Iconic philatelist, RDP signatory Michael Madesker dies at 96

Michael Madesker stands by his portrait at the Vincent Graves Greene Philatelic Research Foundation in Toronto, where it hangs alongside the images of six other iconic philatelists.

Long-time philatelist Michael Madesker, one of Canada’s signatory of the Roll of Distinguished Philatelists (RDP), has died at age 96. A leading figure in Canadian philately for more than half a century, Madesker died on Dec. 27 at Mackenzie Health Hospital in Richmond Hill, Ont. In his personal hobby, he was an “eclectic” collector, writer and exhibitor, according to the Philatelic Specialists Society of Canada (PSSC), an invite-only group Madesker was called to join in 1973. Some of his many areas of philatelic interest included Canadian and Israeli stamp booklets, German States parcel post from 1725-1870 and Venice postal history from 1400-1797, each of which he successfully exhibited at the national and international levels. Continue reading →

More news on Canada’s 2022 stamp program

Jazz singer Eleanor Collins, 102, earned the title of ‘Vancouver’s first lady of Jazz’ in the early 1960s. She will grace Canada’s first 2022 stamp, a Black History Month issue, on Jan. 21.

Canada Post has unveiled the subjects for its 2022 stamp program, which celebrates “some of the country’s most accomplished individuals, historic milestones, holidays, and creatures that share our planet,” according to a recent statement from the Crown corporation. As announced in a preview last summer (“Canada Post unveils 2022 stamp program subjects,” CSN Vol. 46 #7), the 2022 program is set to begin on Jan. 21 with a Black History Month issue featuring Eleanor Collins, Canada’s 102-year-old “first lady of jazz.” The first Canadian woman to have her own national TV show after The Eleanor Show aired in 1955, Collins was also the first black TV host in North America, according to CBC. On Dec. 20, Canada Post issued another statement telling collectors its 2022 line-up will honour “two legendary jazz and blues singers.” One of the other honourees is award-winning jazz, blues and R&B singer Salome Bey, who inspired generations of young Black performers since her first performance in Toronto in 1961. Continue reading →

Canadian philately remains strong as pandemic nears year three

Most of the clubs that transitioned to virtual meetings and other online events throughout the pandemic have either maintained or grown their membership, according to Royal Philatelic Society of Canada President Ed Kroft.

Two years into COVID-19, Canadian philately continues to enjoy strong demand and higher-than-expected values as the hobby builds on the lessons learned in the early days of the pandemic. Despite an ongoing lack of in-person shows, club meetings and other events, collector interest has held strong over the last 12 months. Some organizations, including the Royal Philatelic Society of Canada (RPSC) plus other local stamp clubs, are reporting increased membership as they continue to develop virtual programming. “I think it’s been really strong,” said RPSC President Ed Kroft, whose final term at the helm of the country’s national stamp club comes to a close this June, when the society holds its annual general meeting at CAPEX 22. Continue reading →

Saying goodbye to director of Canada’s stamp program

As the head of Canada’s national stamp program for 19 years, Jim Phillips (left) worked alongside many famous Canadians, including rocker Bryan Adams (right), who was honoured on a 2009 issue.

After nearly two decades at the helm of the country’s national stamp program, Jim Phillips fondly looks back at his tenure as Canada Post’s director of stamp services. Before clocking out on Nov. 12, his last day on the job, Phillips served in the stamp program’s top position since 2002, although his work with Canada Post spanned his entire career. The multi-faceted director role, in which Phillips oversaw the design, production, inventory, budget and all other aspects of the stamp program, provided him with a sense of pride and accomplishment that would be difficult to match with other jobs. “Being able to lead this iconic program for Canada for so long has been a real honour,” Phillips told CSN, a little more than a week after his retirement. “To use my history degree every day right up to the end of my career is something special, but I was always proud to represent Canada and Canada Post on the world stage – because when we’re out there, we’re not just representing Canada Post.” Continue reading →

New stamp honours Buffy Sainte-Marie

Canada Post featured long-time Canadian artist Buffy Sainte-Marie, whose life and career are the focus of a forthcoming documentary, on a new commemorative stamp and official first-day cover (shown) on Nov. 18.

Canada Post paid a philatelic tribute to one of the country’s top singer-songwriters on Nov. 18, when it released its second final issue of the year honouring Buffy Sainte-Marie. Although uncertain of her origins, Sainte-Marie believes she was born in February 1941 on the Piapot Cree First Nation in Qu’Appelle Valley, Sask. According to the 2018 book, Buffy Sainte-Marie: The Authorized Biography, which Sainte-Marie co-authored with Andrea Warner, the future star was taken from her home as a precursor to the “Sixties Scoop,” which from 1951 through the 1960s saw the widespread removal of Indigenous children from their families and communities. Like Sainte-Marie, many Sixties Scoop victims were adopted into “predominantly non-Indigenous, middle-class families across the United States and Canada,” adds the Canadian Encyclopedia. “It had been going on for generations where native children were removed from the home,” Sainte-Marie told the U.S. National Public Radio (NPR) in 2018. “What happens to children who are kind of lost in the system like that, they’re assigned a birthday, they’re assigned kind of a biography. So in many cases, adopted people don’t really know what the true story is.” Continue reading →

Saskatoon Stamp Centre to close as owner retires after five decades

John Jamieson, the long-time owner of the Saskatoon Stamp Centre, mans his booth at the National Postage Stamp Show (now the National Postage Stamp & Coin Show) in Toronto.

