Oklahoma Philatelic Society hosts 35th annual event 

Oklahomans who share a unique and historic hobby will gather to showcase collections for the community and each other.

The Oklahoma Philatelic Society, informally known as the Oklahoma City Stamp Club, hosts the 35th annual OKPEX event Friday and Saturday at the Express Event Center, 8512 Northwest Expressway.

The group is the largest nonprofit stamp-collecting organization in the state. Each fall, the club sponsors the annual event, and this year, more than 1,600 pages of stamp exhibits are available for the public to peruse.

"We'll have some wonderful exhibits from all over the country," said Joe Crosby, the club's vice president.

This year's event honors Gary Cooper, who was initiated into the Hall of Great Western Performers at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in 1966. The United States Postal Service is recognizing the "High Noon" actor this year by placing his picture on new stamps. Crosby said the club is tying the milestone into the OKPEX theme.

A competition will also take place at the two-day event, in which collectors will vie for Best in Show and eligibility for the American Philatelic Society Champion of Champions event. Visitors can browse stamps brought by 10 dealers from five states, and add to their private collection. Three of the dealers have never had a booth in Oklahoma, which Crosby said adds more variety to this year's exhibit.

About five young collectors, ranging in age from 8 to 18, will also display their collections, with hopes of reaching a national competition for their age group.

The Oklahoma Philatelic Society currently has 75 members, but Crosby said several more collectors attend the shows each year.

"There's more stamp collectors than people realize," he said.

The free, public event runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. A barbecue is slated to take place in the lobby Friday night, and breakfast will be served Saturday morning.

"?Paige Lawler

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