Kids learn the art of stamp collecting

Stanley Cotter, a founding member and former president of the Goebel Senior Center Stamp Club, was pleased with the attendance at the 10th annual Youth Stamp Day held Saturday at the senior center in Thousand Oaks.

"Our intent is to bring as many kids from the area as possible, probably from ages six to 12, which is when stamp collecting usually becomes a passion. Then when they become adults, sometimes along the line, they many pick it up again," said Cotter, who began collecting at age 9 until his early teens, and then began again when he retired 20 years ago, at age 60. "Over the years we've averaged between 20 and 30 kids."

Marina Zernik, 9, of Newbury Park won a big stamp album in a raffle, one of a few given away during the three-hour event. Her mom, Elizabeth, said, "We came here two years ago and really enjoyed it , so we always get it on our calendar. My dad is a big stamp collector, so I try to collect as well, and try to get my kids, Marina and Zachary interested. They seem to enjoy it. Today they also gave everyone a Disney kit where you insert the stamps from around the world. It should be a fun activity and good learning."

Children, parents and grandparents sifted through the large pile of cancelled stamps from all over the world provided by club members. They were allowed to take them to begin their own collections, which club members showed them how to do. They learned how to soak stamps off paper, and how to use hinges/mounts.

Hal Hertzberg, 88, has been collecting since he was 6 years old.

"I'm showing them how not to glue them in so you don't hurt the stamp," he said. "You don't want to lick them or glue them because you'll never be able to move them without tearing them. There are mounts instead."

There were also games to match presidents with their stamps, as well as states and their stamps.

Eleven-year old Kimmie Lull from Thousand Oaks said it was her first experience with stamp collecting.

"I think this is really cool and I would definitely like to start collecting stamps," Kimmie said. "I found a lot of stamps from Israel and other places."

Simi Valley resident Austin Tenn, 10, has attended Youth Stamp Day three years in a row. On Saturday he came to get to his Boy Scout Merit Badge for stamp collecting.

"A few years ago, I won one of those big stamp collecting books and then the next year I got another for the entire world," Austin said. "I got a great way to collect stamps."

"It's a great organization," said Austin's mother, Reina MacDonald. "They invite the Scouts, which is how he first started coming, when he was a Cub Scout and we've been coming back every year since."