Durbano wins Grand Award for rare 5-Hole OHMS Perfins Exhibit at CANPEX in London (October 2022)

Patrick Durbano won the Single-Frame Grand Award at CANPEX 2022 in London, Ontario on October 15, 2022. His award is also the highest award any Canadian Perfin Exhibit has ever achieved. A portion of the article is reprinted below with permission from Canadian Stamp News.

CANPEX Grand winner offers ‘very aesthetic experience’

Reprinted with permission from Canadian Stamp News. Volume 47, Number 16: November 22, 2022

By Jesse Robitaille

Figure 1: Patrick Durbano, of Markham, ON., won the Single-Frame Grand Award for his postal history exhibit, ‘Canada Federal Department of Finance Five-Hole OHMS Mail: 1923-1939,’ which earned 91 points.

Rounding out the top honours, the Single-Frame Grand Award went to Patrick Durbano, of Markham, ON, for his postal history exhibit on federal finance department mail franked with “OHMS” (On His Majesty’s Service) stamps from 1923-39. The exhibit, “Canada Federal Department of Finance Five-Hole OHMS Mail: 1923- 1939,” earned 91 points, the Best BNA One-Frame Exhibit honour from BNAPS plus the Philatelic Specialists Society of Canada Research Award.

Over the past two-plus years, Durbano has worked with cataloguers of perforated initials – also known as “perfins” – to update and correct listings of decades-old items since confirmed as forgeries.

The 2022 Unitrade Specialized Catalogue of Canadian Stamps features a new listing of all known OHMS perfins genuinely created by the federal government (“Unitrade catalogue reworks OHMS perfins for fakes,” CSN Vol. 46 #22, Feb. 15, 2022).

“This is the first major attempt at removing unauthorized and/or bogus items that have crept into the old list over the past few decades,” Durbano wrote in a 2021 blog post on his website,

He also supplied cataloguer Ken Pugh, an expert in philatelic fakes and forgeries, with a chapter on the historical background and known usage periods of the three OHMS perforators used from 1923-53.

“They’ve recently realized how many forgeries exist of these government perforations, and Patrick has been part of the research showing what could and couldn’t be real,” said jury chair John Wilson, who added those researchers have supported “dumping a lot of older certificates.”

“Patrick shows the material in the best possible way, and he shows it on cover from the limited number of places these stamps could be used from – because there were only a few centres that had such perforations to affix to their mail. It’s very difficult to acquire this material, and he’s got the best and the biggest of everything, and they’re all appropriately cancelled. Every value that he showed was on a cover from a listed issuer, and it was all very neatly done.”