The Outer Banks Voice – “Stamps are history”
“Stamps belong to history”
By Kip Tabb | Outer Banks Voice on December 14, 2021
The OBX Stamp Club, 25, continues the tradition
It’s December 12, the second Sunday of the month, and the Outer Banks Stamp Club is meeting, as it has for 25 years, in the Outer Banks Presbyterian Church in Kill Devil Hills.
There are six members in the room, and a seventh, Reid Hinson, calls with Zoom. The club has been around since 1996, according to club president Rick Kinner, who joined in 2013. “We have a number of members who are from the original group,” he adds.
Kinner comes down from Corolla for meetings and probably has the longest commute to get there. There is, however, one club member who is currently in Idaho with his wife.
“Honestly, we are a very active club. We usually have four to seven participants and three to five virtually, ”Kinner notes. “We want to get the message across. There are a lot of people who are interested in stamps. They just don’t know we are operating.
Club members are mostly in their 60s and 70s now, with a few in their 80s. Most of them have collected stamps most of their lives, and the story usually begins with a family connection.
Kinner’s story is typical. It was a rainy day in Brooklyn, New York and he was visiting his grandfather. He was 12 and restless, so he continued to take the dog out. After a few hours, his grandfather had had enough.
“My grandfather comes up and says, ‘You don’t take that dog out anymore.’ He said ‘Come on up’ and he took me upstairs and took me to a room and he shot this [stamp collection] outside, and said, ‘I started this, then your dad did this for a while.’ I was twelve and from there I was hooked.
For Reid Hinson, the stamps represent a family history and a heritage, a way of recalling the French origins of his grandmother and his father’s service in the Navy. His grandmother “used to get a lot of letters from France and Germany,” Hinson says, recalling when he was a young boy, “she would tear up stamps and send them to me because I loved them. . “
His father was a career man in the Navy, starting in the 1920s and serving during World War II on the aircraft carrier USS Wasp which was sunk off Guadalcanal on September 15, 1942.
“My father was a stamp collector,” Hinson continues. “In the 1920s he was on submarines… and he wrote quite a few letters… from those submarines to my grandfather… Of course, I was not born then. But I still have some of those envelopes with the first airmail stamps that were stamped by the US Navy. “
As he speaks, Hinson highlights a common thread running through the personal stories of the club members.
“Stamps belong to history. And they’re also part of family history if you’re lucky enough to have a grandparent or even a relative who will keep their mail for you and their stamps for you, ”he says.
History also comes into play during this meeting since the club chooses a subject to study in depth each month. This Sunday, the Universal Postal Union (UPU) is in the spotlight.
The UPU, members explain, is why a package can be sent from the United States to Canada, England, France, or almost anywhere using U.S. postage – and why a letter can originate from those countries using the postage from that country.
Now integrated into the UN, the origins of the UPU date back to the Civil War. After a general discussion of its history, Kinner picked up the story in 1863 and 1864 when the first draft of an agreement was signed. The official founding date of the organization, however, was 10 years later.
“Montgomery Blair was the Postmaster General and he realized that with the war, even [with] mail sent to Mexico and Canada, there were all kinds of problems, ”says Kinner. “So they had a meeting of twelve countries in Paris. They were all European countries, the United States, Brazil. It started, and then 1874, that’s when they brought twenty-two nations together and really created it.
Despite all the time that has passed since then, the UPU remains in force today and, according to Kinner, claims to be “the oldest existing international organization.” And its claim to fame is that it’s the only one that really works.
The Outer Banks Stamp Club is affiliated with the American Philatelic Society (APS). The club meets on the second Sunday of the month (the next meeting will be January 8, 2022) at the Outer Banks Presbyterian Church in Kill Devil Hills.