By Jesse Robitaille
A “Travelling Postal Museum” produced by long-time philatelist and award-winning exhibitor Grégoire Teyssier, of Québec, is making the rounds at stamp shows across the country.
First presented this March at the Lakeshore Stamp Club exhibition in Dorval, Qué.; at Orapex in Ottawa this May; and at the Postal History Society of Canada (PHSC) Symposium in Hamilton this July, the museum will also be displayed at BNAPEX – the annual convention of the British North America Philatelic Society – in Québec this September.
“At a time when our Canadian Postal Museum is no longer there, I hope that this small exhibition will allow the general public and specialists to get closer to our postal heritage,” said Teyssier, who won the Horace Harrison Grand Award at BNAPEX 2016 in Fredericton, N.B., for his exhibit, “Québec 1763-1867: Un Siècle d’Histoire Postale et de Marcophilie.”
“In this small unpretentious museum, I try to present interesting and/or curious and most original things, although there are still some reproductions. On the postal history side, in addition to the traditional old postage hammers and other everyday postman items, there is also a former postage stamp vendor, a reproduction of a steamboat mail box of the 1850s, and also some objects – reproductions – of more unusual objects, such as the famous Punchon, a molasses barrel with a sail that was used in 1910 in the Magdalen Islands to transport mail. Or the famous St. Kilda Mail Boat, a piece of hollow wood in which the inhabitants inserted their letters and which was thrown into the sea. Or even the not-less-famous zinc Boule de Moulins, which served in 1870 to carry mail to Paris besieged by the Prussians, and many other curiosities.”
Teyssier’s museum also includes several philatelic artifacts, including:
- the famous one-penny black, the world’s first stamp;
- an album of Canadian stamps published in 1899 by a Québec stamp merchant; and
- old catalogues valuing the 1897 $5 Jubilee stamp (Scott #65) at only $7 in mint condition (the 2018 Unitrade Specialized Catalogue of Canadian Stamps lists a Very Fine example at $2,000, plus 200 per cent for a never hinged example).
The inspiration for the “Travelling Postal Museum” began at Capex 96, an international philatelic exhibition held in 1996 in Toronto, where Teyssier was responsible for producing “almost all thematic exhibitions, such as Postal Toys, in collaboration with the Canadian Postal Museum; the 100th anniversary exhibit of the Klondike, which I did with the helpful help of Gray Scrimgeour; the Punchon; and also the reconstruction of a 19th-century post office in Rigaud, Qué.”
“It was from that moment that I began to take a great interest in the old postal artifacts and also everything related to the history of philately, so I started collecting objects that I found interesting.”