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Published: Tuesday, 2/16/2010

Stamp Club's annual show coming up

BY JANET ROMAKER
BLADE STAFF WRITER

A submarine and a skirmish, both pieces of local history, will be stamped with special attention during an upcoming expo in Holland.

In addition, orchids could be in bloom, ships could be sailing, and butterflies could be flitting about on postage stamp-sized pieces of paper during the Toledo Stamp Expo 2010.

"There are thousands of different stamps" that can be collected, said James Baumann of Toledo. He is an active member of the Stamp Collectors Club of Toledo, the stamp expo's sponsoring organization.

Mr. Baumann, who specializes in stamps featuring cacti and has several hundred from around the world in his collection, belongs to the American Topical Association, and then a biology subunit of that association. Four times a year he receives a list of stamps with biological subjects, gleaned from dealers' lists or announcements by various governments.

He and other club members collect stamps "just because it's fun," said Mr. Baumann, who holds a doctorate and is a retired geneticist. He's been active in the Stamp Collectors Club of Toledo for many years.

The Toledo Stamp Expo 2010, the club's 86th annual show and bourse, is slated for Feb. 27 and 28 at Holland Gardens, 6530 Angola Rd. The hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Feb. 27 and from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Feb. 28.

The Toledo club has about 100 members from across northwest Ohio, he said, and of those, about 30 to 40 are active. The club meets twice a month.

At age 75, Mr. Baumann no longer goes to as many stamp shows as he once did (he used to travel to shows every other weekend, mostly east of the Mississippi locations), but he still enjoys being part of the annual Toledo Stamp Expo.

This year during the expo, the club is saluting the 175th anniversary of the Toledo War as part of the show's activities. A special Post Office hand-stamped cancellation, noting this piece of local history, will be available during the show and then will be available for 30 days at the Holland Post Office.

In addition, 2010 marks the 15th anniversary of the commissioning of the submarine the USS Toledo, and a special hand cancel honoring the anniversary will be available, as will a First Day of Sale cancel for the recently issued Distinguished American Sailors stamps.

The USS Toledo has been honored three other times: when the submarine was commissioned, and then on the fifth and 10th anniversaries of its commissioning, Mr. Baumann said. "We said at the time it was a noteworthy event, to have a submarine named after Toledo," he said.

The club will prepare a special cachet for the USS Toledo anniversary, and it will be available in combination with the Distinguished American Sailors stamps in limited quantities only at the show.

About 30 years ago, when he first got involved with the stamp club, Mr. Baumann recommended that the expo annually should honor a person, place, or event, and that has worked out well through the years, he said. One year, the expo honored the Mud Hens; another year it was the Jeep, for instance.

Mr. Baumann has designed some of the hand cancellations. The U.S. Post Office then makes them and lets the club use them at their expos, he explained. "And then we give them back to the Post Office and they are available for 60 to 90 days and then they are destroyed," he said.

The special hand-stamped cancellations sell for $3 apiece, and proceeds are used by the club to purchase books about stamp collecting that are then donated to the library; the club also buys lots of stamps to give away to kids, Mr. Baumann said.

During the expo, from noon to 3 p.m. Feb. 28, club members will be available to examine and advise the public about collections of stamps that might have some value. Children's activities will be offered both days.

Upwards of 500 people will attend the expo, Mr. Baumann predicted, and he said about 20 dealers will be on hand with thousands of stamps available for purchase by the public.

There is no admission fee, and there is free parking.



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