Stamp collectors gather at Caboto Club for WINPEX 2021


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Churches are what fascinate rookie stamp collector Janice White who traveled from Mississauga for a weekend in Windsor to attend WINPEX 2021, the annual show of the Essex County Stamp Club.

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White was only recently bitten by the collector bug.

“I’ve decided to just kind of jump in and start doing something,” said White as she pored through plastic sleeves containing the topic of her choice – churches.

“There’s different ways that people collect but mine’s in the topical category and then focusing just on churches of the world.”

White said she had found stamps featuring famous churches such as the Vatican and Notre-Dame de Paris but she was most surprised at the variety of Canadian churches on stamps.

“That’s kind of interesting. I didn’t realize what we had,” she said.

Visitors jammed the annual show, highlighting philately — the collection and study of stamps and other postal items — held Saturday at the Caboto Club.

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People browse through catalogs of stamps at the WINPEX Stamp Show at the Caboto Club, on Saturday, March 12, 2022.
People browse through catalogs of stamps at the WINPEX Stamp Show at the Caboto Club, on Saturday, March 12, 2022. Photo by Dax Melmer /Windsor Star

Wall to wall vendors displayed boxes, binders and showcases of rare and unusual stamps and postal paraphernalia while buying, selling and trading took place.

“It’s wonderful, wonderful finally (to be at an in-person event),” White said. “There’s lots of hand sanitizers and everybody’s been very cautious and so I think it’s quite safe.”

Bill Longley, a lifelong stamp collector and current dealer and appraiser, who traveled from his home in Waterdown, Ont., near Hamilton, displayed one of his most unique finds – a so-called mourning envelope sent from Osborne House, the former royal residence of Queen Victoria on the Isle of Wight.

“This letter was mailed from, the postmark says … January 25th, 1901,” Longley said. “(Queen Victoria) died January 21st1901.

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People browse through catalogs of stamps at the WINPEX Stamp Show at the Caboto Club, on Saturday, March 12, 2022.
People browse through catalogs of stamps at the WINPEX Stamp Show at the Caboto Club, on Saturday, March 12, 2022. Photo by Dax Melmer /Windsor Star

“It’s going to Emil Fusch who was the official (royal) painter. So three days after she died Queen Victoria’s royal residence mailed a letter to him and he painted her death portrait of her.

The envelope is distinguishable as a mourning envelope because it is banded in black, Longley said.

Unfortunately, the envelope did not contain the letter.

“This is a little bit of history,” he added.

Fifteen-year-old Ben Margerison was volunteering at the show.

Janice White, from Mississauga, browses through the catalogs of stamps at the WINPEX Stamp Show at the Caboto Club, on Saturday, March 12, 2022.
Janice White, from Mississauga, browses through the catalogs of stamps at the WINPEX Stamp Show at the Caboto Club, on Saturday, March 12, 2022. Photo by Dax Melmer /Windsor Star

Margerison is a member of the youth arm of the Essex County Stamp Club that he meets during the regular club meetings.

“I like that you can go anywhere and see almost anything in a stamp,” said Margerison, explaining what drew him to stamp collecting. “You can see almost any building, any animal.”

He said his relatives, especially his Dutch family members, regularly send him bags of stamps they have saved for him.

“I’ve probably been collecting for at least six years. I’ve probably got over a thousand stamps.”

The Essex County Stamp Club meets on the first and third Wednesday of the month at Community of Christ Church, 5050 Howard Ave. Call 519-966-2276 for further information.

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