he main purpose of stamps, of course, is to prove pre-payment of postage, but sometimes they can do good work for society as well. That is the case of semi-postals, a special sort of stamp that also raises money for good causes. The concept goes back much further than many collectors realize. In 1890, Great Britain issued the first semi-postal, a postcard with a five penny surcharge over the penny postage rate. The extra money was put into a fund to benefit postal workers. The idea caught on quick, and by the early 1900s they were becoming quite popular in Europe. In 1913 Switzerland issued the first semi-postal in the Pro Juvente series. The series, which supports a charity of the same name which provides programs for children with mental and physical handicaps, continues to this day. The first stamps in the series go back even further, to a group of three 10-centime labels with no postage value, sold through the post office. Continue reading →
I usually find myself chuckling as I’m listening to my favourite radio station during my 50-minute morning commute to my St. Catharines office. But I found myself annoyed one recent morning when the hosts were talking about collecting and hobbies. They talked about numerous things people collect, but when the male host mentioned stamps, his counterpart – a young woman likely in her 20s – quickly dismissed stamp collecting as a dead hobby. I was taken back by how contemptuous she was about stamps. It’so easy to dismiss her as being reflective of a generation that spends more time texting and snapchatting with next to no experience in mailing letters. If I had Bluetooth, I likely would have called into the radio show to give an important news flash that our hobby is alive and well. And yes, I know most philatelists have likely experienced similar comments from family, friends and the younger generation. But it doesn’t mean we have to accept it.
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