CSN marks 45 years today, June 28

By Jesse Robitaille

Today, CSN celebrates its 45th anniversary.

The long-running publication was created in 1976, when publisher Don Thomas split Coin, Stamp & Antique News into two publications focusing on philately and numismatics. The publication originally began in 1963 as Canada Coin News (now Canadian Coin News).

“A very big congratulations on Canadian Stamp News’ 45-year milestone,” said Jim Phillips, director of stamp services at Canada Post. “The publication is an invaluable resource for all of us involved in ‘Organized Philately,’ a network in which we in Stamp Services at Canada Post are proud to play a role.”

Originally hired as a Canada Post researcher in 1987, Phillips added CSN has provided his team “with a vehicle to communicate information on new issues to a precisely focused audience of collectors, dealers and others involved in philately.”

He also welcomed the “frank feedback” from CSN’s writers, editors and readers, from whom Canada Post can gather “candid, sometimes totally unvarnished responses and opinions on the Canadian stamp program.”

“Responses from your readers provide us with a better understanding of needs and demands of collectors, information that can often help shape and focus our offering,” he added. “This 45-year anniversary for Canadian Stamp News is proof of the importance and value of a strong, honest and trustworthy philatelic media – and we wish you many more years.”

At the time of its creation, CSN was owned by Offset Make-Up, a Mississauga, Ont.-based printing and production facility, which acquired Coin, Stamp & Antique News in 1969. Offset President Don Thomas became CSN’s first publisher while Dianne Amacher served as its inaugural editor, with the first issue sold for only 50 cents (and a one-year subscription for $6).

A letter sent to Thomas by then Postmaster General Bryce Mackasey and published in the opening issue of CSN touched on the creation of “Canada’s first philatelic newspaper.”

“The significance and impact of such an event cannot be underestimated and I wish to congratulate you on this important endeavour.”

While he was “not a philatelist, and I do not pretend to be one,” Thomas enlisted the help of several prominent philatelists, including:

  • Douglas Patrick, who has served as the past publication’s stamp editor since 1965, when it was still known as Canada Coin News;
  • Carl Edgar Law, then a naval officer with the Royal Canadian Navy, who served as a columnist; and
  • Allan Steinhart, then a 40-year-old dealer and postal historian, who also served as a columnist.

The early issues also featured editorial cartoons from German-born freelance artist Lo Linkert, who immigrated to Vancouver in 1956.

CSN 45 COLLECTIBLES

CSN is offering a range of limted-edition collectibles in celebration of its 45th anniversary.

CSN partnered with Canada Post to create a 45th anniversary first-day cover, which is franked by a Picture Postage stamp featuring five past CSN covers, including the first (dated June 28, 1976) plus others from April 1984, July 1996, June 2007 and this May. The stamp is tied by a special pictorial postmark designed in partnership with Canada Post, which produced the physical postmark device this spring.

To read more about the anniversary covers, click here for a full story published on June 18.

CSN is also offering a limited run of 10 souvenir sheets and 45 booklets of the anniversary Picture Postage stamps.

“Partnerships are, and have always been, a major aspect of philately, so I’d like to thank Canada Post for teaming up with CSN to help us celebrate our latest major milestone with our readers,” said Publisher and Managing Editor Mike Walsh, who joined Trajan in 2013. “I’d also like to thank the readers for 45 years of philatelic fun, going all the way back to 1976, before Trajan bought CSN and CCN in 1989.”

To view all the items, visit coinstampsupplies.com, a division of Trajan Publishing, CSN’s parent company.

CSN published its first issue on June 28, 1976.

FOR POSTERITY

Toronto philatelist Charles Verge, the current vice-president of the Vincent Graves Greene Philatelic Research Foundation, called CSN “a remarkable periodical.”

“For 45 years it has reported the philatelic news, published erudite articles and informed its readership of forthcoming events and new stamp issues. It reported new and important discoveries, gave background information and realizations to auctions and some of the iconic philatelic items up for sale in these auctions. CSN has been a faithful reporter of Canadian, North American and international philately and its goings-on.”

Verge, who’s slated to become just the eighth Canadian to sign the prestigious Roll of Distinguished Philatelists (RDP), also noted CSN’s role as a philatelic paper of record.

“The most important role of CSN is having recorded philatelic history as it happened, and for that researchers, historians and genealogists are forever grateful. And CSN and Trajan are continuing on this path as they are looking towards their 50th anniversary. Their continuing work in philatelic reporting, their extensive support of CAPEX 22 and of the projects of the RPSC (Royal Philatelic Society of Canada) and the Greene are greatly admired and appreciated by us all.”

