59th Annual Postmark Convention Held at the Capital Plaza Hotel

Neither snow, rain, heat, nor the darkness of the night can prevent mail delivery, but COVID-19 has disrupted the gathering of postmark collectors in the capital in 2020.

The 59th Annual Post Mark Collectors Club (PMCC) convention officially kicked off Thursday.

Postmarks are the postage marks affixed to stamps indicating when and where a shipment was processed by the post office. A postmark contains the location of the post office and the condition inside a circle, with the date in the center, and adjacent lines to cancel or “kill” the stamp. A postmark can also be called a cancellation.

The PMCC convention began Thursday at the Capital Plaza Hotel and will run until noon Saturday. Masks are optional and will be provided by the hotel.

US Post will be at the convention from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. today, open for sale as well as manual cancellations. The stamp for this year’s PMCC convention was designed by Jefferson City artist Jim Dyke.

Each year the event is organized by one or more different PMCC members and takes place in a different part of the country. This year’s organizers are Mel and Rita Kallal of Jefferson City. The Kallals estimate that nearly 40 of the nation’s 350 members attended the convention to buy, sell and exchange postmarks, as well as sort the tables for free cancellation.

“Usually we have around 50 to 100 members who come to the convention, but some of them are still afraid of COVID,” said Kent Bickell, a member of the PMCC.

Many PMCC members started their collections at a young age.

Mike Del Grosso, of Reno, Nevada, said he started his collection when he was a child and has been collecting for 50 years.

Rita Kallal started collecting stamps at the age of 11 and became interested in postmarks when the post office decided to abolish postmarks in the city.

“They were just going to have these regional cachets, so I decided there wouldn’t be any more cachets and got interested in them,” Kallal said.

The methods of collecting postmarks are endless.

General collectors may aim to collect a postmark from each post office, while others may only collect from certain time periods, states, counties, or regions. Some may only collect picture cancellations, which are limited edition and usually commemorate events or birthdays.

“I collect the states of Missouri and North Dakota, and I collect all the postmarks that appear on Statue of Liberty stamps,” Kallal said.

His favorite part of the convention is the free trading tables.

“Collecting postmarks is a relatively inexpensive hobby, unless you are looking for extremely rare and old postmarks it’s not that expensive to do,” she said.

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