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From:Guelph Mercury
History written on a postage stamp
War, sports chronicled on bits of paper from around the world
Monday October 21, 2002

John Geddes, a stamp dealer from Newmarket, examines a stamp Saturday at Guelphex 2002, a show put on at the Evergreen Seniors Centre by the Guelph Stamp Club. Geddes was one of about 15 dealers at the event.
GUELPH -- Anna and Adam Kotkowski are stuck on stamp collecting.

The brother and sister pair from Kitchener pored through a bin of stamps, torn from envelopes, on sale for a loonie each at the Guelphex stamp show put on Saturday by the Guelph Stamp Club.

They were hoping to add to their collection -- more than 200 for Anna,11, just over 2,000 for Adam, 12.

"There are all sorts of animals (on stamps)," Anna said to describe what attracts her to the hobby.

Both kids got into collecting thanks to their mother, Ewa, an enthusiast too. Their dad, Mario, said the competition is stiff for envelopes arriving in the mail at the Kotkowski home, as Anna and Adam vie for unique stamps.

"There is a fight every time," he joked.

The three Kotkowskis were at their third Guelphex, a stamp show organized each year by the 56-year-old Guelph Stamp Club.

Club members and about 15 vendors set up at at tables in the main auditorium at the Evergreen Seniors' Centre. Collectors lined up in chairs to sort through vendors' albums, looking for the gems of the day.

"It's very satisfying to find a rare stamp, or a flawed stamp," said collector and club president Mel James.

Stamp collecting is a hobby that's often labeled boring. It's hard to get by that misconception, said James, because you can't sit down with someone, show off your collection and inspire a person to take it the hobby. The drive to collect is an "individualist" type of motivation, he said.

For some, other interests mesh with their stamp collecting. Displays under glass at the show included collections focused on Christmas Day cancellations, sports, miniature art, lighthouses, ships, airplanes and classic vehicles. A slight variation of the hobby, one collection featured postcards of Guelph through the years.

Hugh Cameron, a collector for 50 years, is interested in maritime history, a focus that developed when he was a travel agent.

A collection of stamps and postcards he's gathered of the SS Normandie, a pre-Second World War ocean liner, was on display Saturday.

He also brought along envelopes with cancellation stamps that black out the port where the mail originated, a security measure during the Second World War.

Cameron said stamp collecting keeps him busy and he meets many people at club gatherings and stamp shows, although he admits he can spend too much money on the hobby.

"It costs me a fortune," he said.