Eminent Ottawa aerophilatelist dies at 86

Michael Shand, an eminent aerophilatelist who lived in Ottawa but was better known in New Zealand, where he was patron of the New Zealand Air Mail Society, died on April 14 at the age of 86.

After graduating in geography from Aberdeen University in Scotland and subsequently with a masters degree in public administration from Carleton, Shand enjoyed a career in public service. He worked in the most remote settlements of the Arctic Circle; within the bureaucratic halls of treasury board in Ottawa; and the aviation administration side of Transport Canada.

Fellow aerophilatelist and editor of The Canadian Aerophilatelist Chris Hargreaves shared the following obituary with CSN.

Mike was born in Scotland, lived in Ottawa, but was an authority on the air mails of New Zealand.

When asked to explain this interest, Mike commented that: “For boys like me growing up in Scotland in the 1930s, stamp and cigarette card collecting were normal activities. Little stamp shops were everywhere, with assorted boxes and treasures for a penny, while many stamp publications, new and used, lay all around. A small bag of many stamps, some stickers and a simple printed album were all it took to get started.

“It eventually became clear that nobody could collect everything, and choices had to be made. For me, having lived through exciting times watching Spitfires shoot down Messerschmitt’s, and listening to stories of famous people flying around the world, the Pacific seemed exotic, especially to a student who had never been out of his home town. The Pacific area also offered venture and mystery, and even possibilities as pocket money was being replaced with salary.

“China Japan and such places offered some interest, but the literature could not be read. The Philippines were attractive, but had other people actively working on them. Australia had the complication of extensive mail development to Europe as well as in the Pacific. Then there was New Zealand which seemed relatively neglected, and had many early rarities that were  just as interesting as the other countries, but were much more within my budget.”

Mike went on to develop one of the best collections of New Zealand air mails. It won a Large Gold medal and the Grand Award at Orapex in Ottawa in 2002, and a Large Gold medal and the Reserve Grand Award at Auckland in the same year.

As well as being a very active collector and researcher, Mike was the vice president of the Canadian Aerophilatelic Society from 1993 to 2005, and contributed regular articles to The Canadian Aerophilatelist on a wide variety of topics.

The New Zealand Air Mail Society asked Mike to update the New Zealand Airmail Catalogue, which had first been produced by Jim Stapleton in 1987 and revised in 1994. Mike edited the third edition, which  added more than 100 new entries. Because of the large number of additions, the catalogue was completely renumbered. After it was published, the numbers in the second addition were referred to as Stapleton numbers, and the numbers in the new third edition are referred to as Shand numbers.

After the catalogue was produced, Mike was elected patron of the New Zealand Air Mail Society.

Mike is survived by his wife Rita, four children and several grandchildren.

He will be missed by many people.

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