By Joe Smillie
Peninsula Daily News
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More than 5 million individuals in the United States collect the small pieces of paper that indicate payment of postage.
Some individuals begin as young as age 4 — and many collect until the day they die.
“It's the thrill of the hunt,” said Phil Castell, insurance agency owner and stamp collector.
The Strait Stamp Society's annual show will be at the Sequim Masonic Lodge, 700 S. Fifth Ave., from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.
The event is free and open to the public.
It will include a special cancel to mark the event, and stamp dealers will have stamps for sale.
The U.S. Postal Service will man a table with the latest stamps available, and there will be a youth table for youngsters to dig for treasure.
Exhibits also have been prepared by members of the society.
The stamp show will expand out of the lodge this year.
Cathie Osborne, chairwoman of the show, has assembled displays of firefighting-themed stamps in recognition of the Sequim Fire Department's centennial celebration at Carrie Blake Park on Saturday.
Saturday's stamp show will feature boxes of stamps for newcomers to file through to find their way into the hobby.
Some stamps can be picked up for pennies. Others can be valued at tens of thousands of dollars.
“It takes as much as you want to put into it,” Castell said.
Julie Tarbuck is a topical collector.
She's organized a display for this year's stamp show focusing on stamps that depict costumes and fashions from around the world.
A relative newcomer to the stamp-collecting world, Tarbuck said her pursuits of stamps that depict particular topics feed into future topical displays.
“This year started with my display last year where I was focused on masks,” Tarbuck said. “In looking for the masks, I started seeing all these beautiful costumes.”
“And I got into the masks because I was collecting gorilla stamps. So it just all kind of feeds into other trends.”
It's also a hobby that can be put on hold and picked back up as life affords free time.
“I haven't had a whole lot of time this year to work on my collection because of work,” Castell said.
“But sitting here now looking at these stamps, I'm really starting to feel the habit kick in.”
Don McIntyre of Sequim, famous on the North Olympic Peninsula for his annual Santa Claus duties, posts Christmas stamps on every letter he sends.
“It's Christmas all year for my family,” he said.
In addition to his collection of Saint Nick stamps, McIntyre — a stamp sleuth for more than 50 years —also collects military stamps as homage to his service in the United States Marine Corps.
He has a blue fishing hat that is loaded down with postage stamp replica pins and earrings.
“I don't wear it too much, though,” he said. “It's gotten a bit heavy.”
But even postage lovers have succumbed to the convenience afforded by technology.
“I used to send a lot of letters to my folks in England,” Castell said. “Now I just use FaceTime on my cellphone.”
The Strait Stamp Society meets at 6 p.m. the first Thursday of each month at the Sequim Library, 630 N. Sequim Ave.
For more information, visit www.straitstamp.org.
Sequim-Dungeness Valley Editor Joe Smillie can be reached at 360-681-2390, ext. 5052, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.