Philatelic world grinds to halt as Canada takes aim at COVID-19

COVID-19 has hit about 200 countries with more than one million cases and 55,000 deaths worldwide as of April 2.

In a matter of days, dozens of shows, auctions, club meetings and other philatelic events have been cancelled as concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic continue to escalate worldwide. Following the Public Health Agency of Canada’s community-based measures to mitigate the virus’ spread, many organizers are cancelling their events – sometimes only days before they were slated to begin. In addition to public and mass-gathering cancellations, these community-based approaches include social distancing plus school and workplace closures. “Measures taken to reduce the amount of time individuals spend in large crowds or in crowded spaces can be effective to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 in a community,” reads PHAC’s recent notice, which is available online at Continue reading →

Vancouver museum seeking Holocaust-era postcards

A registered postcard mailed Dec. 12, 1942, was sent from Sylvia Loewy in Stockholm, Sweden, to her husband Fritz in Poland. The card bears multiple stamps and other markings.

A collection of 28 postcards formerly owned by a stamp collector in Abbotsford, B.C., was recently donated to the Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre (VHEC). Now, staff with the VHEC are seeking more information – and hopefully more cards – relating to Sylvia Loewy, who used the cards to write to her husband Fritz after his 1942 arrest and deportation. “We are wondering if there are other Loewy postcards in other people’s collections,” said VHEC Archivist Shyla Seller, who added she has found two other examples in the “Ed Victor Papers,” which include about 1,800 Second World War-era documents and artifacts held at the Los Angeles Holocaust Museum. Continue reading →

Long-time Unitrade editor has deep hobby roots

Unitrade catalogue editor Robin Harris, of Manitoba, has been an active collector since the late 1960s.

An avid collector of modern Canadian stamps and purveyor of all things philatelic, Robin Harris was seemingly made for the role of editor of Unitrade’s long-running stamp catalogue. Published annually for more than two decades, the Unitrade Specialized Catalogue of Canadian Stamps owes much of its evolution to long-time editor Robin Harris, of Manitoba, who started in that role in late 2004. “It’s been a joy to be the editor for these last 15 years,” said Harris, who added the previous editor was an employee of Toronto’s Unitrade Associates who “wasn’t involved with stamps.” Continue reading →

How to properly insure your stamp collection

Despite its preconceptions, insurance is generally uncomplicated and can protect collectors against significant loss, according to retired insurance broker and philatelist Garfield Portch, who has more than 25 years of professional insurance experience.

Insuring a stamp collection is the same as insuring anything else you own. Similar to insuring a house, its contents or any other personal possessions – excluding your car, which is mandatory – a stamp collection can be insured for a “catastrophic loss.” “Whether you have it or not is a question of whether you want to face your loss or share your misery with someone else, namely an insurance company,” said Garfield Portch, a retired insurance broker who manages member and chapter insurance plans for The Royal Philatelic Society of Canada’s (RPSC). Continue reading →

BNA, Canada offerings abound in upcoming Eastern Auctions sale

Two of the featured lots in the upcoming sale include Lot 227 (left), a mint one-shilling stamp issued by the then-British colony of New Brunswick in 1851 with a catalogue value of $60,000, and Lot 231, an unissued New Brunswick five-cent brown stamp depicting Postmaster General Charles Connell with a catalogue value of $40,000.

A two-session auction highlighted by British North America and Canada, including an extensive section of King George V “Admiral” stamps and postal history, will be offered by New Brunswick’s Eastern Auctions this February. A worldwide section will open the Feb. 28-29 sale with Lots 1-211, which feature a “remarkable estate” of parallel mint and used Colonial Africa collections, said Eastern Auctions stamp specialist and chief describer Yohann Tanguay. It will be followed by a British North America section from Lot 212-314. Among the highlights is Lot 227, a “flawless” mint one-shilling stamp (Scott #3) issued by the then-British colony of New Brunswick in 1851. Described as being “among the rarest stamps of British North America,” it’s one of fewer than a dozen examples that can be classified as Very Fine and unused, Tanguay said. Continue reading →

‘Rat’s Wedding’ theme of Lunar 2020 series

A Permanent stamp (left) depicting a rat bride on route to her nuptials was issued as part of Canada Post’s latest Lunar New Year set, marking the end of a 12-year series that began in 2009. The 2020 Lunar New Year set’s international-rate stamp depicts a happily married rat couple.

