Adventures in Philately

By Phil Visser

After inheriting my father’s collection, I knew the areas we had worked on to further the Dutch collection. The years following his death were busy with child rearing and so the collection rested with some limited organizing when time permitted. On my return to active stamp collecting, I also ventured into the world of eBay, with the mission to fill in the holes.

We had worked on finding perforation varieties and while many issues were already present, it was the back of the book that was particularly vacant. Through the eBay portal I purchased collection/pages of early stamps to fill in the areas of interest. It was through those purchases that “extras” came into my stockpile. One of those purchases had this particular stamp and cancel in it. I set it aside because the place name was unusual, and it was simply a nice cancel. It was several years later that cancellations became a focus of my Dutch collection. This is when a tale on how philately came into my sphere of interest.

This particular cancel is called the “small round cancel.” The cancel itself is about 21 mm in diameter and fits nicely on the stamp that it was supposed to obliterate. That last point is what makes collecting this cancel interesting. Looking at the cancelation, three elements are a part of it. First the place name, then the date and year of postal usage and finally, at the bottom is the time of day that the clerk cancelled the letter.

Studying the place names is interesting in itself, but what has complicated and expanded the total number of cancels, is that a language commission change the spelling of names, thus, while the location is the same, there can be more than one cancel from that place. For instance, the town of Doesborgh was respelled as Doesburg, or the town of Hasselt (Ov.) was later changed to simply Hasselt. That is just the city town/village names. Don’t forget RPO’s, sub post offices in larger cities like Amsterdam which had 14 of them (Amsterdam 1 etc). All told, there is over 2,400 different cancels to collect.

Through eBay, I became connected with the Netherlands Philatelist of Northern California and from there learned more about collecting these cancels as well as other types of cancels from the classical period of stamps (1860-1930). This led to collecting the cancel dates and so I added pages for each month in a calendar year. Because this period was so prolific in mailing letters, it only took three to four years to fill in the calendar. But the calendar must also consider the full year, and don’t forget February 29th. I then also started to collect the calendar on one specific stamp, Scott # 35. This calendar is about two thirds full, with no month of the year completed yet.

As mentioned above, the third element was the time of day the stamp was cancelled. This was fairly simple to gather and so I started to collect this on certain stamps as well, Scott # 23, 35 and 40. The collection of #40 is complete, #35 requires one more find, but the early one, #23 is about two thirds complete.

Naturally, there is also catalogues printed which go into the grading of cancels so that values can be assigned. The one bad thing about this is that the pages I had made to house the collection do not have room for new discoveries and the odd deletion. All told, the cancel collection is housed in four, three ring binders. Two of those binders house the “numeral cancel” collection while the other types of cancels are in the last two binders One moral of the story is that collecting stamps is never boring! Even focusing on one country, the average collector will never complete a collection, because every country has some varieties that one or very few copies exist of. Enjoy what you can from the hobby, and yes a worldwide collection is still a reasonable thing to collect.

Phil Visser is Newsletter Editor for the Owen Sound Stamp Stamp (Chapter 191 of the RPSC).


Kapex 2019 sees 68 frames ‘of excellent-calibre exhibits’

The Kawartha Stamp Club (KSC) held its 63rd annual stamp show and exhibition – Kapex 2019 – in Peterborough this April, when nearly 70 frames of competitive exhibits vied for top honours.

The exhibits, which were of an “excellent calibre” according to Kapex 2019 publicity chair Rick Stankiewicz, covered a cross-section of topics, including multi-frame exhibits on Canadian, British and U.S. material plus a variety of topical and thematic exhibits and several single-frame and single-page entries.

“Our judges were Garfield Portch and Robert Pinet, who both did an excellent job for us,” said Stankiewicz. “It is this aspect of Kapex that sets us apart from many other shows, and we are proud of it.”

Overall, this year’s event “was another successful show with great weather,” Stankiewicz added.

“There were lots of options for the collecting public, with live auctions, club books and free hourly draws. With 10 dealers from across Ontario, plus Canada Post and hundreds of public in attendance, including a few young collectors, it made for another great show. Thanks to all who participated.”


At this year’s show – as for 16 other years – attendees were offered special-edition Kapex 2019 show covers.

Two versions, both of which were cancelled with the April 13 show date, were sold for $4 (or two for $7). The covers’ theme was the 100th anniversary of the first Canadian trans-Atlantic flight with a specially designed cancel produced by Canada Post.

“The envelopes incorporate a cachet showing John Alcock and Arthur Whitten-Brown on one and another showing the Vickers Vimy bomber,” said Stankiewicz, who added both covers are complemented by the 1969 anniversary stamp (Scott #494).

“As an added bonus, there is a sleeve insert that describes the background of the cover commemoration. This is the annual fundraiser for the KSC, so with only limited quantities of covers still available, if you are interested in copies they are now only available through the KSC directly, via Karl Wysotski at, while supplies last. Unfortunately, there are very few show covers left from previous years.”

Next year’s 64th annual KSC show and exhibition is tentatively set for spring 2020 in Peterborough.



