No shortage of COVID-19 stamps to fill out collection

On July 24, the United Nations Postal Administration will issue a mini-sheet with six semi-postal stamps to raise money for the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 fund.

Since mid-march, more than a dozen countries have issued COVID-19 stamps as commemorations, fundraising efforts and attempts to bring people together in a time of crisis. While some of these stamps are official issues released by their respective country’s postal administration, many personalized stamps and much-maligned “wallpaper” stamps have also been produced in the past four months. The official issues began on March 17, less than a week after the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic, when Iran issued the world’s first COVID-19 stamp. It was followed by other official issues from Vietnam on March 31; Switzerland on April 5; the Isle of Man on May 4; Morocco on May 7; the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on May 10; China on May 11; Uruguay on May 13; New Zealand on May 20; Ukraine on May 29; Monaco on June 3; Bosnia and Herzegovina on June 9; Oman on June 14; the Czech Republic on June 23; Macau on June 24; and Taiwan on July 21. Continue reading →

‘Today’s mail, tomorrow’s postal history:’ COVID-19 collections taking form

Advertising mail sent by Toronto’s Michael Garron Hospital Foundation features pandemic-related indicia. (Photo by Jean Wang)

With the COVID-19 pandemic in full swing since mid-March, countries around the world have been fighting an invisible enemy for about four months. In that time, while adjusting to the “new normal,” postal administrations have given collectors a plethora of pandemic-related postal history, stamps and postmarks that will serve topical and thematic exhibitors well into the future. “Today’s mail is going to be tomorrow’s postal history, right? Fifty years from now, all the collectors are going to be looking for covers that had markings or routings that were related to the COVID pandemic,” said Jean Wang, a seven-year member of the North Toronto Stamp Club (NTSC) who serves on the club’s exhibition committee and as its newsletter editor. Continue reading →

CAPEX host a ‘philatelic destination city’

Ingo Nessel, who’s co-ordinating the seminars and society meetings for CAPEX 22, considers Toronto as ‘one of the greatest centres of philately in Canada.’

When the first World One-Frame Stamp Championship comes to Canada in 2022, it’s expected to give yet another big boost to one of the country’s “greatest centres of philately.” Following in the footsteps of the previous two CAPEX shows, hosted in 1996 and 1987, CAPEX 22 will be held at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre (MTCC) in Ontario’s capital city. This time, however, the event will feature a World One-Frame Stamp Championship – a first for international philately. “Toronto is probably one of the greatest centres of philately in Canada,” said Ingo Nessel, of Brampton, Ont., who’s handling the show’s seminars and societies. “With resources like the VGG (Vincent Graves Greene Philatelic Research Foundation), it’s an attractive place to hold a stamp show.” Continue reading →

‘Phenomenal’ images taken by VSC6000 uncover surreptitious stamp alterations

The VSC6000 detects a variety of inks, including optically variable ink (top right) and phosphor ink tagging (bottom right), both of which were added to the $5 moose stamp issued in 2003.

Relatively unassuming in appearance, the VSC6000 packs a powerful punch when it comes to philatelic expertization. Its high-resolution colour camera, zoom lenses and various light sources and filters – from ultraviolet (UV) to visible and infrared wavelengths – give the user an unparalleled power to see a stamp’s invisible features. “You get very consistent lighting in a dark environment, and it gives absolutely constant readings,” said Garfield Portch, president and chair of the Vincent Graves Greene Philatelic Research Foundation. Continue reading →

CAPEX 22 ‘a big deal’ for Canadian philately

The first World One-Frame Stamp Championship, CAPEX 22 will be held at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre on June 9-12, 2022. (Photo by ‘Coolcaesar,’ CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikipedia)

When the world’s first one-frame stamp championship comes to Toronto in 2022, it will mark Canada’s first international exhibition in more than a quarter century. Coming to the Metro Toronto Convention Centre (MTCC) on June 9-12, 2022, CAPEX 22 will be Canada’s fifth international show since 1951. Each of the previous four shows was also held in Toronto, but the major difference with CAPEX 22 is its World One-Frame Stamp Championship – something that’s never been done before. “It is a big deal,” said David McLaughlin, chair of the Royal Philatelic Society of Canada (RPSC) international liaison committee, who added single-frame exhibiting “was only introduced about 25 years ago.” Continue reading →

Canada Post issues April, May stamps, postpones ballet, travel posters

Factory worker Veronica Foster (left) and Private Léo Major (right) are commemorated on a pair of stamps issued April 29 to mark the 75th anniversary of Victory in Europe Day.

While Canada Post’s next four stamp issues – slated for release in April and May – are going ahead as planned, the Crown corporation has postponed its upcoming sets featuring ballet legends and vintage travel posters. Two April issues, including one stamp marking Eid and another pair honouring Victory in Europe Day (V-E Day), were released on April 24 and April 29, respectively. Looking ahead to the next two issues of the 2020 stamp program, Canada Post is also expected to issue sets commemorating the Group of Seven on May 7 and the history of radio on May 20. No unveiling ceremonies will be held for any of the four issues scheduled for release in April and May. “We will, however, continue to issue news releases for each issue and provide collectors additional content,” Nicole Lecompte, Canada Post media relations officer, told CSN in mid-April. Continue reading →

Pandemic wreaks havoc on international exhibiting—for now

Typically ‘oversubscribed,’ international exhibitions will survive the COVID-19 pandemic according to David McLaughlin, a national-level judge and the chair of the Royal Philatelic Society of Canada’s international liaison.

Uncertainty abounds about the series of world stamp exhibitions managed by the Fédération Internationale de Philatélie (FIP), according to a recent statement from the Swiss-based philatelic group. Responsible for exhibiting at the international level, the FIP has more than 90 “member federations,” including Canada, with eligibility to enter world stamp exhibitions it grants patronage or auspices. But with governments around the world enacting widespread travel bans, event cancellations and social-distancing measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, several major international exhibitions have been cancelled. “Due to the rapid spread of the Coronavirus since it began in December 2019, almost all of our members are in lockdown of some type or another,” said FIP President Bernie Beston in a statement issued March 26 on behalf of the FIP board of directors. Continue reading →

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 →

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