Postage stamps continue making their mark in value, history and collectible curiosity for one group on the Grand Strand: philatlelists.
The Myrtle Beach Stamp Club will have its 21st annual Myrtle Beach Stamp Show next weekend at the Clarion Hotel & Conference Center at Fantasy Harbour, just of Myrtle Beach and along the Intracoastal Waterway, off U.S. 501 and George Bishop Parkway.
The show, commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg with a special display of stamp art, will be open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. next Saturday and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday, and admission is free.
Donn Ebert of Conway, the longtime president of the stamp club, said he and colleagues were careful to schedule this event the weekend after the Super Bowl. The focus on stamps extends way beyond issues by the U.S. Postal Service, but from countries around the world. About nine or 10 dealers will be on hand, and postcards claim their own corner in this show, as an extension of the hobby of stamp collecting.
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Question | How much creativity comes to play when choosing a theme for each show, such as this 150th anniversary of the Civil War for this year?
Answer | Some years it’s very easy. You can have a wide choice of themes, and other years, you really have to struggle to find something. But this year happened to be a good one, and last year, with the Titanic, was pretty good, too. ... And for each show, we have our souvenir envelope and the cancellation.
Q. | Between the exhibit space the show has each year for the theme and antique stamps visitors can view, what might make up this showcase spotlighting the Civil War?
A. | We’ll have some stamps from that era commemoration. There are Confederate state stamps that will be on display at some dealers’ booths at the show. The exhibit will trace the history of the Battle of Gettysburg and will show some stamps that were issued for the 100th anniversary of the Civil War from four to eight countries and a few from the United States.
Q. | What is the connection, the attraction, that prompts so many other countries’ governments – such as Ghana, halfway around the globe – to issue stamps that remember U.S. people, icons, events and milestones in history?
A. | A lot of them issue stamps to make money, so they will commemorate things that happen in U.S. history ... A big thing a few years ago was the Disney characters series that was out ... such as from Grenada, Saint Vincent and other places that used to be under British rule. ...
One interesting development has been in New Zealand and their connection to Hollywood. That’s because of the of the three “Lord of the Rings” movies that were filmed in New Zealand. ... The unusual benefit was that as tourists came to New Zealand, they wanted to see the sites where the trilogy of films was made, so that increased the flow of tourists to that area, and New Zealand issued a set of stamps about where the films were produced. ...
Producers also did the “King Kong” remake and a few others there, so there is quite a connection that has increased tourists, just from the postage stamps New Zealand has issued.
Q. | How unusual do the themes get from foreign stamp releases?
A. | Finland has a reputation of being a non-humorous country so they are going to issue this year of series of stamps showing what they call “the fun part” of country ... with issues of stamps of outdoor games as swamp soccer, geezer toting ... and husband boot throwing, air guitar championships ... and another one called wife carrying. ... They’ll sit there for hours and do something to bring them closer to nature.
Q. | The stamp club always strives to encourage children to find fun and research into stamp collecting, so how might youngsters find their own interest at the show?
A. | We’ll have our youth area. My wife, Georgine, handles that, so they pick out their stamps and get them into envelopes. ... And we’re beginning to set up more things on postcard collecting, which we added at the last show. Georgine, she’s the postcard expert. .. We need more young people collecting.
Q. | How does each postage stamp price increase, such as the 1-cent hike on Jan. 27 to 46 cents, strike the club?
A. | It’s only a penny again for the first ounce of a letter, but for those of us who write long-winded letters, at least for each additional ounce, it’s still 20 cents each. ... The “Forever” stamps are still available, so if you bought some two years ago, they’re still good today.
Q. | Do stamp collectors fear a day when fewer choices of stamp designs will exist?
A. | The U.S. Postal Service has toned down a little but, but they still issue a fair number each year. ... The problem they’re having is the volume of first-class mail has dropped with email and texting and electronic transfers.
Q. | What other ways do stamp collectors voice their interest and fanfare for all the art, history and salute to notable individuals that go into stamp designs?
A. | One of the stamp trade journals runs a favorite-stamp poll every year, and our club participates in that. We have a prize for the club member who most closely matches the will of the people in the vote.