By Henny Uyl
The Oxford Philatelic Society (OPS), which is based in Woodstock, Ont., is celebrating its 70th anniversary this year.
Formed on March 3, 1949, the club held an event on Jan. 9 to honour its decades-long history in Southwestern Ontario.
In 1949, four stamp collectors gathered at the local Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) centre to form what was initially called the Woodstock Stamp Club. Within the year, it was renamed the Oxford Philatelic Society to include all members attending from Oxford County, and its first president was Tony Keller.
The first Oxpex – the club’s annual exhibition – was held in May 1951 at the Ingersoll home of a “Mrs. Wolsteholm.” The show consisted of 12 variously sized picture frames, each displaying a separate exhibit.
In 1981, the OPS hosted its first All-Ontario Topical Exhibition, which is called Otex and is now part of every Oxpex show.
Since 1994, John Knox Christian School on Juliana Drive in Woodstock (now Woodstock Christian School) has been the home to the event every March, when about 140 competitive exhibit frames are displayed.
OPS founding member John Gruszka was present at the Jan. 9 event marking the club’s 70th anniversary.
He and other attendees enjoyed a presentation on the history of the society, and Gruszka cut the anniversary cake alongside OPS President Henny Uyl.
To commemorate this special event, the club has issued limited-edition Picture Postage stamps featuring the club logo and its anniversary dates. Only 300 of these stamps were printed, and half of them have been used or sold.
Show covers and stamps will be available for sale at this year’s Oxpex/Otex, which is being held on March 21 on Woodstock, Ont.
Henny Uyl is the president of the Oxford Philatelic Society. For more information, visit oxfordphilsoc.com.