I am frequently reminded that one of the cool aspects of my job is that I get interesting mail.
Although most of my friends don’t understand, I know my readers will understand that my use of the word interesting applies just as much to the outside, as to the cover. I was reminded of that once again, at the recent Royal Philatelic Society of Canada convention in Halifax. Several readers will recall that a recent issue had a cover franked with a total of 85 various one-cent stamps, to make up the current rate for first-class domestic postage.
Several collectors commented on it for various reasons. One person said Canada Post didn’t like envelopes stacked because it allowed people to cover up cancels, or use partial stamps. Another person said he had checked before mailing a parcel, and his postmaster said as long as the value was showing and not cancelled it was good enough. Several other people just remarked that they found it fun and interesting. One reader even wrote a letter to the editor.
For me it was just nice to have a bit of fun around the hobby. For much of the past few months, I have been writing about a lot of valuable stamps. Some great rarities are being offered around the world and in Canada as well. When we are talking about stamps worth tens of thousands of dollars, or even more, we are talking serious money. I don’t know anybody who can drop that kind of money on a whim.
That’s fine, for most of us, as the top of the hobby is populated by a few elite collectors and dealers. We never expect to own such wonders but we like to look at them, and dream.
I have also been writing a lot about Canada Post, its financial struggles and its planned postal transformation. In this case, I have tried very hard not to promote the company side, or the union side. I think that times are changing, and future postal historians will be busy trying to put together award-winning displays about the changes in delivery and sorting that are taking place at this time. Stamp collecting is a lot of things: a chance to build a collection, a source of knowledge, a way to compete, a way to invest, and even a business for some. But first and foremost it is a diversion and source of pleasure for thousands of Canadians.
A fun cover that makes us smile for a minute, and gives us something to talk about is a chance to have some fun with stamps.
So when I have the chance to be a bit frivolous with something like 85 stamps on a single envelope, it excites me that my readers respond with interest and humour. Thanks guys, you made my day.