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 →

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 →

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