Canadian collector issues annual Christmas-themed Picture Postage

West-coast collector Peter Lepold, a prolific Picture Postage issuer, shows some holiday spirit with the latest design from his annual Christmas series.

“The first one was a picture of Max, our goldendoodle, in a snow globe reading ‘MaXmas,’” said Lepold, the publicity chair of British Columbia’s Kelowna & District Stamp Club, who added the Christmas series dates back to 2012.

In 2013, his daughter’s dog Rocco joined Max on that year’s stamp, and in 2014, the doggy duo was superimposed on ornaments. More recently, in 2017, the dogs’ heads were added to a Nutcracker design. Last year’s issue saw the dogs wearing Santa hats, and this year they’re donning face masks—“accomplished with treats, not Photoshopped,” Lepold added.

“Our daughters helped us coming up with ideas for new designs. Most of the time, they were ‘P’ (Permanent) values, but since I still have older relatives in Europe who like to get letters,  there has been an international airmail-rate stamp from time to time as well.”

Briefmarken Spiegel, a German stamp magazine, reported on Lepold’s Picture Postage stamps and accompanying first-day covers issued for the birth anniversaries of Ludwig van Beethoven (left) and Friedrich Engels (right).

A PROLIFIC ISSUER

Lepold designed his first Picture Postage stamp in 2003.

His most recent creation – a reworked version of another one of his common concepts, Kelowna’s four-metre-long Ogopogo statue – features a winter theme. Both Ogopogo and “Baby Ogie” are shown wearing masks while swimming in the icy water of Okanagan Lake, which the monster is said to inhabit. It’s Lepold’s 24th Picture Postage issue this year—and his 166th stamp altogether.

Along with his customized stamps, Lepold also typically issues a first-day cover, several of which were highlighted by CSN columnist Gary Dickinson in 2019 (Vol. 44 #17).

“Most of the ideas behind the stamps are mine, but I had lots of help over the years,” Lepold told CSN this December, adding his fellow club members often share suggestions.

He’s also a “big believer in documenting local anniversaries,” he said, adding his working relationship with local historical societies has “generated quite a few stamps” over the years. His stamps commemorate anniversaries of landmarks, including churches, bridges, schools, the local winter carnival and the iconic Ogopogo statue, from across the Okanagan Valley.

“Kelowna being a hockey town, we have our local Rocket team, which had a fair number of upcoming stars that play in the junior men’s world cups. For young women, we have Kelowna’s Pursuit of Excellence hockey school, which had local players win the Gold in 2019 and silver in 2020, so this has resulted in several hockey stamps over the years, honouring our local and, of course, Canadian talent.”

After earning some local media coverage, Lepold has been approached by people asking for stamps marking birthdays, wedding anniversaries, baby announcements, memorials and more.

“And as you know, the minimum amount to order is only 25 stamps—just right for a birthday announcement.”

Lepold catalogues each of his Picture Postage issues and first-day covers.

WORLDWIDE APPEAL

Lepold also has contacts at several German stamp magazines, to which he occasionally contributes Canadian news.

“That, in turn, leads to requests from German-speaking collectors to create stamps—even did one for a German museum,” he said, adding “being bilingual helps.”

This year, Lepold garnered coverage in Germany for his issues commemorating musician Ludwig van Beethoven and philosopher Friedrich Engels, who were born 250 and 200 years ago, respectively.

“Bavaria celebrated their beer purity law of 1516, and in that instance, there was an Okanagan connection, which received coverage here and in Germany,” said Lepold, who added the Okanagan Spring Brewery in Vernon, B.C., was founded by German immigrants, still has a German brewmaster and continues to brew the “1516” brand.

Among his worldwide collector friends is a person in Namibia (formerly German South-West Africa), which also has a program similar to Canada’s Picture Postage plus a brewery founded by immigrants who brew beer “the Bavarian way.”

“Well, that led to a 1516 stamp printed in Namibia.”

A member of the Canadian Aerophilatelic Society, Lepold has also created several stamps commemorating the transatlantic flight anniversary from Canada to Ireland.

“And of course, there is your Canadian Stamp News, which has been very supportive in covering our club’s and my designs,” he said, adding CSN’s coverage led to requests from another stamp club to create an anniversary stamp.

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