Orapex’s 60th also ‘the best,’ says longtime show dealer

The judges at Orapex 2023 had a challenging task as the 60th anniversary of the national show drew numerous impressive exhibits.

Orapex 2023 not only drew “high-calibre” exhibits, but also crushed past attendance and set sales records for stamp dealers during the May 6-7 show at Ottawa’s Nepean Sportsplex. “Orapex 2023 was very successful in terms of the general public attending, dealer satisfaction, great exhibits, and well-attended philatelic meetings and open-to-the-public philatelic presentations,” said committee chair John Tooth. “The planning that was undertaken by the Orapex committee of 18 individuals addressed many if not all of the problems of Orapex 22. Stamp shows are detail-driven and when all of these pieces come together as they did with this year’s show, the result was an outstanding two days.” Chief judge Sam Chiu had high praise for this year’s exhibition. Continue reading →

War Issue plate set, SPM collection hit auction block

A ‘remarkable trio in immaculate condition,’ Lot 42 features a set of three single-franking provisionals and is expected to bring at least $7,500 from James R. Taylor’s St. Pierre and Miquelon collection.

A comprehensive collection on St. Pierre and Miquelon formed over decades by prolific author James R. Taylor will be featured in Eastern Auctions’ May 25-27 sale. “James Taylor is an authority on the subject,” according to Yohann Tanguay, Eastern’s chief describer. “Many years of diligent collecting and research by Taylor have culminated in several gold-medal awards for his wide-ranging collections: from traditional eight-frame to one-frame exhibits pertaining to 20th-century definitive series.” More than 140 lots on the French territory of St. Pierre and Miquelon are being offered, from the early stampless period and French colonies issues used in St. Pierre and Miquelon to elusive classics, modern stamps and postal history, said Tanguay. Continue reading →

Colour Innovations ‘not a regular printer’

Since 2015, Colour Innovations has been providing start-to-finish security printing services to print Canadian stamps.

This year, the Toronto-based security printer Colour Innovations will mark its 35th anniversary, including nearly a decade bidding on Canadian stamp-printing contracts. The firm previously supplied prepress services to Canada Post before serving as a subcontractor to one of the Crown corporation’s main printers beginning in 2003. More recently, in 2015, Colour Innovations began offering start-to-finish security printing services and began submitting tenders to print Canadian stamps. “We’re not a regular printer,” said Colour Innovations President Carlo D’Onofrio. “We also do high-value coupons, credit cards, documents – our place is secure – and we do everything in house from printing to foiling, embossing and packaging.” Continue reading →

Exploring Stamps with ‘extreme philately’

Exploring Stamps podcast host Graham Beck (right), of New Jersey, accepts an honourary membership for the North Toronto Stamp Club from the group’s membership chair Les Selby at CAPEX 22 last June in Toronto.

With nearly 40,000 followers across his social media accounts, one philatelic influencer has propelled the hobby into the 21st century with an “extreme” take on collecting stamps. Graham Beck grew up in South Africa, where he collected new issues with his childhood friends, before moving to the United States, where he now lives in New Jersey. In December 2016, he launched the Exploring Stamps podcast on YouTube and has since garnered 3.29 million views and about 29,400 subscribers. While most episodes centre on a specific country or subject, some of them take a more general approach with videos about collection storage, tongs and tweezers, perforated initials (commonly called “perfins”) and pen cancellations to name but a few. Some of the most popular episodes explore “extreme philately,” a term borrowed from extreme sports such as skateboarding and BMX biking, both characterized by their high risk. “It’s become known as extreme philately in the online community – the idea of getting a stamp, taking it out of your collection and bringing it to a location to line it up with a photograph,” said Beck, whose channel is available at youtube.com/c/ExploringStamps. Continue reading →

Brigham Collection ‘out of this world’

Late philatelist Ron Brigham, who died in August, provided Canada Post with the original black die proof for the 1851 three-pence ‘Beaver’ stamp when the Crown corporation designed a replica issue for the stamp’s 150th anniversary in 2001. The proof sold for $62,500 on a $35,000 estimate as Lot 2.

The first of four sales of Ron Brigham’s international Grand Prix-winning Province of Canada collection, the last material held by the late philatelist before his death last August, rewrote the record books in the days leading up to spring. The March 17 sale offered 163 lots centring on the three-pence and five-cent “Beaver” issues (Scott #1 and SC #15) plus other early Canadian classics. The hammer prices proved “out of this world,” according to Yohann Tanguay, the chief describer with Eastern Auctions, which is handling the Brigham sales. With total realizations more than doubling the firm’s combined pre-sale estimates, the sale provided seemingly endless highlights with at least a handful of major records broken. “Realizations were well above average across the entire sale,” said long-time dealer and auctioneer Gary Lyon, the owner of Eastern Auctions and Gary J. Lyon (Philatelist) Ltd. in Bathurst, N.B. “From the very first lot that sold for $475,000, there was strong demand from multiple bidders on almost every single lot. We were extremely pleased with the final results.” Continue reading →

Conversations with Philatelists united collectors during pandemic

Past guests on the Conversations with Philatelists podcast include (clockwise from top left) Australian-born philatelist Peter Congreve, Doobie Brothers founder Pat Simmons, senior Republican presidential advisor Karl Rove and organizers of the Westpex show in California.

