Christmas Philately…..sort of

Christmas only brought one new philatelic item. A few books were on my list, as were subscriptions to magazines I shouldn’t collect. What did appear for this boy who was somewhere between naughty and nice was a new magnifying glass. Growing up a magnifying glass was mostly used to burn holes in wood and paper, so having one for my stamps seems novel.

I also took the time to assemble a shelf in my spare room. I will devote several shelves to my stamps, as well as my study of Japanese, and a few travel souvenirs. It isn’t organized yet, but hopefully by tomorrow or the next day. Having seen some fantastic stamp rooms, I am envious.

I haven’t made many stamp purchases as Christmas and purchasing my cycling trainer took precedence. I am also hoping that the new year will once again provide us with stamp shows and other opportunities to enjoy the hobby.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. Also, Happy New Year and hoping it is better in all respects.

What philatelic items did you receive or purchase for yourself?

The last stamp needed

My effort to collect every stamp from 1970 got a boost today.  The last stamp I needed to finish my collection of Egyptian stamps for that year finally arrived….and what a strange trip it has been.

I bought what was advertised as the complete year on Ebay.  Sadly, it was missing two stamps, one of which was quite expensive and one of which was moderately priced.  I should have returned the whole set and written a bad review of the seller.  Instead, I took a substantial discount and bided my time.

I managed to collect the more expensive one a few months later.  The less expensive one proved to be a bit more elusive.  There were lots of sellers, but it was hard to justify paying as much for shipping as it was for the stamp.  I had to wait until I found a seller who also had some other things that I wanted.

Come to think of it, maybe that is the ploy.  They have a substantial shipping cost, which forces me to buy more to “make it worth my while”.  I should probably feel a bit duped, but instead, I am so happy to tick off that country in my collection.

I found a seller that was having a sale and bought a bunch of Canadian stamps to fill in some holes in my collection.  This seller also had the elusive Egyptian stamp.  I probably spent more than I wanted to–but that happens all the time.  It happens on the computer and it happens at shows.

The stamp itself is quite interesting and surprisingly large.  It might very well be the largest single stamp I have in my collection.

They Cancelled the Show

stamps iranOf course with the Coronavirus, or Covid-19, they  had to cancel the stamp and coin show.  It just that twice a year I look forward to going.  The atmosphere is great and I usually make some good progress on my 1970’s project.  I also get tempted by lots of other shiny things that are not at all connected to my project and cause me to spend money that I shouldn’t–but that probably happens to all of us.

Instead, I am spending lots of time online looking at stamps to buy and wondering if the shipping cost is making it too expensive?  Then I try to group a bunch of stuff together…and then I end up spending too much money, or abandoning the idea till another day.

I am keeping busy today by updating my stamp have and don’t have list for the 1970’s project.  I would have done it just before the show…but there was no show.  I wish there were a program that could make a better checklist for me. Maybe if I forked out the money for EZstamp.  If that price wasn’t in US dollars I probably would have done in months ago.

Happy collecting everyone.  I am sure more people are finding time to devote to their stamps now that we are locked inside.  I know I am.

Most Recent Purchase:  about twenty stamps from Iran for the 1970’s project.  They might take a while to arrive, but I’ve got patience.

How to Collect the Collection

stamp collection

Photo by Pixabay on

At the last show I attended, people asked me, “What do you collect?” on more than one occasion. When I answered 1970, they all seemed to pause, waiting for me to explain.  After I did, some said “Oh, I see.” A few, thought that it was a good idea.  The muttered ideas like;

 big enough without being too big

some good variety


not so old as to be very expensive

This makes me ponder a bit. I suppose stamp collecting all the stamps of 1970 will be much like other forms of collecting.  Some stamps will be easy to get and other will pose a bit more of a problem and then there will be those ones that will prove very difficult.

That difficulty will either come because of scarcity or expense. Thanks to the internet, stamp dealers, and stamp shows,  scarcity isn’t such a problem.  I can cast my net far and wide to find the stamps. However, can I pay for them?  French Antarctica seems rather expensive…..

Still, there will be some that will both be expensive and hard to find. North Korea, I suppose will cause a problem.  I wonder.

Stamp collectors far and wide, I have some questions for you.

What stamps from 1970 will be hardest to find, do you think/reckon?

What stamps are you desperately wanting to add to your collection?

Poking Around a Stamp Shop

In the quest to increase my 1970’s stamp collection, I visited a local stamp dealer. Actually, local is just a term I use to denote a stamp dealer I can get to.  The truth is that there are no local stamp dealers.  A big stamp auction house is located in my town, but they do not do any retail operations.  In this case, this one was located in Toronto and was within walking distance of the subway.

