Stamp collectors from near and far came to the Kelley Gazzero VFW Post on Saturday, March 23, for the RI Philatelic Society's annual stamp collector's show. The show is the largest of its kind, hosting collections, displays and items for sale, and has been in existence for more than a decade.
The RI Philatelic Society is the oldest organized stamp society in the United States, according to President Chester Browning.
"The American Philatelic Society recognizes us as the oldest continuously running society in the country," Browning said. “The New York society started in the 1890s but it started and stopped. Ours has been running continuously."
Browning has been working with some of the Cranston Girl Scout troops over the past few years, teaching them the basics of stamp collecting and cataloging. This year, Cadette Troop 276 worked with Browning to put together a display of presidential stamps for the show. The display board joined the others, which reflect a variety of interests and stamp collectors from several generations.
Collectors such as Viola Gianetti of Seekonk enjoy coming to the show where they can display their own goods as well as check out the displays from other collectors.
"I am not a knitter and I couldn't play Bingo but I could collect stamps," Gianetti said. "I've made my own birthday cards with my stamps, over 160 cards a year, all my life. I never went to school for it.”
This year, Gianetti's display was decorated with lace from the Seekonk Lace Factory where she worked for almost 50 years. Her walking cane was also decorated with colorful postage stamps, a project she made herself.
The Philatelic Society meets regularly and sends out a newsletter throughout the year letting members know of any upcoming meetings, shows and events. There are active stamp collecting groups for both adults and children in the RI Philatelic Society.
"Stamp collecting is something that you can pick up and put down throughout the years as you'd like to, put it in the closet and then take it out again," said Browning while visiting the children's area at the show.
He encourages collectors to become involved in the RI Philatelic Society if they have an interest in the hobby.
For more information, visit their website at home.comcast.net/~riphilatelic/.