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A blazing stamp collection.

The Stamp Collecting Report, I'm Lloyd de Vries.

Rick Gibson collects and exhibits Smokey Bear.

"I flew for the U-S Air Force C-130 aircraft as a navigator and one of our missions was
firefighting." RUNS :06

The Forest Service was grateful for the help from the Air Force crews.

"They would give us Smokey Bear pins, Smokey Bear patches, lapel pins, ink pens..."
RUNS :04

Gibson wasn't yet a stamp collector.

"I had an afternoon off, I went in an antique story, and I found a notebook that had nine
Smokey Bear covers." RUNS :06

In stamp collecting, a "cover" is an envelope with a stamp and cancel. But that notebook
just sat on a shelf for a few years.

"When I had time and eBay kicked up, I discovered that there were more out there. In 2009,
I joined a stamp club, and I now have over 600 covers." RUNS :09

That's in addition to the rest of his Smokey Bear memorabilia.

"I have 900 square feet of my basement which is attributed to Smokey Bear. I have kites,
baseballs, record albums." RUNS :07

Gibson also collects the 1958 Forest Conservation stamp.

"Originally, it was to be a Smokey Bear stamp. It was hijacked by the Keep America Green
Committee." RUNS :05

Both stamps were drawn by the same artist.

Even though these stamps were issued decades ago, Gibson keeps looking for more covers.

"I'm finding new material at every show. I'm traveling all four corners of the U-S."
RUNS :05

The Smokey Bear stamp was issued in 1984. Gibson hopes there will be another.

"I'm really hoping that this stamp comes out in 2019, celebrating the 75th anniversary of
the Smokey Bear program." RUNS :06

Meanwhile, his exhibit often wins top awards at stamp collecting shows.

Iím Lloyd de Vries of The Virtual Stamp Club. For more on stamps and stamp collecting,
visit virtual-stamp-club-dot-com.

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