One hobby keeps on licking

Strait Stamp Show on Aug. 8 to honor Freemason group

Richard Tarbuck looks over a display he made a few years ago centered on stamps from around the world featuring Antarctica. His display features more than 15 countries’ stamps.

Richard Tarbuck looks over a display he made a few years ago centered on stamps from around the world featuring Antarctica. His display features more than 15 countries’ stamps.

Strait Stamp Show

When: 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 8

Where: Sequim Masonic Lodge, 700 S. Fifth Ave.

Cost: Free admission

Features: stamps, collection appraisals and exhibits, plus USPS special cancellation honoring the Sequim Masons

More info: Call 683-6373 or visit



From gorillas to the Oregon Trail to vineyards, Richard and Julie Tarbuck of Sequim find their travels take them anywhere and everywhere in the world of stamps.

The recently married couple, one a seasoned collector and the other a newbie, each seek out their own fancies in the hobby. They, like hundreds of others, will explore the 22nd Strait Stamp Show on Aug. 8 with dealers, collection appraisals, free stamps and giveaways.

At the show in the Sequim Masonic Lodge, collectors like the Tarbucks will share 20-plus displays of stamps such as a history of the postal system in Clallam County and the history of nursing, too.

Richard said his interest piqued in stamps at age 9 and his collection grew as he mowed lawns to round out his growing book of stamps from every country.

He stopped collecting his sophomore year of high school but would pick it up more than 40 years later after retiring from the U.S. Navy and the computer field.

Looking back, Richard attributes a lot to stamps.

“I never got less than an A in geography because I worked with stamps,” he said.

“As I collected each country it made me more interested. I learned where birds came from (for example). What a tremendous education as a youngster.”

Richard says he does kick himself for not taking advantage of his travels in the Navy to seek out unique stamps. However, he recalls one opportunity while serving in Vietnam.

“I had a year in Vietnam and I remember jumping in a jeep with a machine gun and armed escorts in Nha Trang to come back to an old idea … buy some stamps,” he said.

They remain in his collection today.

No rules

Julie has done some traveling of her own but stamps weren’t much of a thought for the retired medical worker except to lick and send away until she met her husband.

While some may look to complete a certain collection, Julie went with a topic, gorilla stamps from countries she’s visited. “I was surprised to find Japan had a gorilla stamp,” she said. “It’s in a lot of other countries, too.”

As she explored the hobby, gorillas grew into African masks and into costumes and now vineyards and grapes, which she intends to compile into a display for the Sequim show.

“Whatever interests you, that’s what you collect,” Julie said. “There are no rules.”

Richard said his more recent collections have come from all over the map with a focus on Antarctica, U.S. stamps on the Oregon Trail and New Guinea.

“I got to thinking my father served in New Guinea in World War II and it triggered me,” he said.

Masons and stamps

Many staples are included at Sequim’s stamp show each year including the annual cancellation stamp. This year it honors the Sequim Masonic Lodge in its centennial year. The lodge has hosted the show for most of its tenure.

“You’ll find Masons in stamps all around the world like George Washington, Ben Franklin and John Wayne,” Richard said.

Visitors come from all over for the show, too, he said, including collectors from Canada and across the Pacific Northwest.

The show features a wide variety of new and old stamps and free appraisals of collections. “So bring in your book from Grandma’s house,” Richard said.

As always, club members donate stamps for a free children’s table of stamps, but collectors can buy them for 1 cent each just in case you have some spare change.

For more information on the club and/or show, visit


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