Philatelists find fun at stamp exhibition

Saturday, November 6th 2004, 4:58 pm
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ Hundreds of stamp collectors are vying for the coveted Best of Show title at a stamp exhibition that ranks among the nation's largest.

This weekend's 30th annual exhibition is sponsored by the Oklahoma City Stamp Club under the auspices of the American Philatelic Society.

A total of 26 exhibitors are competing for a chance to be named Champion of Champions at a winners' event in Michigan next year. The Oklahoma City exhibition is one of about 35 nationally sanctioned stamp shows.

``This is a really top level show,'' said Nancy Clark, 57, of Maine, chief judge of the event. ``The exhibits you see here are among the finest in the country.''

On Friday, officials ceremoniously unveiled the U.S. Postal Service's new ``cloudscapes'' line of stamps, featuring photographs of nine different types of cloud formations and a tornado.

``The cloudscapes stamps are beautiful reminders of our ties to the larger environment that we live in, an environment of air and water that sustains us all,'' said George Frame, Oklahoma City postmaster. ``With these spectacular images, we've captured the wonder of nature and the power of the world's weather.''

But the stamp exhibition is more about people who experience the world one stamp at a time.

Take Bill Burdick, for example. Decades after he challenged his fourth-grade teacher, he still cherishes the day his stamp collecting helped him vanquish her for good.

``I knew more geography than she did,'' Burdick said. ``I learned it all from stamps, you know. You'd see the stamp and be curious and want to know more about the country it was from. Well, she didn't like it that I knew more than she did.''

One day, Burdick said, she tried to trick him, asking him to come point out Abyssinia on a world globe.

``It didn't faze me,'' Burdick said. ``I got up there and turned to the class and looked at her and said, 'There isn't any country called Abyssinia. The name Abyssinia is associated with four or five tribes who make their home in Ethiopia _ and that's right here on the globe.'

``It was my moment of glory.''