Philatelist, cover collector, cancellations — this club has a secret language, and its members are more than willing to let you in on the secret.
A philatelist is a stamp collector. There are 80 of them in the Black River Stamp Club.
North Ridgeville resident Warren Dolata, a chef at Wesleyan Village in Elyria, is the club's president and has been for the past three years.
Dolata, 40, started collecting when he was a youngster. As with most hobbies, his was laid aside once girls and video games entered the picture.
But thanks to his father-in-law, Dolata's former hobby has been revived through his own children.
"About five years ago, my father-in-law got my oldest son, Zachary, who's 12, interested in stamp collecting," Dolata said. "The more I worked with him, the more it got me interested. Now, my younger son, Alex, is starting to show an interest."
Each collector specializes.
Dolata's father-in-law, Victor Nieset, enjoys U.S. stamps. Dolata prefers air mail, specifically air mail from 1941 to 1945. Zachary likes stamps of Thomas Edison, and Alex wants animal stamps.
"In today's day and age, it's hard to keep youngsters interested in anything," Dolata said. "They have to have everything now, instant gratification. This allows them to take a step back and relax, to enjoy some time together or even by themselves."
Dolata admits his childhood stamp collection wasn't very well-organized. As an adult, however, he's able to focus more.
"Stamp collectors usually focus on one thing or another, and there are so many different ways to collect," he said. "Some people collect just one stamp. Others look for cancellations from other countries. Some only want fish on stamps or animals."
Stamps can be found in a variety of places. Online is a huge resource. Auctions are another source. But they also can be found at stamp shows, like the one the Black River Stamp Club is holding Saturday.
"Going to a stamp show is a great place to start collecting," Dolata said. "There is usually a kid's table or beginner's table, like there will be at our show. Kids are able to sort through stamps and take some home for free. You can meet people and talk with dealers or just talk to people walking around."
Nieset will have a postal history exhibit at the show. He also exhibits a 1934 National Parks System commemorative set, which includes 10 stamps — 1 cent through 10 cents.
"I started when I was a kid," recalls Nieset, a retired Elyria Schools math teacher. I set it aside until the early '80s, and I've been somewhat serious since then. I belong to several clubs and do exhibits. It's interesting and very educational, and there are so many different ways to collect. It’s a hobby that has something for everyone."
The Black River Stamp Club annual show took place on Saturday in Elyria. The show marked the 50th anniversary of the Black River Stamp Club, which was founded by the late Bob Frederick of Elyria, who wrote a stamp column for The Chronicle-Telegram.
The column continues today and is written monthly by Jack Standen of the club, which has 80 members from Lorain, Medina and Cuyahoga counties.
The club prepared a souvenir envelope for the landmark anniversary. A personalized postage stamp honoring Frederick and a pictorial postmark commemorated the show's anniversary. The show featured:
A mailbag dating to the 1820s used by Artemas Beebe, one of Elyria's founding fathers.
32 frames of philatelic exhibits focusing on postal history, interesting topical and historical events.
A bourse (sale) featuring 10 stamp dealers offering a wide variety of philatelic material.
A silent auction offering dozens of collectible philatelic items.
A U.S. Postal Service booth offering new stamp issues.