World Stamps

Collectors Club, APS and other groups offer free online stamp seminars

Jun 25, 2020, 10 AM
A number of philatelic organizations around the world, including the Collectors Club, have taken innovative steps in recent weeks to keep the hobby accessible.

By Linn’s Staff

A number of philatelic organizations around the world have taken innovative steps in recent weeks to keep the hobby accessible to those obliged to stay at home because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Collectors Club in New York City and the American Philatelic Society in Bellefonte, Pa., have been at the forefront of this trend. Groups in the United Kingdom, Germany and Italy have also gotten in on the act.

Since late March, it has been possible to find a free philatelic webinar, or web-based seminar, happening online several times a week, sometimes two or more on a single day.

Typically these involve a well-known collector giving an informal chat and presentation on a favorite subject from the safety and comfort of the living room or stamp den, via an online platform such as Zoom, WebEx or Google Chat.

The talk is often followed by a moderated question-and-answer session, allowing attendees to interact with the presenter in real time.

The webinars generally last about an hour. After they end a lightly edited video of the event is often posted to a platform such as Vimeo or YouTube, allowing it to be watched later.

Many organizations post links to their videos on their websites and allow them to be freely viewed even by nonmembers for a limited time.

The combination of intimacy and erudition afforded by these novel philatelic events has made them an instant hit.

Larry Haber, president of the Collectors Club, said that more than 270 people joined the club’s webinar on June 10, at which Wade Saadi showed and discussed one of his favorite topics, United States fancy cancels of the 19th century struck on the 5¢ Franklin and 10¢ Washington stamps of 1847.

By comparison an in-person presentation at the club’s Manhattan townhouse would normally attract a maximum of about 50 people.

The Collectors Club has been hosting a new webinar every other Wednesday at 6 p.m., leaving each video up for two weeks until the next webinar. A schedule of upcoming talks is available on the club’s website.

Club members can log in to view previous videos, as well as to access the extensive video archive of pre-pandemic presentations.

The virtual program is scheduled to run through the fall and seems likely to become a permanent feature of the club’s offerings in the future, Haber said.

The APS, for its part, has been hosting virtual club meetings for a number of affiliated societies, including the Garfield-Perry Stamp Club and Nevada Stamp Study Society. A full list is on the APS website.

The Royal Philatelic Society London, which has been running its own series of webinars, has a page on its website listing a variety of stamp and postal history webinars from around the world. This list can be found on the RPSL website.

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