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Y R E V I L E D L A l I o t C x e E s t s P i S t Stamp Society philatelllecting o c p Strai m a t s f o s t i f e n e b the Story and photos by Laura Lofgren On Nov. 15, 1864, the word “philately” first appeared. It was coined by French stamp collector Georges Herpin in an article for the French magazine “Collectionneur de Timbre-Poste.” Philately, the collection and study of postage stamps, has obscure origins in 19th century England. The country introduced the world’s first postage stamp — the Penny Black — in 1840, according to Mary H. Lawson of the National Postal Museum. A new field of interest, postal history, emerged as more countries issued stamps, and mail burgeoned within and among nations. This field’s focus is not only the history of the postal systems but also the history of related uses of stamps on mail. Philately, then, encompasses not only stamps per se, Lawson said, but also a broad-based interpretation of the physical mail. Stamp collectors, or philatelists, through the
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ages can also be considered as historians, then, and the members of Sequim’s Strait Stamp Society know their stamps. Cathie Osborne, secretary, treasurer and show chairperson of the club, brings joy and an electric charge to what might be considered by some as a “boring” hobby. “We have a lot of fun,” Osborne said of the club, whose members range from the young to the young at heart. “If you need a hobby, you should try stamp collecting to see if it’ll fit what you need. (It) can be done by any age and is stimulating for the mind.”
CLUB HISTORY, SHOWS
The Strait Stamp Society is a chapter of the American Philatelic Society (www.stamps.org), which is the largest nonprofit organization for stamp collectors in the world, and Northwest Federation of Stamp Clubs, the regional
organization that encompasses Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington, as well as British Columbia and Alberta in Canada. The Strait Stamp Society was first started in 1973, and Osborne has been there from the beginning. In 1994, the club had its first stamp show, where philatelists could come and show off their collections. “It’s encouraged our people to show off what they’ve got,” Osborne said. With each event, a special cancellation is produced. The club used the Sequim city logo for its first show. A cancellation is a postal marking applied on a postage stamp or postal stationery to deface the stamp and prevent its re-use. Cancellations come in a huge variety of designs, shapes, sizes and colors, and many philatelist collect them. People travel from all over the Pacific Northwest to attend the Strait Stamp Show, including collectors from Oregon, Idaho and Canada.