Long-time Toronto stamp dealer and auctioneer John Talman has died at the age of 83.
A collector since the mid-1940s and a dealer since the late 1950s, Talman opened the doors to his first storefront and auction firm in the early 1970s. A few years later, he served as the secretary and then the president of the Canadian Stamp Dealers Association (CSDA). Later in the 1980s, he moved his business to his long-time Yonge Street location in a second-floor office across the street from the Eaton Centre.
“Other than two computers, it feels like time has stood still here,” wrote Naomi Carniol for the Toronto Star in 2008, adding the late dealer’s only sign was a taped piece of paper on his front door reading, “John H. Talman Ltd. Stamp Auctions & Sales.”
A familiar scene for dealers and collectors alike, Talman’s office walls were “lined with bookshelves that touch the ceiling,” Carniol added.
“Each is packed with a rainbow of binders.”
Before his late ’70s foray into the stamp business, Talman worked in the mining industry; however, his collecting interests date back to 1946, when he received his first stamp – the 50-cent logging stamp (Scott #272) issued that September as part of the “Peace Issue” – at the age of eight. As a student, he also belonged to his school’s stamp club and later sold material at his parents’ Dundas Street bookstore.
Before moving to his Yonge Street store, Talman was the third stamp dealer to operate out of 37 Victoria St., in what was then known as Toronto’s philatelic heart.
“This was the big boom time for stamps – I’d say between ’77 and ’85 – and there were about 13 stamp stores down in that area of Toronto,” fellow veteran dealer Ted Wright, the long-time manager of Hollywood Canteen’s stamp department, told CSN in 2016.
The intersection of Victoria and Adelaide was also fondly remembered by George Wegg, one of Wright’s three partners through much of the ’70s, in the January/February 1976 issue of The Canadian Philatelist: “Centred around this corner has been some form of stamp activity for 125 years. During this period, many of Toronto’s most active stamp dealers were located within 100 yards of this corner.”
Talman eventually closed his Yonge Street store in 2015 but continued operating his online store, eBay account and auction business until his death on Aug. 13.
Talman was also a former member of the British North America Philatelic Society, the invite-only Philatelic Specialists Society of Canada and the Toronto Stamp Collectors Club, the latter of which he served as president. At the time of his death, he had not been a CSDA member for several years.