John Jamieson, long-time philatelist and owner of Saskatoon Stamp Centre, was presented with an honorary life membership certificate and medal this October after 50 consecutive years as a member of The Royal Philatelic Society of Canada (RPSC).
“You know what’s nice about 50 years of membership? I’ve been breathing for 50 years,” he said, with a laugh. “It’s nice, but I’m a Fellow of The Royal as well, and that’s far more important. I had to do something important to get that honour; I didn’t just have to pay my dues for 50 years.”
Jamieson, who established Saskatoon Stamp Centre in 1965, said he has seen many changes in the hobby throughout the past half-century. Among the most significant differences is the Internet, which “provides a lot of other distractions for collectors of all ages, and it’s changed marketing with things like eBay.”
“A lot of the relatively cheap stuff – basically what I call bottom feeders – is selling for cheap because it’s online. The person on one end can bid what they like, and the person on the other end – often a collector – can sell it for what they want.”
A CHANGING HOBBY
He also noted the hobby’s changing demographics: “The serious collectors are getting older, but there were never really any serious kid collectors,” Jamieson said, adding most of the respondents to one of his customer surveys said they were exposed to philately in childhood by a family member who was a collector.
“They might have collected for a little while – a few years at best – but boys turn 16 and need cars, and girls come into the picture; life moves on. Most people set it aside completely, or at least a fair bit, until they’re in their 40s or 50s. They don’t have the discretionary income or time. It isn’t money that keeps you from stamps; it’s time.”
In addition to Jamieson, seven other RPSC members reached their 50th consecutive year of membership in the society. They include:
- Frank Alusio;
- Gerald Churley;
- John Grimmer;
- David Jones;
- G. B. Leach;
- Hank Narbonne; and
- Ted Nixon.
For more information about The RPSC, visit rpsc.org.