By Jesse Robitaille
It’s exciting news: the World Stamp Show NY2016 is right around the corner.
Held under the patronage of the Fédération Internationale de Philatélie and sponsored by the American Philatelic Society, the highly anticipated, once-in-a-decade show is free to attend. Spread across 294,000 square feet of Manhattan’s Javits Convention Center, located at 655 W. 34th St., the eight-day show will see upwards of 300,000 philatelists; more than 200 dealers; 100-plus philatelic societies; and about 50 postal administrations from around the world come together to celebrate this great hobby between May 28 and June 4.
“If you have never attended a World Stamp Show, you are in for a mind-blowing event,” said Ron E. Majors, co-editor of BNA Topics, the quarterly publication of the British North America Philatelic Society (BNAPS).
Although it’s a costly trip for Canadians – the exchange rate “works against us Canadians,” said George Pepall, president of The Royal Philatelic Society of Canada (RPSC) – the show’s scale and scope is unmatched not to be undervalued.
“The scale of the thing is the one point that has to be made,” said Pepall. “The number of dealers and the number of superb exhibits will … give attendees the opportunity to see virtually anything that anybody specializes in. There’s a good chance a person’s specialty will be there as part of a world-class exhibit.” (see “Thousands of exhibit frames at upcoming World Stamp Show” on page 22)
Another positive aspect of the World Stamp Show is how it brings people together, said Pepall.
“It brings people together that have never met before, or if they have met before, they’re happy to be reunited.”
And while it can be expensive for Canadians to attend, Pepall said there are “thousands of people coming from much greater distances.”
“We’ll hear a chatter of different languages,” he said. “I’m personally looking forward to meeting a senior rep of the French philatelic organization. That’s a good example: you have a specialty from another part of the world, and chances are excellent for meeting people like that and maybe forming a bond and – who knows – maybe trading some stamps with them.”
Pepall, who attended the previous World Philatelic Exhibition in 2006, asserted Canadians should “make every effort to get there because it is an extraordinary opportunity.”
After all, it’ll be the largest stamp show held in the U.S. since Washington, D.C. hosted the 2006 show (and the first international stamp show to be held in New York since FIPEX in 1956).
“I’m sure New York will do Washington one better, but it was a wonderful way to get a sense of the scope, complexity, opportunities and energy that will be palpable right there.”
If you’re feeling a bit homesick in New York – which, to be honest, is unlikely in such a phenomenal philatelic environment – you can visit Table No. 881, which will be shared and staffed by members of The Postal History Society of Canada (PHSC), RPSC and BNAPS (see “BNAPS looking for World Stamp Show NY2016 volunteers” on page 22).
What’s more, on May 31 from 1 p.m.-3 p.m., the Toronto-based Vincent Graves Greene Philatelic Research Foundation will host a joint meeting with the Philatelic Specialists of Canada.
Then, on June 3 at 10 a.m., the RPSC will host a Canada-themed seminar organized by RPSC director and international liason Jim Taylor.
“We’re having several philatelic presentations, including a wonderful PowerPoint presentation on young and beginning collectors,” said Pepall. “It’s about 15 slides with very simple texts and very interesting stamps.”
Lastly, on June 3 at 7 p.m., the RPSC will host a dinner at the “reasonably priced” Westside Restaurant at 597 10th Ave. The dinner is open to anyone who wishes to attend, although space is limited to 15 people, and 13 spots have been taken by time of printing.
Majors said the Javits Convention Center will have separate rooms available for presentations, meetings and social events, among other things; however, he added, “you have to sign up for them.”
Majors said information about hotel accommodations is available online.
“I would suggest that members of all three societies sign up as soon as possible. I think the lower cost options will fill up fast,” he said. “At least in June the weather should be tolerable.”
For the latest information on this “mind-blowing” happening, visit NY2016.org.