Canada makes history on philately’s world stage

Collectors line up for registration at CAPEX 22 in Toronto on June 9, the show’s opening day. The four-day show marked Canada’s first international philatelic exhibition in 26 years.

While making philatelic history as the world’s first One-Frame International Stamp Championship, CAPEX 22 reunited collectors from around the world after several years of sometimes-isolating pandemic shutdowns. Camaraderie remained high throughout the four-day show, which ran from June 9-12 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre in downtown Toronto. Interests were particularly piqued by the show’s first-of-its-kind format, approved and supported by the international governing body for exhibiting plus its continental counterpart for the Americas. Exhibitors and show-goers came from across Canada – “from Victoria to Yellowknife to St. John’s and many points between,” according to CAPEX 22 chair David McLaughlin – plus from the United States, Mexico, Peru, Brazil, Chile, Argentina, Europe, Asia and Australia. “First, I hope that members of the philatelic communities in Canada and our international guests take away fond memories of the exhibition and their visit to Toronto,” said McLaughlin, of Pickering, Ont., who led the show’s 15-person organizing committee through more than three years of planning and pandemic uncertainty. “Our challenge was to create an exhibition that was smaller in scope than previous CAPEX exhibitions yet as memorable for both local attendees and for international visitors.” Continue reading →

Ukrainian literature exhibits smuggled to compete at CAPEX

Oleksandr Zharivskyi's Catalog of Envelopes of the Publishing House Dyvosvit details the covers issued by Dyvosit over three decades with a focus on significant historical events, dates and individuals in Ukraine.

With the help of a Toronto man, two Ukrainian philatelic authors have smuggled their books from the war-torn country and shipped them to Canada just in time for CAPEX 22. In addition to more than 400 single-frame exhibits, the June 9-12 international show in Toronto will feature a literature competition with 100-plus entries across seven print and digital categories. Until recently, none of the exhibits were slated to come from Ukraine, where a renewed Russian invasion has killed several thousand civilians and forced millions of refugees to flee the country since late February. In a conversation this spring with Oleksandr Zharivskyi, one of the Ukrainian authors he has known for a decade, Toronto collector Jerry Kalyn “was lamenting the fact that there were no entries from Ukraine because of the war.” Continue reading →

Long-time exhibiting expert to launch RPSC book at CAPEX 22

Author David Piercey (left) stands with fellow philatelist Ed Kroft at the 2016 RPSC Convention in Kitchener, Ont. Kroft, who became the RPSC president a year later, encouraged Piercey to compile his long-running column series into a book.

The Royal Philatelic Society of Canada (RPSC) will launch its first book in more than two decades during CAPEX 22 this June in Toronto. Entitled Let’s Talk Exhibiting, it’s authored by philatelist David Piercey, of Edmonton, Alta., who’s a well-known author, exhibitor and judge. Piercey has written an exhibiting column of the same name for nearly every issue of the Canadian Philatelist, the RPSC’s bimonthly journal, since 2013. For about half a decade, he has also written CSN’s book review column, “Philatelic Bookshelf.” His upcoming book, which features all 45 of his Canadian Philatelist columns with real-world examples from 20 award-winning exhibitors, will first be offered on June 9, the opening day of CAPEX 22, with Piercey on hand to sign copies beginning at 2 p.m. “I’m very pleased, and I’m very honoured,” Piercey said of his nine-year column finding new life in a book format. “You couldn’t ask for anything better because you’re going to have an audience of collectors who are looking for stuff at CAPEX. They’re looking to spend money, and they’re looking to add exhibits or perhaps thinking about exhibiting, and here’s a book that’s coming out at the right time for them.” Continue reading →

Past CAPEX exhibitor returns 44 years later

An 1867 folded letter sheet features what Ontario exhibitor Hazel Elmslie describes as ‘a beautiful example’ of a blue Spanish cartwheel cancellation in a 15-page iteration of her exhibit on that subject. It earned 73 points at Savpex 2021, a virtual national-level exhibition held in South Africa.