President’s Message — May/June Newsletter

Hello everyone. Since my report to the membership at the RPSC annual general meeting at St. Catharines in June 2018, I have been busy trying to advance the interests of the RPSC and philately both inside and outside of Canada.

I have been advocating for an inclusive Society in which members of the RPSC may volunteer to participate in activities. There have been five Board meetings at which Directors from across Canada participated in two-hour teleconferences . Preparation is required for each board meeting to facilitate efficient and productive dialogue. Regularly, directors communicate about ongoing organizational issues affecting the Society. These include discussion about benefits for members, the planning for upcoming conventions and shows, Canada Post, membership dues, The Canadian Philatelist magazine, international participation in shows by Society members, financial statement reviews, funding and branding for the Society, creating awards for members including volunteers, and other important housekeeping matters such as records retention and our valuable relationship with the VGG Foundation .

Our focus at the Board level has been to implement all or some of the principles set out in a new Vision Statement adopted by the Board last year. It has taken a lot of work and commitment from Directors and volunteers to try to bring about the changes. We are attempting to demonstrate the RPSC is willing to take a leadership role in promoting and encouraging “stamp collecting” (which includes the collection of topicals, thematics, postal history, aerophilately, and the use of postcards and other ephemera) for Canadians of all ages, genders and ethnicity and to be an inclusive not exclusive organization.

We have been working hard to partner with various philatelic organizations within and outside Canada to appeal to our audience , including the public at large , beginning collectors, specialists and the philatelic community at large. We need to make sure the public has a better idea of what stamp collecting is all about.

The RPSC now publishes a regular newsletter every four to eight weeks to keep members current of the workings in the Society. My thanks to Mike Walsh for assistance in the production and delivery of the newsletter. Chapter news and other information finds its way into the newsletter. The RPSC welcomes your contributions. So far the feedback has been positive.

The RPSC has also been discussing the offering of educational programmes to collectors to enhance the pleasure and friendliness of “stamp collecting”. We will need more volunteers and fundraising to do a better job at this. We are also considering the implementation of a mentoring programme to help collectors and exhibitors at all levels.

In 2019, we are rolling out the new volunteers recognition policy to ensure our Society signals to the philatelic community in Canada that we must acknowledge those across Canada who promote our hobby in one or more ways – whether at the local, regional or national level. In doing so, the RPSC is trying to promote and encourage volunteerism in “stamp collecting,” philatelic exhibiting and philatelic judging. At the 2019 Annual General Meeting, we will be acknowledging the efforts of over 20 individuals across Canada who are outstanding volunteers who help to keep our hobby vibrant and who help other collectors.

The RPSC also continues to represent residents of Canada in worldwide philatelic exhibitions and in worldwide philatelic organizations . The RPSC, with other outstanding organizations in Canada tries to serve as the Canadian centre of excellence for collectors, philatelic exhibitors and philatelic judges . The FIP will be holding an international judging academy at the VGG Foundation at which philatelic judges from Canada and other countries will attend. Plans for an international stamp exhibition in Canada in 2022 is at a very preliminary stage .

I am grateful to the unwavering assistance offered by my Board of Directors , Margaret Schulzke, Ted Nixon, Charles Verge, George Pepall, Rob Timberg and Garfield Portsch and to all volunteers across the country and in chapters and clubs. Thanks also to Robin Harris, editor of The Canadian Philatelist and our webmaster . All of you help to keep our Society strong. Thanks to Jim Szeplaki at Trajan for the help with The Canadian Philatelist and to Jesse Robitaille of Canadian Stamp News for coverage of the RPSC and its activities.

A special thanks to Margaret is warranted. After many years, Margaret is stepping down as the Executive Assistant of the RPSC. Her wealth of knowledge, and experience with Society matters has helped us all along the way. We will all miss her pleasant and polite manner and her never ending desire to assist. We welcome her replacement, Lee Ann Stewart, and look forward to a long working relationship with her.

In a recent edition of the newsletter and The Canadian Philatelist, I spoke of myths and truths about the RPSC. The RPSC tries to break even annually in an effort to offer benefits to its members . The RPSC wants to do more for you but it needs funding. Society dues can only pay for so much. Therefore, in the upcoming year, the RPSC or one or more of its affiliates will likely seek funding through various means, including the issuance of tax deductible receipts for charitable contributions. The RPSC would also like to apply for grant funding from various public and private organizations. We need help in this regard. We need volunteers who can assist with identifying possible funding sources and writing grant applications. Please do contact me if you can or all willing to help.

There is a lot for me to do in the role of President of the RPSC. It is an unpaid job as are directorship positions. Thanks to those of you who have or will be retiring from the Board. Many of us work full-time as well so our dedication to the RPSC is truly a labour of love for the RPSC and the hobby we enjoy so much.

I cannot emphasize enough we need your help to keep our Society strong, relevant and inclusive. Please join to help the RPSC implement its goals and to make collecting an enjoyable experience for you.

I hope to see all of you at the upcoming Royal convention in Mississauga and in Fredericton on June 19-21, 2020.

Respectfully submitted

Ed Kroft QC, RPSC,CPA (Hons.)