A few members of the Strait Stamp Society are a relative rarity in the collector’s world, says Vera Felts.
With men making up about 90 percent of stamp collectors across the nation, Felts said Sequim’s multiple female collectors raise the local ratio.
Felts, who moved to Sequim about one-and-a-half years ago, collecting started in grade school when she sent a nickel and a cereal box cutout for some international stamps.
“I found there was a new world available to me through stamps,” she said.
She and dozens of other local collectors meet up to share and seek out stamps at the free Strait Stamp Show, set for 9:30 a.m.- 5 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 21, at the Guy Cole Event Center, 202 N. Blake Ave.
The event features door prizes and free stamps for children.
It’s the local club’s first show in two years and moves to a new location, organizer Cathie Osborne said.
“It’s coming together,” she said. “We’ve been planning on it all year and it feels pretty good to be back together.”
A collector most of her life and a volunteer for decades with national stamp clubs and organizations, Felts said she plans to exhibit a stamp collection for the first time; this one is centered on lavender.
Through research, she helped create a lavender topic for the American Topical Association, the largest organization devoted to categorizing stamp topics for collectors.
Felts was the organization’s executive director for more than 10 years and its first female director in its 70-plus years of existence.
“It was a dream job,” she said, following her retirement as an administrator for Southern Illinois University’s medical and law schools.
Interested collectors can request a “relatively complete list” of stamps from around the world related to a specific topic for a low cost, Felts said.
Some of the most common topics are space, railroads, birds — particularly penguins — and watercraft, she said.
Felts collects an array of stamps from different countries, and focuses on stamps with drug and alcohol awareness messages, gastronomy and gingerbread.
Sequim’s Judy Newblom previews her stamp exhibit on Saturday, a collection centered on women pioneers in the race to space called “Barriers, Breakthrough and Bravery.” She’ll then bring it to the The Seattle Philatelic Exhibition (SEAPEX) on Sept. 10-12 in Tukwila for judging.
“I gotta try it,” Newblom said she told herself. “I expect I’ll learn a lot through it.”
Newblom, a retired arts teacher in Florida and state administrator in Colorado, said one goal is to get younger eyes on the exhibit’s history.
“I would love for little girls to see this exhibit and consider taking more science and technology classes,” she said.
The exhibit details women’s involvement in the U.S. space program from 1959-1984 with stamps, envelopes, patches, pictures and more.
Newblom said she was inspired to begin researching women in space after hearing astronaut Mae Jemison, the first African American woman to travel to space, speak at a conference.
She highlights a number of notable women’s lives and accomplishments, including Judith Resnik, the first Jewish woman in space, Kathryn Sullivan, the first U.S. woman to walk in space, and Anne Lee Fisher, the first mother in space.
More about the show, collecting
For those with an old or an inherited stamp collection, club members invite them to bring a sample to the show or the club’s meeting at 6 p.m. the first Thursday of each month at Sequim Bible Church, 847 N. Sequim Ave.
Felts said stamps cover more than 1,500 topics, and a silver lining with the pandemic has been the hobby growing. She said clubs meet more online, allowing people across the club to participate, and dealers and clubs to become more current and upload more online.
Strait Stamp Show
When: 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m., Saturday, Aug, 21
Where: Guy Cole Event Center, 202 N. Blake Ave.
Featuring: Stamps for children, door prizes, exhibits, vendors, more
More info: 360-683-6373