I think my interest in travel was first kindled by the Garcelon Stamp Company. When I was about 12, my parents bought me a postage stamp album. Back then stamp collecting was very popular. Franklin D. Roosevelt had said: “The best thing about stamp collecting is the enthusiasm which it arouses in youth as the years pass. It dispels boredom, enlarges your vision, broadens your knowledge and in innumerable ways enriches your life.” Collecting stamps was a way to travel the world – and still is.
I had a Harris album. For each country there was a brief description, their flag and coat of arms. Initially I collected mostly Canadian, U.S. and U.K. stamps. Then I discovered the Garcelon Stamp Company. I soon learned that Sverige is Sweden, Helvetia is Switzerland, Magyar Posta is Hungary, Deutsche Bundespost is Germany, Polska is Poland and Norge is Norway. My collection started to grow and so did my dreams of travel. Do you remember them?
The Garcelon Stamp Company had these ads in comic books saying that if you sent them your name and address they would send you some free stamps as well as others “on approval”. When that fat envelope arrived from Garcelon with my name on it, boy was I in heaven. If you liked the “on approval” stamps you would keep them and send in payment. Else, you would have to return them. Well once a packet of beautiful exotic stamps is in your hands, it is near impossible to send them back. This habit consumed my weekly allowance for several years.
I had always thought that it is was an American company but turns out Garcelon was based in St. Stephen, NB. It grew to 150 employees with daily mailings to stamp customers weighing tons! Mr. Garcelon trusted in people and it sure paid off for him. Here is their brief story.
As the years went by I lost interest in the hobby as I started travelling. Back in the early 80s I got briefly interested again and started up a Brazil stamp collection – I suppose because of my travels there.
While my collection sits dormant now, I hope someone will want them some day so they too can dream and travel – all thanks to Garcelon Stamp Company.