Make tracks for the stamp club summer show in Kent this weekend

Stamp collector Bill Messecar

Stamp collector Bill Messecar

Bill Messecar stuck with stamp collecting for more than 50 years for one primary reason.

“I like history,” said Messecar, 69, of Covington. “Stamps are a great way to learn and see history not only of our country, but of others.”

Messecar plans to expose his 8-year-old grandson to a history lesson when they attend the Boeing Employees Stamp Club Summer Show Saturday and Sunday at the Kent Commons. The free show, open to the public, runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.

Nearly 20 stamp dealers, some from as far away as Canada and California, are expected to display nearly 60 tables of stamps.

“Dealers drive here from other states,” said Messecar, who plans to look for more stamps to add to his collection of numerous albums. “It’s a big show, the biggest in the Northwest.”

An estimated 500 to 600 people are expected to attend the show, which is now in its fourth year at Kent.

Messecar, who retired from Boeing in 2001, joined the stamp club 11 years ago after he moved here from California. He worked for 21 years for McDonnell Douglas and moved to Seattle to work for Boeing when the two companies merged in 1997.

The Boeing Employees Stamp Club started more than 50 years ago and has presented shows for more than 30 years. The club includes about 50 members, most of them retired. Employees from vendors or suppliers that work with Boeing also are eligible to join the club.

When he worked for Boeing, Messecar traveled around the world in his job to sell airplanes as a director of commercial marketing. The travel gave him the opportunity to collect stamps from other countries, including New Zealand, Japan and Australia.

In an effort to get his grandson interested in stamp collecting, Messecar started a state of Washington stamp album. They will look to find stamps from Washington at the weekend show.

Stamp collecting caught the interest of Messecar as a teen in the 1950s when he saw stamps owned by a family friend. Messecar’s parents then bought him his first album.

A high school buddy of Messecar’s also collected stamps and the two built a collection from the United States as well as British colonies. Messecar later sold those albums.

“I stopped doing it when I was chasing girls,” the retiree said of his involvement in stamp collecting. “But I got married and had kids and picked it up again.”

Messecar attends two or three stamp shows per year to find stamps. He also buys stamps through auction catalogs and on eBay. The years have honed his ability to find top-quality items.

“You might not buy a stamp because you want it in a certain condition,” Messecar said. “If there is wear, you might decide it’s not good enough quality. You don’t want a crease on the stamp.”

And, of course, the rarer the stamp, the higher the value.

So many U.S. stamps are printed that even someone who has sheets of stamps from the 1960s does not own anything of much value, the collector noted.

“Sheets of stamps in the 1960s sold for $5 are worth about $4.45 now,” Messecar said.

But few stamp collectors are in it for the money.

“I collect because it’s fun and interesting,” Messecar said. “I’d say more than 90 percent of the collectors are the same way.”

• WHAT: Boeing Employees Stamp Club Summer Show

• WHEN: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday

• WHERE: Kent Commons, 525 Fourth Ave. N.

• COST: Free

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