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I walked in. I figured that the store would be set up somewhat like their booth is at a stamp show.  I have seen their booth, and even talked to them at the show.  The store was a little more chaotic…in a fun way.  Basically, they had a lot of different stuff in all manner of places.  It kind of reminded me of American Pickers.  There was organization, but I would need a guide.

The owners are a husband and wife team, but only the wife was there at that time. She was quite helpful in guiding me around the store, but there were a couple of times when the layout seemed to exasperate her as well.  I had fun poking around, but I am trying to avoid becoming a collector of piles of stuff.  There were lots of commemorative stuff, but nothing jumped out at me.

Sadly, I was really off my game. After not finding what I was looking for, I started looking at some stamps from Laos.  Having not brought my own numbers, I quickly checked the catalogues they had lying around the store.  I researched the numbers, but didn’t compare the catalogue images to the stamps I picked out.  I confused the semi-postal Scott numbers with the regular postal numbers.  Now I have Laos stamps from 1961 instead of 1970.  It just goes to show you that you need to be prepared.

Looking to put a positive spin on things, I must say that the stamps look rather beautiful.

Attending An Autumn Stamp Show


I went to the National Postage Stamp and Coin Show yesterday.  I had already gone to the Spring Show and was expecting pretty much the same thing.  This time, however, I had a better idea of what I was looking for.  I could have done more research, but I got busy and put it off.  For my previous experience at this show, please click here.

I had five main goals in attending the show

  1. Fill in the gaps in my Canada collection from the 40’s to the 80’s
  2. Advance my collection of the year 1970
  3. Get two binders and a bunch of vario sheets–they had had such an amazing deal last time and I was hoping it would be repeated.
  4. Don’t start broadening my collection by starting to collect other stuff
  5. Don’t spend too much money.

How did I do?

Number one

This was an area that I spent a bit of time preparing.  I have the Canadian Catalogue so I was able to write down the numbers I needed and make a pretty decent checklist.  I probably should have scouted out the dealers a bit better to see which one had the best deal.  Instead, I picked one that I had good rapport with from the previous show and sat down at his booth.

I picked up a good number of stamps and with a couple of exceptions and things I overlooked, the 50-70s are pretty much done.

Number two

I managed to pick up the Poland stamps I was missing from my 1970 year collection. I had bid on them on eBay, and won. The seller contacted me and told me that the set was incomplete and hoped I would be okay with that.  I wasn’t and asked for a refund.  The seller granted the refund and after reading my explanation of why I didn’t like the deal (not just on the principle of the thing, but on my lack of clarity on how difficult or easy it would be to rectify on my own) he gave me a refund and mailed the stamps to me for free.

I also managed to get the Falkland Islands, Gambia, Ireland, Gibraltar, and all of Fiji except for four stamps (which I have located on eBay).  I also managed to learn that French Antarctica stamps are way too expensive.  There are only four of them, but they won’t be entering my collection in mint state any time soon.

This is an area which I wasn’t prepared for. I should have done my writing of Scott numbers.  I have the online site that has this information, but I found it difficult to wade through it.

Number three

 Sadly, the great deal on binders and vario sheets was nowhere to be found. That dealer didn’t show up to this show.  I was disappointed, but maybe they will be at the Spring show or some other show.  Maybe they will have a good online deal.  I did find someone selling the sheets, but the price was no where close to the other deal.

Number four

 I managed to mostly restrain myself. I did pick up a package of train stamps in a presentation pack.  It was a phenomenal deal …. and I like trains.  There are other stamps in the package, so I don’t know what I will do with them.

I also picked up a 1915 Canadian penny. These are the large cents.  I bought it because it wasn’t expensive, though considerably higher than the one cent price tag it had originally, and because I think they look good and I have always wanted to have one of the pennies.


Number five

Well, this was never going to go according to plan. I spent modestly on the stamps, (except for the Falkland Islands and a couple of stamps in the Ireland collection), but I came across a set of 2015 Scott Catalogues. I was hoping that I could get them from my library when they were going to discard them, but I couldn’t count on that happening.  I was offered a very reasonable deal.  While they won’t help with the 2018 or 2019 values, they will help me do research for the 1970 project.  It will also give me a lot to look at.


I enjoyed the show and enjoyed talking to people at the show. I wish I had gotten there a bit earlier, or maybe paid the admission fee for Saturday.  The previous show had displays by the North Toronto Stamp Club that were interesting.  I wish they had had some of those this time.  However, the stamp club is having its open house in two weeks, so I can see that as some kind of conflict.

I have got to prepare more and I have to be better informed. Next time.