In a story for record books of Canadian philately, exhibitor Hazel Elmslie will make history this June, when her Spanish postal history exhibit comes to Toronto as part of CAPEX 22. A long-time resident of London, Ont., Elmslie immigrated to Canada from the United Kingdom in 1956 and began collecting stamps four years later. A simple gift from her mother – some British stamps – eventually blossomed into a full-on collection, which later grew thanks to her grandmother and her Spanish aunt, who often sent her other material from that country. With her interests piqued and qualification earned just months before the show, she competed at CAPEX 78 with an exhibit entitled “Spain: Markings and Issues of Isabel II.” “I was in stamp collector heaven – so many wonderful exhibits and such a range of interests,” Elmslie said of attending CAPEX 78, which was Canada’s second international stamp show. “I spent some hours with a younger collector, whose interest was plate flaws in the Canadian ‘Pence’ issues. He spent a lot of time with a magnifying glass going over those exhibits. I realized I was not in the monetary league of many of these collectors but could still show my stuff and it would be appreciated. This is my greatest pleasure in exhibiting: making a good display of your stuff and others enjoying it.” Continue reading →

First Orapex in three years ‘a complete success’

Orapex 2022, held in Ottawa on April 23-24, marked Canada’s first national-level exhibition in 30 months.

Canada’s first in-person national show since October 2019 went ahead to hearty applause this April as a recently reformed organizational structure found success at a new venue. Reorganized last year as an Ontario not-for-profit corporation known as the Ottawa Regional Association of Stamp Exhibitions – or Orapex – the group hosted its first event on April 23-24; however, it was the show’s 59th outing since 1961. The new venue, a heated curling rink at the Nepean Sportsplex, held about 30 dealers and nearly 170 exhibit frames while drawing praise from many show-goers. “If compliments testify to the strength of the show, it was a complete success,” said show chair John Tooth, a former president of the Ottawa Philatelic Society (OPS), one of the three main clubs whose members organize the annual show. “We have received thanks related to the exhibits and the bourse from a wide range of attendees, including dealers, philatelists and exhibitors.” Continue reading →

‘It was great’: National Show returns

Trajan Publishing held its National Postage Stamp & Coin Show on April 9-10 in Mississauga, Ont., for the first time since 2019.

Following a 31-month pandemic hiatus, collectors, dealers and exhibitors returned to the Greater Toronto Area this April for the first National Postage Stamp & Coin Show since 2019. With most of Ontario’s pandemic restrictions lifted three weeks earlier, the two-day show kicked off on April 9 at the Hilton Mississauga/Meadowvale hotel in northwestern Mississauga, Ont. An unexpectedly strong turnout saw hundreds of collectors come through the doors, where they were met by a 50-dealer bourse of philatelic and numismatic dealers from across the country, including as far as Vancouver and Halifax. “It was great,” said dealer Roy Houtby, the owner of Roy’s Stamps in St. Catharines, Ont., who attends about 25 major shows across North America, including at least 10 national-level shows in the United States, each year. “Everybody we spoke to in Mississauga was quite pleased to be able to sit down and actually look at some stamps or look at some covers in person as opposed to doing it online. The vibe and the feedback we got from the collectors were very positive.” Continue reading →

Return of Orapex expected to satisfy ‘pent-up demand’

The doors will open at Orapex 2022, Canada’s first national-level exhibition in three years, on April 23 from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. and on April 24 from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. The two-day event is also expected to mark most attendees’ first major in-person show since the pandemic began.

