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Do Postal Services have notions of flyfishing? Do flyfishers have something in common with stamp collectors?
The Transkei series
Do Postal Services have notions of flyfishing?
Do flyfishers have something in common with stamp collectors?
Is there something compatible between the two hobbies?
Totally different worlds it would seem. Mostly so, my Friends, but not always. There are times, few and far between, when these two different worlds meet.
Some 15 years ago, 1984 I think it was, the President of the province of Transkei, South Africa, an avid flyfisher so the story goes, decided to have a series of stamps made, depicting trout and salmon flies. The Silver Wilkinson, the Alexandra, the Ginger Quill, the Hardy's Favourite and the like, were put out on stamps worth 20 cents each.
This was done for a number of years, and although I am not a collector, I discovered I still had a few series gathering dust in some hidden drawer in my attic.
The Canadian Series
And then again... more flyfishing stamps earlier this year! Post Canada came out with a lovely series of 6 large stamps, worth 45 cents each. They feature wonderful creations such as the Cosseboom Special, the Coho Blue, the Dark Montreal, (formerly also known as the Canada Fly), the Steelhead Bee, the Coquihalla Orange and the Lady Amherst. What a charming girl with her silvery wings, giving me a wink with her Jungle Cock eyes: will you tie me, Maestro, pleeeeze.
I saw the Canadian stamps in a German flyfishing magazine for the first time this summer and they gave me an idea. Yes! I am going to get me a couple of sets, I'll tie the flies, I'll get me some goodlooking matboard material, some nice wood for the frame. I'll make something nice out of it.
The US Series
Subsequently, in 1991 - if internal memory serves me right - the United States Postal Service came out with a flyfishing stamp series, showing Lee's Royal Wulff, Stu's Apte Tarpon Fly, Kreh's Lefty's Deceiver, Don Gapen's Muddler Minnow, and a beautiful Jock Scott created by John Scott almost 150 years ago. And again in that same drawer, in that same attic, covered with a thin layer of that same dust, I found a few of those. My good friend and colleague, Marvin Nolte, presented me with a flyplate containing these stamps and the flies that he had tied. This plate is now on one of the walls of my den of inequity here. I am looking at the plate while writing this story. Beautiful flies that bar none.
Final mounting in the frame
Pictures by courtesy of Bart van der Schrieck
And then the whole idea was put in storage somewhere in the back of my mind it had almost disappeared. It was not until October that some of my colleagues, fellow members of the Dutch Flyfishers Guild, came back from a steelhead fishing trip to British Columbia and they showed me the stamps which they had purchased in a local post office in BC!
"One set is for you, Bas and here's what we want you to do"
"I know what you want me to do guys. You want me to tie the flies and frame them together with the stamps", I said, smiling big.
"Thanks, Bart, for bringing that idea back to the surface for me."
My heartfelt thanks also go out to the people of FF@ and Flytie@ lists who have been so very helpful in getting me a substantial supply of the stamps. Lindsey, Tom, Paul Thanks ever so much! That was a stroke of genius, Joyce! Glad you whispered that in my ears.
So, here they are my Philatelic Phlies Limited Edition another phantastic project. Although it would be quite within the scope of the Global Fly Fisher website to give tying details of each individual fly, and information about the framing, this would be very time-consuming. And, I have flies to tie and mount, wood and matboard to cut remember? Oh, alright then, contact firstname.lastname@example.org for further details, if you have to.
Bas, Phrantically phraming
PS: New Zealand Stamps
The stamp story got a little post scriptum. After a couple of weeks on the air, Bas sent this notice:
As I told you on the phone, I am getting 'static' from the New Zealanders asking me: "Nice article, Bas, but... where are our stamps?". You told me we can solve that problem. People are sending me a few sets. One is for the web site. Here they are: