The COVID crisis is challenging the status quo in so many aspects of our lives: some for better, some for worse, many unknown.
Stamp collecting, though, has received an unprecedented boost and has been firmly propelled into the digital age (apologies, it now appears compulsory to use the word ‘unprecedented’ at least once in every article these days…).
As for Latin American philately…well, it has been given an extraordinary fillip recently with the introduction of the recently established Mi Oficina (My Office) Philatelic Society.
Every evening, a group of collectors, congregate around their screens to listen to a series of presentations on a diverse range of philatelic subjects.
All without charge, all hosted on Zoom and all of an exceptionally high standard.
Perhaps similar to the sort of presentations you might expect to hear at the Collector’s Club or the Royal Philatelic…except these are happening every night.
And it’s very popular, with over seventy participants attending a typical presentation.
Over 100 presentations to enjoy
Around forty presentations have already been given, including subjects such as Ecuadorian forgeries, early Chilean fiscals, Peru’s 1862 One Dinero, Honduran philately, the Escuditos of Uruguay, Mexican Postal districts…and much, much more.
A further sixty plus future presentations have been booked every night until mid-August with a number of dates booked out up until October. An incredible achievement by the organisers, Alfonso Molina and Henry Marquez, now with the backing of the Inter-Americana Philatelic Federation.
Whatever your interest in Latin American philately, you are sure to find something here that you will not want to miss.
Online forums have been with us for a number of years now but it seems philately is finally embracing the tools that allow collectors to talk, share and discuss without the constraints of a physical presence. This, in turn, increases our international ‘connectedness’ and gives greater exposure to the hobby.
Guidance for non-Spanish speakers
A couple of important points to bear in mind:
Firstly, the majority of the presentations are in Spanish only. Not all, but most.
Secondly, depending on where you are in the world, the live sessions may not be timed conveniently for you. All presentations commence at -5 GMT.
However, the presentations are all available on YouTube to be watched at your leisure and can be accessed via the Mi Oficina homepage.
And, if you want to follow along in English (or any other language), the YouTube subtitle feature does a reasonable job of translating the narrative.
Step 1. Choose the presentation you want to watch.
Step 2. Switch on subtitles. This is the first icon at the bottom left of the screen
Step 3. Change language to English or your preferred language. Click on the Settings icon, and navigate to Subtitles and then to Auto Translate where you can pick the language of your choice.
The list of future presentations is in Spanish but viewing the links via Google Chrome will enable an easy translation.
If you’d like to know more or are interested in sharing your own knowledge, you can contact the organisers directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.