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Memorable Manitobans: Kasimir “Kas” Bileski (1908-2005)

Philatelist.

Born on a farm near Alvena, Saskatchewan on 14 September 1908, son of Ukrainian immigrants Nicholas Bileski and Caroline Chryk, the family moved to Saskatoon so that his father could find work and the children could attend school. At nine years of age, his interest in stamps became a passion as he began getting stamps and envelopes from the local Chinese laundry and news agency. He graduated from Bedford Road Collegiate in Saskatoon and, after attending Normal School, he taught in various small towns in Saskatchewan. Teaching was not a prosperous profession so, in 1932, he went to London, England to be trained in the buying and selling of stamps. In 1937, the newly-married Bileski moved to Winnipeg and set up a mail-order stamp business at 870 Kildonan Drive in East Kildonan. The business was successful and he travelled to stamp auctions around the world. In 1959, he became famous in the philatelic world as the discoverer of Canada’s most famous stamp error, the “Seaway Inverted.” He published many booklets on Canadian stamps and, in 1992, he was awarded 125th Anniversary of Canadian Confederation Medal in honour of his promotion of Canada and Canadian stamps to the world. He has been recognized as “One of the greatest stamp dealers in Canadian philatelic history” and it is estimated he served over 200,000 clients over the course of his 75 year career. He died at Winnipeg on 19 January 2005 and was buried in Glen Eden Memorial Gardens.

Sources:

Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 22 January 2005.

Kasimir Bileski — September 14, 1908 to January 19, 2005, Saskatoon Stamp Centre.

This page was prepared by Ian Stewart.

Page revised: 15 March 2020

Memorable Manitobans

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