Local stamp collecting
benefits Norwegian children
Wednesday, January 02, 2013 5:27 AM
Does a cancelled postage stamp seem of any use once it has done its "job" of delivering a letter or package to its destination? When collected together they can make a big impact in the life of a child.
Lee Grippen of the Spring Grove Sons of Norway Lodge is chairman of the local Tubfrim collection of used stamps, which has totaled over 15 pounds in the last few years.
Tubfrim is an organization in Norway that collects cancelled postage stamps and resells them to collectors and dealers worldwide with the profits helping children and youth with disabilities and handicaps in Norway as well as to finance the efforts to eradicate tuberculosis.
The Norwegian word for postage stamp is "frimerke," hence the letters tub from tuberculosis and frim from frimerke form the word "Tubfrim."
Postmaster Ditlef Frantzen in Nesbyen, Hallingdal, Norway, wanted to find a way to raise funds for tuberculosis research, so he created the Tubfrim program in 1928.
The profits from the program have expanded to also aid children and youth with disabilities and special needs since tuberculosis is no longer the threat that it once was.
Frantzen left Nesbyen in 1943 and donated the Tubfrim program to the Norwegian Health Association, which still owns and operates it.
Since 1928, Tubfrim has had a total profit of more than 19 million kroner ($3.2 million). Last year, the profit of Tubfrim was about 650,000 kroner ($108,000).
In the United States, the Sons of Norway organization has been a longtime supporter of Tubfrim. They have been collecting stamps and sending them to Norway since 1986.
In fact, outside of Norway, the Sons of Norway (SON) organization is the biggest collector of stamps and sends approximately 3,000 pounds of stamps to Norway each year.
Locally, the Spring Grove Sons of Norway Valheim Lodge's members have been active participants in the program.
"We've been collecting stamps for Tubfrim for as long as I can remember," commented lodge member and Tubfrim Chair Lee Grippen.
"Everyone gets letters with stamps on them, so it really is an easy thing to do. And it is for such a good cause, too."
Each month, Grippen takes the bags of stamps collected by lodge members and community members to a lodge in La Crosse, Wis., where they are all combined together and sent to Norway. The Spring Grove lodge has donated more than 15 pounds of stamps over the last three years, Grippen pointed out.
How to collect stamps
Cancelled stamps from any country are accepted and although it isn't necessary, Tubfrim appreciates it if the stamps are sorted into U.S. stamps and stamps from other countries. No prestamped or metered stamps are acceptable.
In order to preserve the stamp and make it desirable to collectors and dealers, Tubfrim asks that a small margin of a quarter-inch to half-inch is cut around the stamp.
Stamps should not include the back part of the envelope. If the stamps are on envelopes or postcards that are more than 50 years old, organizers ask that the stamps are not cut off, but that the whole envelope/postcard is sent in.
In Spring Grove, people can drop off their collected stamps at the Giants of the Earth Heritage Center with Grippen's name on the package designating that it is for Tubfrim.
Questions about the collection program can be directed to Grippen at (507) 450-4534.