Saskatoon Stamp Centre (SSC), a long-time staple of Canada’s philatelic community, is closing its doors after more than 55 years in business. Owner John Jamieson opened up shop as a retail store in 1965 before moving the mail-order business, something he supplemented by having a presence at major shows and conventions. All the while, Jamieson specialized in mostly high-quality Canadian and British North American stamps while making a name for himself with what he called “the unusual.” Compared to regular issues, even scarce ones, he deemed philatelic errors and varieties “far more interesting.” “I tended to focus on unusual stuff, and it paid off. When I first got into the business, we had a retail store, and people would come in and ask for things – and they weren’t asking for Bluenoses,” Jamieson said, referring to Canada’s popular 1929 stamp honouring the iconic Nova Scotia schooner. “They were usually asking for something a little more obscure – rare, but not valuable. And I thought, ‘People are looking for these things because they don’t have them. They can’t find them, but why can’t they find them?’ Continue reading →

Latest commemorative envelope marks ‘1 RCHA’ sesquicentennial

Canada Post has marked the 150th anniversary of the ‘A’ and ‘B’ Batteries of the 1st Regiment, Royal Canadian Horse Artillery, on a commemorative envelope. Formed in 1871, the batteries served as the first full-time or regular elements of Canada’s post-Confederation army.

Canada Post has honoured another regimental anniversary on its third and final commemorative envelope of the year. The Royal Canadian Horse Artillery (RCHA) marks its sesquicentennial this year, and that milestone is mirrored on the envelope issued on Oct. 20. With the 1871 establishment of the “A” and “B” Batteries, Canada saw the first full-time or regular elements of its post-Confederation army. It came after British and U.S. officials signed the Treaty of Washington, a general agreement settling various disputes, on May 8, 1871, and most British troops in Canada were withdrawn. Continue reading →

Rare pioneer, semi-official airmails to lead November Eastern sale

A 1927 Red Lake-to-Sioux Lookout flight cover with a rare handstamp variety (top left) crosses the block as Lot 416 of Eastern Auctions’ Nov. 18-20 public auction. In addition to two Admirals (top right), the cover is franked by one of the ‘great rarities’ of Patricia Airways’ airmail stamps (bottom left), according to chief describer Yohann Tanguay.

Mint examples of most of the pioneer and semi-official airmail stamps, varieties and errors listed in the Unitrade Specialized Catalogue of Canadian Stamps are set to cross the auction block in New Brunswick this November. Eastern Auctions will offer the D’Arcy Mosher Collection of Canadian pioneer and semi-official airmail material as part of a three-session public auction with 979 lots on Nov. 18-20. The Mosher Collection will open session two (Lots 297-659) on Nov. 19 at 1:30 p.m. (AT). Pioneer airmail stamps run offered from Lots 297-408 followed by semi-official airmail flight covers from Lots 409-422. “It is a substantial holding for anyone looking for these airmail stamps in mint condition,” said Yohann Tanguay, a stamp specialist and chief describer with Eastern Auctions, who added multiples, panes and “a few airmail” covers are also on offer. Continue reading →

RPSC’s virtual exhibition in October includes seminars

More than 70 exhibits will compete in the Oct. 14-17 Royal Virtual National Philatelic Exhibition, to be held via canpex.ca.

The Royal Philatelic Society of Canada (RPSC) is set to kick off its first virtual exhibition this October in conjunction with this year’s online-only convention. The Royal*2021*Royale Virtual National Philatelic Exhibition runs from Oct. 14-17, during the second and final part of this year’s convention, which began on June 14 with the society’s annual general meeting and a pair of seminars (“Two-part virtual Royal coming in June, October,” CSN Vol. 46 #3). This October’s virtual Royal exhibition will be hosted via canpex.ca by the organizers of Canpex, another national-level show typically held each fall in London, Ont. The four-day event will also include a series of eight English- and French-language seminars. “I am hoping the viewing public will enjoy the exhibits and events surrounding the virtual show,” said RPSC director Steve Johnson, a national-level judge from London, Ont., who’s serving as the virtual exhibition’s exhibits chair. “The show has been in the works since May, so there has been a great deal of planning.” Continue reading →

Rob Leigh wins third Grand for Western District exhibit

Ontario-born exhibitor Rob Leigh, who now lives in Illinois, won the Grand Award at BNAPEX 2021 Virtual in early September for his five-frame postal history exhibit on Upper Canada’s Western District.

For the third time since 2017, Rob Leigh has won a Grand Award for his five-frame exhibit exploring the seminal postal history of Upper Canada’s Western District in the first half of the 19th century. Leigh’s latest victory came during BNAPEX 2021 Virtual, the first virtual exhibition of the British North America Philatelic Society (BNAPS), held from Sept. 2-6 via the society’s website, bnaps.org, and Zoom. An Illinois resident who was born in Chatham, Ont., Leigh also won two special BNAPS awards for his exhibit, “The Western District of Upper Canada: the Development of Postal Communications and Postal Markings, 1800-1850.” “It’s an extremely comprehensive story about the early history of a large chunk of Upper Canada – the western part of Upper Canada – from 1800 to 1850,” said chief judge David Piercey, of Edmonton, Alta., one of four judges on the BNAPEX jury. “He’s done an inordinate amount of research to talk about the development of the postal routes and postal communication in those little, far-flung communities in the early parts of the settlement of Ontario.” Continue reading →

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