekend, few people remember it was originally set up to honour unionized workers and had its origin in strife. The first labour parade in Canada was held in 1872 to rally behind a strike by the Toronto Printer’s Union in support of a nine-hour work day. For years, it was held on May 1 – the traditional day it was celebrated in Europe in the late 19th century – but eventually, it was moved to the end of summer. In 1894, Parliament made Labour Day a national statutory holiday to be marked on the first Monday of September. Canada’s early economy was based on agriculture. Even in the early part of the 1900s, a significant portion of our population still worked on the production of food. Canadian industry was only just beginning to take off, and the business of farming was based on horsepower as well as manpower. This was reflected on the 20-cent stamp of the 1928 Scroll Issue (Unitrade #157), which shows farm workers harvesting wheat using a horse-drawn wagon. Continue reading →

Canadian teacher, designer helps create Israeli philatelists World Stamp Show display

This display of commemorative synagogue postmarks, created by award-winning teacher and long-time graphic designer Irving Osterer, was part of the Society of Israel Philatelists’ World Stamp Show display.

Although at this point he considers himself more of a collector than a philatelist, Irving Osterer has his hands in many aspects of the hobby in Canada and abroad. “It was really my first foray into exhibit design, although it’s on my horizon,” said Osterer, a long-time graphic designer who’s also an award-winning teacher and department head at Ottawa’s Merivale High School. “It’s something I’m very interested in doing.” Aside from designing Israel’s first hockey themed stamp in 2009 and producing a series of philatelic projects with his students each year, Osterer also designs the covers for The Israel Philatelist, the quarterly publication of the Society of Israel Philatelists (SIP), of which he is an active member (see sidebar “Israel Philatelists”). Earlier this year, he also began assisting the SIP with its display at the recent World Stamp Show in New York City, where each participating organization was afforded some promotional display space. Continue reading →

Osterer at it again: ‘serendipitous’ Star Trek project goes full circle

Irving Osterer said students were able to bring their finished posters to a boardroom at Canada Post’s Riverside Drive head office, affix stamps, and cancel them with a special Vulcan, Alta. postmark.

w part of the City of Ottawa), has a local reputation of offering the region’s best arts program. Nation-wide, it’s recognized for its endeavours, which include Valentine’s Day covers sent by students to family around the country, and more recently, award-winning designs from a competition celebrating Canada’s upcoming 150th anniversary. “What I try to do is come up with something they each can have a piece of,” said Irving Osterer, the award-winning department head who oversees Merivale’s Fine Arts, Technical Education and Computer Science departments. He’s also the co-ordinator of the school’s Focus program, whose 18 students designed a special poster celebrating the 50th anniversary of the first Star Trek episode as part of a year-end unit teaching printing technologies. “Anybody that’s going into graphic design has to realize there are certain harsh realities in the industry, and one of those harsh realities is you’re going to have to cross all platforms,” said Osterer. “Increasingly, what’s going to happen with young designers is they’re going to have to cross a lot of platforms; you’ll have to take your artwork and prepare it a certain way because even though the artwork is the same, it’s prepared differently for letterpress and offset.” Continue reading →

Big Apple show lives up to world-class billing, Canadians effuse

Canada was strongly represented at the World Stamp Show held May 28 – June 4 at the Javits Center in New York City. From the left are Canadians Ingo Nessel, president of the Philatelic Society of Canada; librarian Kathy Hartley of the Vincent Graves Greene Philatelic Research Foundation; Michel Houde who is very active in the Canadian philatelic community; Maxime S. Herold of Canada Stamp Finder; and, John Jamieson of Saskatoon Stamp Centre. Photo by Mike Walsh.

mpressive, amazing and wow! These are just a few of the words that hit me during my first few hours of being among the thousands of collectors and dealers gathered for the World Stamp Show at the Javits Center, located near New York City’s Times Square. Attending my first World Stamp Show, I was quickly drawn to the massive layout of exhibits. I have never seen such a large number of exhibits and frames under one roof. In fact, Thomas Fortunato, chairman of marketing and public relations, shared with me that the World Stamp Show hosted 706 competitive exhibits, representing 4,146 frames. The most common theme was postal history, representing 29.2 per cent of the exhibits; followed by traditional with 22.4 per cent; and – a distant third – one-frame exhibits with 11.9 per cent of the total competitive exhibits. Now, that’s an exhibition of worldly proportions. Just as impressive was the Canadian presence. Continue reading →

‘Above-average’ National Postage Stamp & Coin Show provides ‘one of the busiest Sundays we’ve seen in a long time’

Les and Trixie Garvey of Garvey & Sons had an ‘above average’ weekend of sales and leads at the inaugural National Postage Stamp and Coin Show held May 13-15, 2016 at Mississauga’s International Centre.

