The Gerald E. Wellburn Philatelic Foundation was established in 1992. Gerry Wellburn was a local collector from Duncan who achieved international recognition for his philatelic studies, particularly for his collection of early British Columbia postal history. He also went on to found the BC Forest Museum in Duncan, now known as the BC Forest Discovery Centre. Capital funds from his estate were donated to promote stamp collecting on Southern Vancouver Island.
The Foundation was created by local stamp clubs and its Directors are local volunteers. Since 1992, only income generated by the original donation has been used, and that capital has grown in recent years. This was possible through generous donations to the Foundation – mainly of stamps and related material. We are always looking for additional contributions and volunteers to attain these goals.
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Programs for beginning stamp collectors in several schools were supported by the Foundation.
Hundreds of stamp Gift Packs continue to be distributed to promote stamp collecting across the region. In 2021-22 most of these were placed in Little Free Libraries in Victoria area – there are now over 600 of them! A Blog published in June 2021 on the Victoria Placemaking website, “Starting Stamp Collecting at Little Free Libraries”, introduced this new Foundation initiative. More recently, gift packs have been placed in some branches of the Greater Victoria Public Libraries.
Youth Stamp Gift Packs
To encourage youth stamp collecting activities, collectible stamps have been given to children in the school program, from special displays at local Malls, at all of the stamp shows, bourses and related venues. To further broaden the scope of this collecting incentive, Youth Stamp Gift Packs have been developed to give out in non-stamp related venues as well. Our goal is to have these free packs of mixed stamps for collectors available in all local postal outlets, the Victoria Regional Library system, stamp retail stores, book stores and related areas. These are being distributed in small stand-alone holders called Stamp Ambassadors. Displays are designed to make replenishment easy. Wellburn branding on each pack encourages access to local activities using the Web link, and contact information for people wanting to make collectible stamp donations to this project.
Since 1989, the Stamps, Postcards, Coins & Paper Events & Directory Victoria – Vancouver – Seattle has been published. A proven venue for keeping collectors informed of local resources and events, this handy, printable brochure is updated several times a year. An event date listing is free, and paid advertisers cover production and distribution costs. The brochure is now partially supported by the Wellburn Foundation.
Greater Victoria Public Library
The Wellburn Philatelic Foundation engages with several GVPL Branches to encourage stamp collecting. Initially, free stamps were provided by the Foundation as prizes for Young Readers in Library programs. Also, Foundation volunteers held workshops about stamp collecting for children as part of programs involving Library staff and parents.
Stamp collecting broadly supports ‘literacy’ for young people through images and text on postage stamps. Stamp catalogues in Libraries provide information for library users of all ages. The Foundation has for several years provided Free Stamp Packs and Stamp Directory brochures at several Library Branches. Recently, containers with loose stamps were placed with Free Packs as a trial, so library visitors may select a few stamps.
This help from Public Library Branches is valuable to broaden the Foundation’s community outreach while sharing information about stamp collecting in Victoria.
Volunteers And Donations
Besides the financial resources already available to the Wellburn Foundation and those of the other local philatelic organizations, we recognize the need to continue to support, acknowledge, recharge and at times replace the many volunteers we rely upon.
- Donations of collectible stamps for our Gift Packs
- Volunteers to assist at our events, and
- Donations to help finance our Goal “To Promote Stamp Collecting On Southern Vancouver Island”
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A New Book!
In May 2022 the Foundation published an illustrated biography of Gerry Wellburn. Learn more about the Wellburn Book and how you can purchase a copy.