Robin Harris to visit Toronto for three evening lectures

Esteemed philatelist Robin Harris, of Seddons Corner, Man., is slated to present three free evening lectures in Toronto this October.

The Harry Sutherland Library, which is a part of the Vincent Graves Greene Philatelic Research Foundation (VGG), recently announced the dates of the lectures as well as its new extended hours.

On Oct. 6 at 7 p.m., Harris will present a lecture titled “Simplifying the Machins” to the West Toronto Stamp Club’s (WTSC) Machin Study Group. It will be hosted at the Fairfield Seniors’ Centre on 80 Lothian Ave. in Etobicoke, Ont.

Esteemed philatelist Robin Harris will present three evening lectures in Toronto on Oct. 6-8.

Manitoba’s Robin Harris will present three evening lectures in Toronto on Oct. 6-8.

“Without a doubt, Robin is one of the most knowledgeable people in Canada on this subject,” said Vice-President of the VGG Garfield Portch, who added the upcoming lectures would attract three different types of collectors. “He maintains a highly informative website on the subject and is frequently quoted and referred to by the specialist collectors in Britain.”

Portch said this first lecture would appeal to collectors who aspire to specialize in Machins, adding those with “only a passing interest will likely be overwhelmed.”

Harris, who has even developed his own Machin sorting method, will be handing out his 28-page sorting guide free for attendees.

“My sorting tips help to simplify sorting Machins to a point that will be useful for 95 per cent of collectors,” said Harris.

The following day at 7 p.m., Harris will present a more general lecture on the history of the Unitrade Specialized Catalogue of Canadian Stamps, of which he has been the editor since 2004. This lecture will take place at the VGG on 10 Summerhill Ave. in Toronto.

“Since Robin is the editor, there is likely no one who better understands the history and the direction of the publication,” said Portch, who’s also a director with the WTSC and a Fellow of The Royal Philatelic Society of Canada (RPSC). “This lecture should appeal to anyone who is interested in Canadian stamps and also to those who are curious as to why certain things are listed and others not.”

Harris, who has given this presentation three times in the past decade, said it has recently been updated to include the forthcoming 2016 catalogue.

“This will give a history of the Unitrade over the last 11 editions, since I became editor,” added Harris. “It will give a good insight into the content of the catalogue, which many collectors are really unaware of.”

Lastly, on Oct. 8 at 7:30 p.m., Harris will present a lecture titled “Lowe-Martin Serpentine Die Cutting” to the North Toronto Stamp Club (NTSC) at the Yorkminster Park Baptist Church on 1585 Yonge St. in Toronto.

“Robin will discuss the serpentine perforations and die cut stamps produced by Lowe-Martin,” said Portch, who added this “brand new field of philatelic information … is of critical importance to collectors of modern Canadian stamps.”

Harris’ research, which includes an extensive 56-page article on Lowe-Martin’s serpentine die cutting as well as a suitable perforation gauge, is leading the way in this new field, said Portch.

Harris added this article would also be given for free to attendees of this lecture.

“This will be a good introduction to the specialized aspects of these coil stamps,” he said. “It will provide collectors with a background to the nearly 6,700 uniquely different varieties found on just 26 different definitives.”

Admission, handouts and refreshments will be free at all three lectures.

“I plan to attend all three sessions as I believe that the info being presented is of critical importance to my Machin collection and to my expertizing endeavours at the Greene Foundation,” said Portch.


The Harry Sutherland Library also recently announced its updated hours (see table below) as well as another book sale.

VGG Librarian Kathy Hartley said in addition to the library’s regular hours (Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m.-4 p.m.), visitors can now use the facilities on the first Saturday of each month (also between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.) and on the fourth Wednesday of each month before the Greater Toronto Area Philatelic Alliance meetings.

On Oct. 7 from 5 p.m.-6:30 p.m., the library will also host a book sale. No early birds will be accepted.

For more information on Harris’ lectures or to receive a list of the book sale items, email Hartley at


Monday 10 a.m. 4 p.m.
Tuesday 10 a.m. 4 p.m.
Wednesday 10 a.m. 4 p.m. Open until 7 p.m. on fourth Wednesday of each month
Thursday 10 a.m. 4 p.m.
Saturday 10 a.m. 4 p.m. Only open on the first Saturday of each month

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