Jonathan Dean


Nobody likes price increases whether they are at the gas pumps, the grocery store or, in the case of Canada Post, the cost of stamps to mail a letter.

At the end of March 2014 we will have to pay more to put that stamp on an envelope and send it through the mail system. But how does Canada compare with postal rates around the world? A recent check, using the latest information and currency exchange rates (the latter change daily), showed that the cost of mailing a letter in Canada next April will not be out of line with other postal administrations.

The cheapest rate is in the U.S. where a regular letter costs 49 cents. Australia is 60 cents. In Europe, it costs the equivalent of 85 cents in France and Holland, 95 cents in Italy, $1 in the U.K. and $1.19 in Switzerland, to mention just a few countries. So Canada, at 85 cents, (providing we buy a complete booklet) is somewhere in the middle of the pack.

Stamp collectors, however, might be at an advantage here. Over the years, when stamps were cheaper, collectors often bought blocks or sheets of the latest stamps, thinking that one day they might increase in value. However, all these stamps are good for today is postage. So why not start using them? For example, if you have quantities of the 17-cent stamps, five of them will add up to the 85-cent postage rate and also make an attractive envelope. All those old boxes of stamps which are lying around in attics and basements might contain the answer to mailing your letters. And get the youngsters in the family to exercise their math skills by sorting out combinations of 85 cents. They might also develop an interest in stamp collecting while sorting the stamps. Stamp dealers do not want to buy these unused Canadian stamps from old collections – they have so many in stock that they might even sell them to you at a discount on the face value. And older Canadian stamps never have a “use by” date.

For some small businesses, clubs or churches that need to send out a quantity of mail, purchasing this older material at a discount from a collector might just help their bottom line. Until all those millions of unused stamps are used up!

The Lethbridge Philatelic Society starts the New Year with its first meeting on Thursday, Jan. 9 at the northside Save On Foods Meeting Room. Visitors are welcome.

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