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Stamp collecting club in Waterloo Region looks to keep hobby alive

Craig Pinchen (left) and Alan Hills (right) show off part of their stamp collection on April 19, 2024. (Spencer Turcotte/CTV News) Craig Pinchen (left) and Alan Hills (right) show off part of their stamp collection on April 19, 2024. (Spencer Turcotte/CTV News)
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Stamp collecting is a shrinking hobby, but one Waterloo Region group is hoping to pass on their passion to the next generation.

Alan Hills is the president of the Kitchener-Waterloo Philatelic Society, whose members study and collect postage stamps.

Hills has collected stamps for over 50 years, but has noticed a general decline in collectors.

“The major demographic of the society are people who are just newly retired and they were stamp collectors when they were young,” said Hills.

A shift in the way mail is delivered has resulted in fewer stamps being produced globally too. And given the club’s 89 year history, recruiting new members isn’t as easy as it once was.

“There’s not enough sex and violence in stamp collecting and stuff doesn’t blow up,” said Craig Pinchen, director of the society.

Craig Pinchen (left) and Alan Hills (right) show off part of their stamp collections on April 19, 2024. (Spencer Turcotte/CTV News)spencer tu

As collectors age out, the group is looking to attract younger people.

One effort is through their annual Stampfest, which takes place on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Trinity Lutheran Church in Waterloo.

“Stamp collectors will exhibit various themes on frames,” said Hills. “Stamp dealers sell stamps to members of the public.”

They also have a booth dedicated to educating youth.

“We provide free stamps for children, free material, lots of advice and help in terms of how to collect,” said Pinchen.

Another way the stamp collecting community is looking to recruit more people is digitally.

“This is an example of crypto stamps” said Hills, showing his NFT stamp. “It’s a new trend and it might be a great stamp collecting activity for youth.”

While there is beauty in physical stamps given the history and education aspect, current collectors say they are doing what they can to ensure their hobby sticks around forever.

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