In his first column, Thomas spoke to CSN’s potential longevity, relaying a comment from Vancouver dealer and auctioneer Fred Eaton, who “assured me, and indeed wanted to wager, that if I went ahead with my plans I would be putting the stamp newspaper back with the coin section within a year.”

Forty-five years later, and CSN has positioned itself as “certainly one of the pillars of the hobby,” according to Michael Madesker, the only living Canadian RDP signatory, who signed in 2000.

“My sincere gratitude to the Canadian Stamp News, on their 45th anniversary, for their indefatigable efforts in promoting the hobby of philately,” added Madesker, an RPSC Fellow and past president plus a Smithsonian Institution Achievement Award winner. “Their reporting of functions and work of societies, especially those of the Royal Philatelic Society of Canada, keeps us in the public’s eye. Dealers, and through them collectors, benefit from timely news and articles.”

A LOOK BACK AT SEVENTIES PRICES

In the June 28, 1976, first edition of CSN, several ads served as a philatelic snapshot in time. Toronto-area dealer Thomas Knox offered a mint never-hinged (MNH) 1897 one-cent Queen Victoria “Diamond Jubilee” stamp (Scott #51) for $2 – just 2.5 per cent of its current $80 value in the current Unitrade Specialized Catalogue of Canadian Stamps. Another offer, this one to buy stamps, came from Toronto’s Charlton International Publishing, which stated its buying price of $32 for a MNH $1 orange “Admiral” stamp (SC #122). Today, this stamp in MNH condition is valued at $260. Another ad promotes downtown Toronto’s Simpsons department store, which then boasted the city’s largest coin and stamp departments with a 21-person staff. The then-new “Jarrett” stamp album, which owed its name to Toronto philatelist Fred Jarrett, was also promoted in an ad for $9.95. To this day, Jarrett remains the only Order of Canada member honoured for philatelic contributions. Another CSN ad from Vancouver’s Vanlee Stamp Exchange offered several kiloware “supermixtures,” with 500 Great Britain stamps listed for just $4.95. U.S.-based dealer Eddie Crowe also promoted his “Stamps of the Month Club,” a subscription service offering a selection of worldwide stamps, covers and other philatelic items for only $7.95 a month (plus $1 shipping and handling).

STOCKING YOUR LIBRARY

With a steady stream of breaking news and in-depth commentary, CSN plays a prominent role in philatelic literature alongside catalogues, books and other publications.

“Every collector should have a strong philatelic library in their field of study,” said Robin Harris, the long-time editor of the Unitrade Specialized Catalogue of Canadian Stamps. “Being up to date on current news in the philatelic world is one part of this.”

Because it’s published biweekly, CSN can keep its finger on the hobby’s pulse, relaying that news to readers on a timely basis.

“This is where CSN comes into play. You are able to publish 26 times a year which is far more than any other club’s bulletin is,” said Harris, a Manitoba resident who’s slated to receive the RPSC’s Geldert Medal on June 14 during that group’s virtual annual general meeting.

“Current news is what CSN is all about, at least for me.”

According to him, the importance of a strong philatelic library cannot be understated.

“I am a strong advocate of a collector having a good philatelic library and am shocked when I hear from collectors on how little they spend on books or subscriptions,” said Harris, who added there are “no excuses.”

“A collector can easily have as good a knowledge of their collecting field as the dealers they buy from. That puts the collector in a strong position – if they take the time to learn.”

In addition to his work with the widely used Unitrade catalogue, Harris is also marking the 10th anniversary of his regular CSN column, “Around the World,” which launched in June 2011.

CAPEX 22 SPONSOR

Today, CSN also became the latest CAPEX 22 sponsor.

As the upcoming international show’s official media sponsor, CSN now joins other partner-level sponsors, including Eastern Auctions, Sparks Auctions and the British North America Philatelic Society, in supporting the June 2022 show.

“I am really excited to announce our partnership, especially today, as Trajan celebrates the 45th anniversary of Canadian Stamp News,” Michael Walsh, the editor and managing partner of CSN, said on June 28. “Once again, like CSN has done at past international shows in Canada, we are taking an exciting, active role at CAPEX 22.”

In addition to serving as the official media sponsor, CSN will also host one of the show’s seminar rooms and issue an exclusive CAPEX 22 collectible next June.

“Congratulations to the CSN team on their 45th anniversary,” said David McLaughlin, CAPEX 22 chair. “CSN has been fully engaged with the philatelic community in Canada since its inception, and I am very pleased to have their generous sponsorship and active participation at CAPEX 22.”

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