Everyone anticipates the scrum. That’s when Molly Campbell dumps out the week’s collection of stamps for club members to root through.
“Everybody dives in,” says the organizer of the Monterey Stamp Club. “Everybody collects different things so there’s no fisticuffs involved.”
In fact the comrades know each other well, spotting something a peer will like and gleefully handing it across the table. That helpfulness extends to club participation in shows. During the Victoptical 2015 Stamp and Postcard Show in Victoria they pulled together a nice package for display. Some even put together a couple pages to make up the 18-page ‘frame’ for entry in the two-day show.
“Everybody chips in and helps, they’re a good group,” says Campbell. “Each person has done one or two … our club doesn’t have 18 members.”
Campbell has been a member of the philatelic group since 1982 and even worked in a stamp store in Victoria after retiring from nursing. One of their newest members, Ian Kimmerly, moved here a few months ago after years running a successful stamp shop in Ottawa.
In his business, Kimmerly witnessed the shift in demographics for postage stamp collecting. It used to be dads and grandfathers bringing in the boys to create a passion for the collection. For the last decade or so it’s primarily been young girls dragging along unknowing parents.
“And they’re smart, well spoken and ask difficult questions,” he says.
For him, collection started as a youth, he explains, adding a bit of wit.
“It was fairly common back in the dark ages, when mail was delivered everyday with stamps,” he says. “It was so easy to send away to a mail order company … then you’d see really colourful stamps from all around the world and you’d dig out an atlas.”
Camaraderie and learning are the drive for the members at Monterey.
“I still have a lot to learn. I haven’t even learned half of what I’d like to learn,” Kimmerly says. “I still find it enjoyable.”
Ann McCarthy’s father collected stamps, and while she stepped away from the hobby while getting her education, she returned as an adult. She inherited her father’s collection when he died.
She enjoys the relaxed social atmosphere of the Monterey group, some clubs are more serious.
“It keeps me out of mischief,” she says, skimming through the pile, not searching for anything in particular.
The comment elicits a grin from of Barry England, ironically scouring the piles for any British Commonwealth stamps.
At the end of each month they take donations from the community and leftover stamps to the B.C. Cancer Agency where the collection is trimmed and packaged and sold as a fundraiser. Donate stamps by dropping them off at the centre, 1441 Monterey Ave.
The stamp club meets at Monterey on Wednesdays at 1 p.m.