With the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic spreading illness, fear and uncertainty, the cancellation of virtually all in-person events spurred two U.S. collectors to fill the social void in the philatelic community. Trying to match the camaraderie of mingling with people at stamp shows, Michael Cortese and Charles Epting launched Conversations with Philatelists, a video podcast featuring guests both directly and tangentially tied to the hobby. The hosts both graduated from the Young Philatelic Leaders Fellowship (YPLF), founded by the American Philatelic Society in 2009, and crossed paths at international shows before launching the podcast in mid-2020. Since then, it has garnered about 120,000 views on YouTube, as well as thousands more on other platforms, with nearly 100 episodes airing as often as every week. “It started pretty innocently like that: we just wanted to talk to people,” said Cortese, of Pittsfield, N.H., the co-owner and executive vice-president of NobleSpirit, a family-run company specializing in stamps, coins and other collectibles. “But as we put up more and more episodes, something happened that we didn’t really expect.” Continue reading →

Virtual exhibitions build skills, bolster hobby

Exhibitors far and wide continue to debate the pros and cons of virtual exhibitions following the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Exhibitors, judges and organizers continue to debate the pros and cons of virtual exhibiting after more than 33 months of the COVID-19 pandemic, which upended exhibitions from the local to the international level. While in-person exhibitions returned around the world in 2022, virtual competitions filled the void through much of 2020 and 2021. After decades of traditional in-person events, the experience offered by virtual shows – or hybrid shows with both virtual and in-person components – has been a learning curve for all parties. “It’s a lot different doing a live show compared to a virtual show,” said Vancouver philatelist Ed Kroft, an award-winning exhibitor and international-level judge accredited by the Royal Philatelic Society of Canada (RPSC), of which he’s the past president. “The experience is different, but I actually like virtual exhibiting because I think exhibitors get the chance to put their exhibit in front of a judge for a lengthy period of time. Judges can thoroughly study it relative to an in-person event, where the jury has less time to view the exhibits.” Continue reading →

National, international exhibitions kick off soon

Ingo Nessel serves as the Canadian commissioner for IBRA 2023, coming to Germany in May, and Europhil-SPM 2023, coming to St. Pierre & Miquelon a month later.

As spring nears, Canadian philatelists are preparing for this year’s planned national- and international-level shows. In 2023, Canada will host three national exhibitions compared to four such events plus an international show – CAPEX 22 – in 2022. This year’s trio of national-level shows begin with the Edmonton Spring National on March 25-26 in Edmonton, Alta. It will be followed by Orapex on May 6-7 in Ottawa and then the combined “Royal Canpex,” the annual convention of the Royal Philatelic Society of Canada (RPSC) held in conjunction with Canpex, on Oct. 13-15 in London, Ont. “I am pleased to see the Edmonton Spring National show returning this year,” said RPSC director David McLaughlin, of Pickering, Ont., the chair of the society’s international liaison committee. “It is good to have a national-level show in the west again.” Continue reading →

Genealogy helps tell fascinating philatelic stories

A strip of three two-cent Small Queen stamps paying double the letter rate frank a May 1883 yellow cover mailed from Niagara, Canada West (present-day Ontario), to nearby Woodstock. Photo via Darin Cherniwchan.

As philatelic storytelling becomes a significant aspect of the hobby, collectors have found powerful tools in genealogy services and other historical research platforms. With the advent of digital technology, most collectors have ready access to in-depth research tools, which lend well to learning the stories behind the stamps and postal history in their collections. One west-coast collector noted his “love” for philatelic storytelling has been bolstered through Ancestry.com, the world’s largest for-profit genealogy company, and Newspapers.com, the largest online newspaper archive, which is also run by Ancestry. “To me, these are some great tools for philately and for storytelling,” said Darin Cherniwchan, of Chilliwack, B.C., the chair of the Digital Philately Study Group. “They’ll make you one of the best storytellers. They’re not cheap, but you can just try them, and if you’re disciplined, you can get out of it before the 14-day trial is up.” Continue reading →

Eastern teases Brigham Collection with highlight booklet

Eastern Auctions’ upcoming sale of Ron Brigham’s Pence and Cents collections features a mint pair of 12-penny black stamps with original gum. ‘It is one of the most expensive, recognizable and iconic items in Canadian philately,’ according to Yohann Tanguay, Eastern’s chief describer.

Eastern Auctions has unveiled a promotional booklet previewing the four-part sale of the final material held by late philatelist Ron Brigham, the only Canadian to win philately’s top international exhibiting honour, before his death last August. Brigham’s Grand Prix-winning Province of Canada collection will be sold across four auctions, the first of which will offer 163 lots on March 17. Among the Pence and Cents stamps and postal history are “many of the greatest rarities of the era,” according to Yohann Tanguay, Eastern’s chief describer, who pointed to the collection’s “mesmerizing essays, proofs, postal history and mint and used stamps, including unique multiples.” “It is a very significant collection of classic Pence and Cents issues,” added Tanguay, who’s also an expertizer with the Vincent Graves Greene Philatelic Research Foundation. “Many of the iconic and most important pieces … related to the classic issues of Canada are present.” Continue reading →

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