Updated: Apr 28/10

Press Release
Geldert medal goes to Bill Pekonen

George Pepall, President of The Royal Philatelic Society of Canada (RPSC) has announced that Bill Pekonen of Richmond, British Columbia has been awarded the Geldert Medal for 2009. The Geldert Medal is given annually for the best article or series of articles in The Canadian Philatelist, journal of the society.

Pekonen was chosen the Geldert winner by the judges for his article, “Free of Postage” which was published in the January - February 2009 issue. It was one of 23 eligible items. The Geldert jury was impressed with Pekonen’s work which described with accuracy the legality of ‘postage free’ mail and underscored the popular modern use of ‘no postage required’ which is “a non-conforming phrase” that does not always agree with postal regulations.

The jury believes Pekonen’s effort is significant in producing an “interesting coverage of a little-studied area of postal history.” Other comments included: “Original research is evident through the use of UPU agreements and other relevant documents,” and “It is well illustrated to show the use of the ‘free’ mail system in Canada.”

Bill Pekonen said “it was a pleasant surprise that the subject of my article has received this degree of attention.” He has been studying the subject for “about 40 years.” He chose the topic because “I was looking for an aspect of philately that was challenging and inexpensive to collect.” His research and information about official mail illustrates such mail “began with the Venetian Acque Sheets which were first produced in 1608.” He adds that “without official mail the hobby as we know it may not have even existed.”

Pekonen’s philatelic writing has appeared in BNAPS Topics and the Great Britain Philatelic Society’s Maple Leaves as well as other publications. He has been collecting since “the early 1960s” and, as well as official mail, his collections include the 1898 Map Stamp, the 1937 Coronation stamps, a special study of the C9 - 1947 Canadian Air Mail stamp, and Danish and Canadian Christmas Seals.

A great advocate for research, he said “the lessons I learned helped me to develop a ‘dig-deeper’ procedure,” and he encourages all philatelists “not to be afraid” to research. He credits his writing “for an ever-expanding circle of friends whose bonus far outweighs any monetary rewards one might receive from this hobby.”

The Geldert Medal was established in 1967 by Phyllis Geldert in memory of her husband Dr. George M. “Mac” Geldert, FRPSC and RPSC president (1958-1967).

George Pepall, said “it is important to congratulate Geldert Medal winners because they are an inspiration to others and a wonderful example for the hobby.” He said “they have a dedication to research, and their willingness to share their work is an immense benefit to The Canadian Philatelist.

The Geldert Medal selection committee consists of RPSC members Michael O. Nowlan, Chair; Cimon Morin and Kevin O’Reilly.

Information on The RPSC can be had by e-mail at info@rpsc.org or by visiting the Society's website at www.rpsc.org, or by calling 416-979-8874, toll free 1-888-285-4143.

For more information contact:

Michael O. Nowlan 506-357-2698
Margaret Schulzke 1 888-285-4143

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