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Collectors explore world in a 1-inch square

Hans Kask escaped from Estonia with his family in the 1940s when he was a child and his older brother managed to bring out a small stamp collection.

Eventually the collection came to Hans and he began adding to it.

"Over the years - and a few dollars - I completed my Estonia collection," Kask said.

He has every stamp ever issued by Estonia and has arranged to buy future stamps when they are issued, through stamp dealers there.

"Topicals is a neat way to start collecting," Kask said.

Kask has prepared a special display for Saturday's stamp show: a presentation on the Boy Scout merit badge for stamp collecting. Society members hope to help interested Scouts fulfill the requirements for a badge and introduce them to the wider world of stamp collecting.

Kask's merit badge display includes samples of stamps with aircraft and ships, but the topics are nearly unlimited. Famous people, landmarks, specific plants and animals, historic occasions all are celebrated in stamps.

Cathie Osborne returned to her childhood hobby when she was a young mom but wanted something more focused than a general collection of American stamps.

"I had a collection of souvenir bells," she said, "so I began looking for stamps with bells on them." Eventually she included stamps with envelopes postmarked from a town with "bell" in the name.

Osborne will be showing some of her bell stamps at the Strait Stamp Society's annual show from 9:30 a.m.-

5 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 8, at the Masonic Hall, 700 S. Fifth Ave., Sequim. Osborne is secretary of the society and helped organize this year's stamp show.

Sequim Post Office has a display in the lobby of special stamp cancellations designed for the Strait Stamp Society each year. The post office will have people at the show Saturday selling stamps and talking with collectors.

"We have a penny stamp table," Richard Tarbuck said, a regular feature at stamp shows. A new collector can get a start for very little money at the penny table and topical collectors always are on the lookout there for a special find.

Collectors get started in many different ways. When Tarbuck was young, he found a stamp from the Philippines, and asked his mother where that was.

"She said 'Let's look it up.' So we found it in the atlas." That was the beginning of his stamp collection.

The society includes members from across the Olympic Peninsula and vendors from as far away as Eastern Washington and Oregon.

"The dealers are always willing to appraise and possibly buy stamps," said Phil Castell, a society member who will be displaying his collection of Benjamin Franklin stamps at the show.

Castell works full time and likes to "play" with his stamps for relaxation and stress relief. He likes to share the fun of stamps with others, too. He once mailed his father a fresh coconut from Hawaii, with his father's address and the stamps placed directly on the coconut shell.

"There's no right way or wrong way to collect stamps," Castell said. "You can collect exactly what you want to collect."



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