Where do we stamp collectors
find ourselves in April 2020?
By Ed Kroft
We are witnessing many changes in the way we live and how society functions. May this message find you and your loved ones doing as well as can be in the present circumstances. These are stressful times. The media keeps us informed about COVID-19, its consequences and the drive to find a vaccine. We all wish for a speedy and successful end to the current crisis.
People are frightened. Therefore we all should do our best to be kind to each other and to reach out to those in need in whatever way we can. Quarantining, self-isolation and physical distancing make us feel alone. Stamp collectors are fortunate to have our hobby. It enables us to distract ourselves and to travel virtually to faraway places.
The hobby keeps our minds strong and creates opportunities for friendship, social discourse and fellowship with others around the planet. We get excited about rates, routes, markings, topics, perforations, watermarks, cancellations, postcards, maximum cards, illustrated covers, advertising covers, airmail, and about the history, geography, and all the other information that we assimilate and explore for in pursuit of our respective goals. As Ayn Rand wrote: “Stamp collecting is a hobby for busy, purposeful and ambitious people…The pleasure lies in a certain special way of using one’s mind… Stamp collecting fulfills that need. It establishes a wider context of its own, interesting enough to hold one’s attention and to switch one’s mind temporarily away from exhausting problems or burdens”.
How true in these extraordinary days!
What can we in the stamp collecting world do to keep together?
We can do a number of things amidst coping with the daily stresses of life compounded by the COVID-19 crisis. We can stay in touch. The RPSC and other philatelic societies and clubs throughout Canada and the world care about their members and the rest of the unaffiliated community. In the public interest, we have cancelled exhibitions and meetings to promote social distancing and to endeavour to keep everyone safe. These events that we all are missing will hopefully return in full force in the near future. Clubs will open again. The Vincent Graves Greene Research Foundation and the Harry Sutherland Philatelic Library will open again at some point for research and meetings.
What events are taking the place of what is currently unavailable to us? “Virtual” communications are occurring – whether it is through Facebook, email or other social media. We are seeing an increase in philatelic purchasing online and the rise of virtual exhibitions and stamp shows. A number of us are constantly exchanging emails with new covers, articles and information. We applaud and praise each other for our creativity, our research, our treasure-hunting savvy and for sharing ourselves with each other. If you have not done so, consider having regular video conferences using Facetime, WhatsApp, ZOOM or other platforms to discuss topics of interest. The American Philatelic Society is promoting Stamp Chats on its website. It is enjoyable to go to YouTube and watch videos about stamp collecting. You will be amazed at what you will find.
If you have not emailed or called philatelic friends, consider doing so. For the most part, people who are stamp collectors want the interaction, especially if the topic involves stamps. Consider writing an article for newsletters or philatelic journals. Subscribe to new stamp journals or newspapers. Reorganize your collections and the areas in which they are housed. Start collecting a new area. Go through your material to see whether you hadn’t noticed some interesting aspects of your stamps or covers collection at an earlier time. Occupy some time reading catalogues and other journals or literature that have been piling up. Try to interest others in the hobby especially if people are complaining of being bored; this includes younger people. Explore philatelic websites to expand your philatelic knowledge and/or to make new purchases. Even surfacing these websites for material can be an endless source of enjoyment. If you are interested in exhibiting, perhaps now is the time to get started. Experienced exhibitors may also wish to consider revising pages or upgrading their current exhibits.
The RPSC – where are we and what are we doing?
The RPSC continues to function remotely with the help of its dedicated Board of Directors, its volunteers, its extraordinary editor and webmaster, Robin Harris, and Lee Ann Stewart who runs the National Office. The RPSC Board communicates regularly by email and has regular two-hour teleconferences. Lee Ann is working remotely and will continue to process your membership dues and applications for new memberships. The Canadian Philatelist always welcomes your new articles for possible publication and will continue to be published with the able and faithful assistance of those at Trajan Publishing. The RPSC also has a Facebook page which I encourage you to visit.
Please consider nominating people for The RPSC Volunteer Awards. The RPSC has been receiving many worthy nominations. Please keep them coming in. The RPSC will announce the award recipients through various means. `
Royal *2020* Royale was cancelled in the interests of the members and the public at large on March 31, 2020. Details about a new date and the process for the 2020 AGM will be announced sometime soon. A number of directors will continue on for another two-year term In June and two new directors will be formally joining the Board when two others step down. I will comment on that again further in a subsequent message. Royal *2021* Royale is scheduled to take place in Peterborough, Ont., on June 25-27 2021.
Please keep safe and stay healthy
I want to thank you all for your support of The RPSC and the hobby. Thank you for your patience and understanding. I look forward to seeing you all in person, in print, or even in person as the year progresses.
Ed Kroft QC FRPSC
The Royal Philatelic Society of Canada