Philatelists are set to gather in Ottawa for Orapex, which returns this April at a new venue and marks the first national-level exhibition in Canada since 2019. About 30 dealers and nearly 170 exhibit frames will fill the new venue at the Nepean Sportsplex, located at 1701 Woodroffe Ave., on April 23-24. After cancellations in 2020 and 2021, this year’s Orapex marks the 59th outing since 1961. For many attendees, it will be their first in-person show since the pandemic broke out, and organizers are “very excited to be able to put on a national show and bouse,” said show chair John Tooth. “Collectors are looking forward for the opportunity to see the offerings of some 30 dealers,” said Tooth, a former president of the Ottawa Philatelic Society (OPS), one of three main clubs whose members volunteer to run the annual show. “We are under the impression that there is a significant pent-up demand for philatelic material. As a measure of confidence, this year’s stamp show has attracted a number of important philatelic sponsors such as Sparks Auctions, which is now partnering with Orapex as well as the British North America Philatelic Society, the Canadian Aerophilatelic Society and several major dealers.” Continue reading →

Canadians rank among Linn’s ‘most influential’

Published in March, the Linn’s Stamp News Most Influential Philatelists and Their Epic Stamp Stories recognizes 76 individuals, including three Canadians, who have greatly impacted the hobby.

Three Canadians with distinctly different yet deeply rooted ties to philately have been honoured in the Most Influential Philatelists and Their Epic Stamp Stories, published this March by Linn’s Stamp News. Listed among 73 other influencers, the Canadian honourees include Gary Lyon, a dealer and auctioneer in business since the 1970s; Jim Phillips, the head of Canada Post’s stamp program from 2002-21; and Charles Verge, a reputable collector, researcher and exhibitor who signed the iconic Roll of Distinguished Philatelists (RDP) this February. Their names and legacies – each centred on an “epic” personal philatelic story – stand in the 116-page book alongside other living honourees. They each played a significant role in shaping the hobby over “the past couple of decades,” according to Linn’s Editor-in-Chief Jay Bigalke, who added the honourees range from collectors to dealers, auctioneers and other individuals “professionally involved” in hobby organizations and postal administrations. In the book’s contents, illustrations show all of the honourees in boxes in a format similar to a souvenir sheet. “We have received lots of positive feedback from both those who were selected and from the worldwide philatelic community,” Bigalke, of Sidney, Ohio, told CSN. “Many of the winners have taken to social media to talk up their selection, and we are thrilled to see that.” Continue reading →

Verge retires from VGG, Royal

Charles Verge, of Toronto, has resigned as the vice-chair, vice-president, historian and archivist of the Vincent Graves Greene Philatelic Research Foundation effective March 1.

Charles Verge, a veteran collector and champion of “Organized Philately” in Canada and abroad, has announced his retirement from several of his long-running posts. Effective March 1, Verge has resigned as the vice-chair, vice-president, historian and archivist of the Vincent Graves Greene Philatelic Research Foundation, of which he is the longest-serving director. The move also entails resigning from Royal Philatelic Society of Canada (RPSC) as its historian and archivist owing to that group’s “closely intertwined” history with the Greene Foundation, Verge said. “The Greene was a big portion of my life,” said Verge, 74, who added he tendered his resignation for two main reasons, both aimed at “reorienting my life.” Continue reading →

Columnist, consulting editor marks 35 years with CSN

Ian Robertson (right) marks his 35th anniversary with CSN this March. He joined the publication as a freelancer in March 1987 before becoming its consulting editor a few years later.

Long-time CSN columnist and consulting editor Ian Robertson celebrates his 35th anniversary with the publication this March. A lifelong stamp collector, Robertson has been with CSN for much of its 45-year history. After joining Canada’s philatelic paper of record as a freelancer in 1987, he quickly rose to the rank of consulting editor and has since had more than 1,800 of his columns published in its pages. His regular columns include “Looking Back,” focusing on Canadian stamp subjects, and “Stamping Grounds,” an umbrella heading for a wide range of topics. He also submits two occasional titles, including “News Bites,” which reports on current events with a stamp-related focus, and “Pot Pourri,” highlighting a medley of hobby-related information. “Ian’s knowledge and passion for philately, combined with his professional experience as a journalist, are great assets for Canadian Stamp News,” said CSN editor Mike Walsh, the managing partner of Trajan Publishing. “He understands the day-to-day workings of a publication like CSN, which helps us to deliver compelling content.” Continue reading →

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