Hobbies all-important during our current crisis

By Jesse Robitaille

I’m preaching to the choir here, but in times of crisis, there’s no end to the benefits of having a hobby.

We all know this, but it bears repeating: philately is good for the soul.

It’s especially true today, when we’re faced with never-ending updates on a gloomy situation that only seems to get worse by the hour.

In these bizarrely unprecedented times, with much of Canada under quarantine as COVID-19 continues to spread, we as collectors are fortunate to have philately at our disposal.

Like always, philately allows us to take our minds away from the burdens and stresses of everyday life. For more than a century, the hobby has been a safe refuge from a chaotic world. Now more than ever, it’s a way for us to keep calm, busy and mentally stimulated while we’re all forced to stay at home.

Whether you’re looking for education, entertainment or distraction, philately has something to offer. (And there’s much more to it than simply collecting stamps: beyond buying and selling, which you can still do as of the time of printing, there are countless other off-shoot activities such as research, writing, exhibiting and more—and all of it extending into areas like history, art, science and geography.)

You can continue to support Canadian dealers, who are taking a significant hit as shows – often their primary source of income – are cancelled across the country.

To find a reputable dealer in your area, visit the Canadian Stamp Dealers Association (CSDA) listing at csdaonline.com/members. All CSDA dealer members follow a strict code of ethics.

Many dealers also continue to offer their wares through online auction sites like eBay.

Canadian auction houses, for the most part, are continuing with online-only auctions. Colonial Acres’ April 3-4 “Premier Auction” is one example (click here for more information). All Nations Stamp & Coin is also continuing its weekly online auctions.

This is a small representation of what’s happening across the country—many dealers and auctioneers have adjusted their businesses and are carrying on accordingly. I recommend keeping informed, if you can, by checking dealers’ social media accounts for the most recent updates.

THE CAMARADERIE CONTINUES

Think of all the friends you’ve made through the hobby over the years.

Would philately be the same without them?

Just because we’re unable to attend shows and meetings, for the time being, doesn’t mean we can’t stay in close contact with our fellow collectors—something we at CSN strongly encourage. After all, camaraderie is the hobby’s defining feature.

As I write this, CSN is exploring ways to keep collectors connected, whether it’s through existing Facebook pages or virtual seminars and meetings. We’ll have more information soon at facebook.com/canadianstampnews.

Already, collectors are using social media to not only share material, research and stories but also organize virtual exhibitions. Jane Sodero, a member of the Nova Scotia Stamp Club, is inviting submissions in two categories – single pages and title pages – through the club’s Facebook page. To learn more about what’s being called “Homepex,” visit facebook.com/nsstampclub.

Even without physical club meetings, Organized Philately can also continue through social media and other meeting platforms (like Skype, GoToMeeting and Zoom). The time to embrace the Internet is now.

If you’ve spent all day sorting stamps (or covers) and you still need something to do, check out the British North America Philatelic Society’s “Online Resources and Exhibits.” Dozens of books, articles and exhibits covering a range of philatelic topics are free for the taking.

Again, this is just one example of the many resources available to Canadian philatelists—even your home library likely holds the ticket to an afternoon of stress-free reading.

CSN TO CARRY ON

It’s also important to note CSN plans to continue serving readers through its bi-weekly print edition, which will continue to be filled with engaging philatelic content, plus its weekly e-newsletter and constant updates at canadianstampnews.ca.

To read more about CSN’s COVID-19 plan, click here.

We’re hopeful the aggressive actions taken by our government will help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

We’re also hopeful the disruptions to your hobbies and lives are short-lived. In the meantime, we’ll come together – as collectors and as friends – to overcome our current crisis. It’s not the first one, and it won’t be the last.

If you have any suggestions for collectors, clubs or us at CSN, please drop me a line at reporter@trajan.ca.

Thank you for your continued support.

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