THIS weekend will mark the 25th year that the Swindon Philatelic Society will host its Swinpex 2014 Stamp and Postcard Fair.
The society of collectors – who collect anything from stamps to coins to postcards – expect more than 500 people from across the world to attend the fair on Saturday at St Joseph’s Catholic College in Ocotal Way.
Up to 48 dealers are expected to be on hand selling a variety of stamps and postcards to collectors who are set to come from as far as China for the event.
David Gibbon, chairman of the Swinpex event, said: “It’s the biggest event of its kind outside London and it’s our 25th anniversary that we’ve been here in Swindon. We haven’t always been in the same place we have moved around the town a bit.
“We will have between 46 and 48 philately dealers and societies coming along, like the Philatelic Bureau in the Falklands islands and dealers with stamps with trains on them, which is particularly popular in Swindon with all the history of the railways.”
Despite sounding like an old fashioned hobby, David says that stamp collecting and philately is still a popular pursuit.
He said: “We’re expecting all sorts of people from as far away as France and China, where it’s very popular at the moment. We’re expecting all ages too, mainly older and more mature people but younger people as well.
“Some people are just collectors and like to collect things, some people collect coins, some people collect china, other people collect stamps.
“They can also have an enormous value. If you are elderly or infirm or if you are handicapped in some way it can be a great thing to do, collect stamps.
“We even have a Home Approval service, which is 24 A5 books which I fill with stamps which have a price on that are circulated around all the people who have signed up and they can pick out the stamps that they want to add to their collection.
“I think we have around 60 people on the list at the moment with people living in Newbury and Calne and Marlborough as well as in Swindon taking part.”
This year also marks the 70th birthday of the society, which was founded during a bomb raid in 1943.
David said: “I think it was a military man who advertised in the Adver for people with an interest in stamps to meet up in the Town Hall.
“So they met one evening in 1943 and there was a bomb raid, and they dived all under the table. I think they were probably trying to get the Spitfires which were made in South Marston or the RAF airfield in Wroughton.”
The annual fair will take place from 10am to 4.30pm. For more information call David on 01793 813484 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alternatively visit their website at www.communigate.co.uk/wilts/swindonps/page9.phtml.