A philatelic gathering in Red Deer this weekend should prove that postage stamp collecting is still a thriving hobby in a world of fewer letters.
Dozens of stamp collectors from Edmonton, Calgary and Lethbridge will converge in central Red Deer for a provincewide gathering on Saturday.
As about 70 philatelists compare albums, buy and trade stamps, and discuss the role of Canada Post in foreign exchange, Peter Fleck is hoping to gather names of those interested in restarting a local stamp club.
Red Deer has gone without a club for area postage stamp collectors for about two decades — ever since a key organizer moved away, said Fleck.
He anticipates the 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. gathering at Liberty Christian Assembly (Unit 1B, 6315 Horn St.) will help revive it.
While the volume of letters these days is much reduced by emails and texts, stamp collecting is still holding on — although the hobby always has its ups and downs, Fleck admitted.
Many children take it up and then shelve it as their lives get busy with school and work. Their interest is often refuelled in retirement when they have more time for hobbies, he said.
The Red Deer-based commercial photographer has always liked the aesthetics of stamps.
“They are like little works of art,” explained Fleck — even though Canadian stamps resemble peel-off stickers now, instead of the perforated little squares that once had to be licked.
He still admires the beauty of stamps, as well as their history.
Fleck owns several 1840 Penny Black stamps from Great Britain — the first postage stamp ever created. He also has rare and sought-after stamps, including a recent issue of Canada Post stamps mistakenly printed with the sticky glue on the cover, instead of the back of the stamp, and a 1999 Christmas stamp, featuring the baroque Angel of the Last Judgment, with the wrong kind of perforated edging.
Each sponsoring club will be bringing circuit books for collectors to view at the gathering, as well as stamps to purchase. A number of postal history seminars are scheduled — including the trail of U.S. mail sent to St. Pierre and Miquelon through Canada’s Maritime provinces, and the Alberta bridges portrayed on postcards. And the day will conclude with a live auction.
Admission is free, but participants will be asked to register. More information is available at www.calgaryphilatelicsociety.com, or www.edmontonstampclub.com, or by calling Fleck at 403-348-9916.