Canada Post issued the final set of its most recent Lunar New Year series on Jan. 17, a day after the stamps were unveiled at the Chinese Cultural Centre of Greater Toronto. Designed by Albert Ng and Seung Jai Paek, who have worked on several past Lunar New Year issues, the stamps present a traditional “Rat’s Wedding” story in a style of folk art known as Chinese farmer painting. The set’s Permanent domestic-rate stamp depicts the bride on her way to her nuptials while an international-rate stamp shows the happily married couple. “A merry wedding procession of rats is a common folk-art motif associated with the Chinese New Year,” said Ng, 70, who’s the founding president of the Association of Registered Graphic Designers of Ontario and is known as the “Father of Accreditation.” Continue reading →

Fredericton to host 92nd RPSC Convention in June

Royal*2020*Royale chair Rob Lunn (left) was named a Fellow of The Royal Philatelic Society of Canada last June. He's chairing this year's convention in Fredericton.

For only the second time ever, the annual convention of The Royal Philatelic Society of Canada (RPSC) is coming to New Brunswick, where members of “Canada’s national stamp club” are slated to gather for the much-anticipated show. To be held June 19-21 in the capital of Fredericton, the 2020 Royal Convention will be hosted by the local Fredericton Stamp Club (RPSC Chapter 148). “Our club’s members are quite varied in their collections,” said Dianne Earl, president of the Fredericton club. “We have very specialized collectors, award-winning collectors and members that collect worldwide.” Continue reading →

‘Mixed feelings’ about paper restoration pushed aside for posterity

An 1862 cover mailed from Prescott, Ont., to Victoria, Vancouver Island, had tears along three edges plus surface soiling before it was conserved by a professional paper restorer.

After one collector acquired a slightly tattered cover dating back more than a century and a half, he decided to restore it to ensure its survival as a scarce and significant piece of postal history. Mailed from Prescott, Ont., to watchmaker Willis Coates in Victoria, the cover is dated May 25, 1862, about two months before the latter city’s incorporation. It paid the 15-cent rate, which is the first known rate for stamped covers to Vancouver Island or British Columbia. “I collect the ‘Decimal’ issue, and the covers that I bought represent two of the three Decimal-era rates to British Columbia and Vancouver Island between 1859 and 1868, when the ‘Large Queens’ were released,” said Jim Jung, who’s a member of the Pence-Cents Era Study Group and the editor of its newsletter. Continue reading →

Appeal, rarity a ‘lethal combination’ for postal history highlights of latest Eastern sale

An 1852 folded lettersheet mailed from Montreal to New York realized $5,250 on an estimate of $3,000-plus this November during Eastern Auctions’ final sale of 2019.

Nearly all 794 lots offered by Eastern Auctions were sold this November as they crossed the block in a two-session sale that brought a total hammer price of more than $1 million and exceeded expectations across many of its sections. The first session, which included Lots 1-401, was highlighted by a circa 1878 12-pence Queen Victoria trial colour engraved die proof (Scott #3TC). Offered as Lot 191, it originated from the composite die and includes the characteristic scar at “CE” of “PENCE.” Described by auctioneers as a “most striking coloured proof that will enhance anyone’s collection,” it brought $9,500 on an estimate of $8,500 in Very Fine condition. “Results of some of the proofs and essays did raise eyebrows on how well they sold,” said Yohann Tanguay, chief lot describer with the New Brunswick-based auction house, who added record prices “were certainly fetched on a few.” Continue reading →

Battle of Hong Kong veteran’s story explored through philately

A 1941 cover is franked with some of the six stamps issued by Hong Kong that year to commemorate the 100th anniversary of British sovereignty. Almost a year later, the Japanese Army began its occupation of Hong Kong. (Photos by Michael Souza)

In a 15-year project focusing on family history, Vancouver collector Michael Souza is using stamps and currency to tell the story of his late father, who was a veteran of the Battle of Hong Kong. Born in Hong Kong on July 12, 1921, Henry Souza joined the Hong Kong Volunteer Defence Corps (HKVDC) at the age of 18, only a year before Nazi Germany’s invasion of Poland fanned the flames of war. “I’ve been able to blend that in with the life of my father, who was one 14,000 in the ‘Defence of Hong Kong,’ so it’s a mixture of family history with a numismatic and philatelic bent to it,” said the younger Souza, who has been a member of the North Shore Numismatic Society since 1988 and currently serves as its president, secretary and treasurer. Continue reading →

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