Sharing the love of philately in Carnarvon 0
Stamp collector Kevin DesRoches examines his collection of used stamps on Nov. 9, 2012. DesRoches is starting up a stamp club in the Haliburton, Ont. area. JENN WATT/HALIBURTON ECHO/QMI AGENCY
In 2008, Kevin DesRoches was in the right place at the right time.Living in Havelock, DesRoches got to know his local postal worker. And when a book of strange stamps came across her desk, she called him.
“I said, do you have any more? No such luck,” the avid stamp collector recalls.It was a sheet of 10 International Ice Hockey Federation stamps.
Nothing special about that, except these ones were imperforate – they lacked the perforations that run between stamps making them easy to tear out.
DesRoches bought the stamps for $5.40.
Later, he sold them at auction for $585.
It was the find of a lifetime for the philatelist, who normally collects stamps that have gone through the mail.
DesRoches, 56, collects stamps mostly for the educational and historical value.
Kept in big books around his Carnarvon home, DesRoches says he likely has more than a million.
“It’s a wonderful hobby. It teaches you about important people,” he says.
His particular interest is stamps involving royalty – with his favourite stamps being of Princess Diana.
“She was a beautiful woman inside and out,” he says.
DesRoches loves stamp collecting so much he has decided to start a club in the Haliburton Highlands.
At meetings, which he anticipates will be held once every week or two, collectors can get together and chat about their hobby.
“I can answer questions from people and get questions answered,” he says.
DesRoches has been collecting for most of his life; he can’t even remember the first stamp he received.
His 16-year-old son and wife also collect, though to varying degrees.
While DesRoches collects purely for interest’s sake, he notes that others spend their time searching out the elusive EFOs: “errors, freaks and oddities,” which can be worth major money.
But he’d be just as happy sifting through a box of old envelopes.
“The fun is in the sorting. It’s about the find,” he says.
According to DesRoches, Canadian regulations have made stamp collecting more difficult in this country – and more expensive.
Formerly, it was easy to acquire old stamps. For example, DesRoches used to be able to get the stamps off mail-in warranty forms that were sent to companies.
Now, there are privacy restrictions on those practices.
Not so in the U.S., where stamps are still easily accessible.
It has driven the price of used stamps from about $10 a pound to about $50.
The change has hampered the amount of stamp shopping the collector does, but not his enthusiasm for the pastime.
“I do it for the pure enjoyment,” he says.
Anyone interested in joining the club or learning about stamp collecting can call DesRoches at 705-489-1038 or 705-457-5949.