Expectations were exceeded when the hobbies of coin and stamp collecting joined forces in the Greater Toronto Area for Trajan Media’s three-day National Postage Stamp and Coin Show. Les Garvey, owner of Edmonton’s Garvey & Sons, said he enjoyed an “above-average” weekend, adding the final day, May 15, was “one of the busiest Sundays we’ve seen in a long time.” “Our sales were very good. We saw a lot of new collectors and made a lot of new customers, and we come here often, too,” said Garvey, who added he makes the nearly 3,500-kilometre trip east to Toronto four times each year. “Having more customers is always better for business, and with a lot of new people on our mailing list, it makes things much better. It’s always good to meet new collectors.” Sean Isaacs, owner of Alliance Coin and Banknote, echoed those sentiments, adding the show “exceeded my expectations.” Continue reading →

Behind Canada’s secretive, invite-only specialists society

Above is the website of the Philatelic Specialists Society of Canada which is now opening itself up to the philatelic community.

The Philatelic Specialists Society of Canada (PSSC) is finally – after 66 years – opening itself up to the philatelic crowd, and in some unexpected ways. PSSC President Ingo Nessel said the “knowledge-based organization” is looking to grow, although he was sure to explain the “growth and path to growth has to be defined.” “We want to be vibrant and energetic and let Canadian philatelists know what they can look forward to joining once they become more specialized and mature,” he said. “Everybody who’s anybody has been a member, but we’re not just looking for superstars; we want to also encourage people to become superstars in philately.” Nessel concedes stamp collecting is a hobby, something that’s fun and relaxing, but he said there’s another level to the hobby that offers lifelong entertainment and education. Continue reading →

Jamieson celebrates 50th year in philately

John Jamieson, owner of Saskatoon Stamp Centre, at the National Postage Stamp Show in Toronto.

John Jamieson, philatelic expert and owner of Saskatoon Stamp Centre (SSC), is celebrating his 50th year in philately this May. Since May 12, 1966 – Jamieson’s starting date at SSC – he has been serving collectors in Canada and abroad. He had begun collecting only a few years earlier, while in Grade 5, and in the following half-century he earned a reputation as a leading buying and seller of Canadian errors and varieties as well as classic stamps of British North America. Over the years, he has worked with some of Canadian philately’s greatest material, including John Ellis’ unique black essay of Sir Sanford Fleming’s three-penny Beaver stamp (Scott #1); a rare Mint example of the same three-penny Beaver; and the only privately owned Beaver die proof in black, to name but a few. Continue reading →

Stamps depict Star Trek’s most famous technology

Thanks to new lenticular technology, it is now possible to show a lot more motion which is evident in the lenticular souvenir sheets issued as part of Canada Post’s Star Trek series.

Concluding its month-long series celebrating the 50th anniversary of the beloved sci-fi TV show Star Trek, Canada Post has issued the final two stamps, these using lenticular printing in homage to the famed “transporter.” The stamps – issued in lenticular souvenir sheets of varying sizes – were unveiled in Toronto on May 5. Designed by Kosta Tsetsekas, of the Vancouver-based Signals Design Group, these are the first lenticular stamps issued by Canada Post since a 2009 series commemorating the Montreal Canadiens (Scott #2340). Lenticular printing makes images appear, when viewed from different angles, as if they are in motion. The stamps depict Star Trek’s most famous technology – the teleportation machine known as the transporter – and one of its most popular episodes, “The City on the Edge of Forever.” The motion-like effect of lenticular printing brings the beloved series to the “miniature screen,” said Jim Phillips, Canada Post’s director of stamp services. Lenticular was an opportunity to recognize the show’s futuristic vision as well as the special effects that brought it to life, Tsetsekas said. Continue reading →

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