Hot Links
Message Board
Article Archives
APS Application
AFDCS Application
APS Chapter Homepages

Message Board Home Bookstore Links

AFDCS Gears Up For Americover 2008

Americover 2008, the annual show and convention of the American First Day Cover Society, is being held Aug. 22-24 at the Fairview Park Marriott in Falls Church, Va. Admission is free and the show is open to the public.

"It's great to be back in the Washington, D.C., area," said AFDCS president Chris Lazaroff. "This is always one of our best locations."

The three-day World Series of Philately show, with its emphasis on first day covers, will feature a large FDC and stamp bourse, cachetmakers bourse, top exhibits, a banquet, meetings, seminars, youth booth, pre-show area tour and post-show dinner event. A first day of issue ceremony for the Ashton Potter and Avery Dennison versions of the 2008 Forever stamp will be held.

There will be a youth table, a natural for a first day cover show, because creating FDC cachets is a hands-on experience in which even young children can participate.

Among the highlights of Americover will be the announcement of the results of the 2007 Cachetmakers Contest and a seminar and discussion featuring personnel from the U.S. Postal Service's Cancellation Services unit.

For many, however, the highlight is none of the above, or all of the above: It's the social aspects of the show, a weekend with hundreds of other FDC collectors. So strong are the friendships that several dozen collectors take a tour of the area the day before the show opens, and stick around an extra night for a dinner and performance of some sort.

This year, the pre-show tour includes Mount Vernon, George Washington's home, and the National Museum of the Marine Corps, opened less than two years ago. The post-show event is a cookout and magic show at the hotel. Tickets to both are still available.

There are also hospitality suites in operation Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings. These are free -- that's why they're "hospitality," because the costs won't put you in the hospital -- although donations are welcome. A silent auction will be held, closing at 11 p.m. Saturday in the hospitality suite.

There will also be the AFDCS' annual "donation auction," featuring first day covers donated by the society's members. Many of these are one-of-a-kind gems that won't appear on the market anywhere else, and the prices are often "steals."

Ken Lawrence of Pennsylvania will be chief judge for Americover 2008. He will be joined on the exhibition jury by Harvey Tilles of North Carolina, Peter Martin of Connecticut, Tony Wawrukiewicz of Oregon, and Charles Verge of Ontario. Steven Zwillinger of Maryland is the apprentice.

Because Americover is a WSP show, the winner of the Grand Award at Americover 2008 will be part of the Champion of Champions competition at StampShow 2009. Last year's winner, Eliot Landau, represented Americover at StampShow 2008, with his exhibit "The Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial Series of 1945-46 and Its First Day Covers and Uses."

All frames have been filled for the Americover exhibition, by the way.

Unlike other WSP shows, Americover's exhibit awards are not presented at its banquet (held Friday night), but at the AFDCS Business Meeting Saturday morning. This dates back to when the AFDCS held its conventions at other shows: Saturday nights were reserved for the shows' banquets, and some exhibition juries felt Friday night was too early to deliver their verdicts.

Instead, the cachet contest results are announced at the banquet, and the cachetmakers bourse is held Saturday night. At the latter event, you'll find some of the most beautiful and unusual FDCs produced in the past year, as well as the people who produced them. Those renting tables for the bourse are only allowed to sell covers they have produced themselves.

There's no "food event" Saturday night, because of the cachetmakers bourse, but after that event ends, there's a late-night "box lunch" meal featuring exotic sandwiches.

The main commercial bourse will feature more major FDC dealers than any other show this year. Among them is Henry Gitner Philatelics, which recently purchased the archives of Artmaster, including the original artwork and plates. Artmaster was a major commercial cachetmaker for more than 50 years. Many of those items will be offered for sale at the show. "There will definitely be a 'feeding frenzy' at their Americover booth," predicts Americover program chairman Foster Miller.

Speaking of the program of seminars and meetings, there will be at least two under way at any point during the show, and sometimes more.

Besides the annual meetings of the AFDCS, the American Society for Philatelic Pages & Panels, the American Ceremony Program Society, and the American Topical Association's Space Unit are all convening at the show.

The Space Unit's meeting on Saturday the 23rd will feature guest speaker Capt. Grayson Merrill (USN ret.), one of the pioneers of early missile development for the U.S. Navy. During World War II, he helped oversee the creation of assault drones for use against Japan. Later, he helped prepare specifications for 18 guided missiles, wrote textbooks on guided missile design and was the technical director for the Polaris ballistic missile program.

Bruce Menia, a member of the board of directors of the American Society for Philatelic Pages & Panels, will speak on Saturday on "Collecting Back Numbers on Souvenir Pages."

The American Ceremony Program Society will hear about "First Days without a First Day Ceremony Program" from member and American Philatelic Society Historian Herb Trenchard on Friday.

Un-Virtual Meeting
of the
Virtual Stamp Club
Sunday 1 p.m.
at Americover 2008
In addition, The Virtual Stamp Club, the Art Cover Exchange, the Cachet Makers Association, and the 7-1-71, all chapters of the AFDCS, will hold meetings during the show; the APS will have a Town Hall meeting, where members can ask questions of elected officials and professional employees; and the American Association for Philatelic Exhibiting will offer "An Open Forum on Exhibiting."

The Fairview Park Marriott was recently renovated and rooms now have HDTVs and high-speed Internet access, free parking, concierge services, easy access to both Reagan and Dulles airports, and a shuttle to the Metro transit system.

It is rated at three diamonds by AAA and three stars by both Michelin and Mobil.

The hotel was offering a special $99 Americover rate for the show. The deadline for that has passed, but you may still be able to score a good rate, either online or by calling the hotel at {703} 849-9400.

For more information on Americover 2008, visit the AFDCS Web site, www.afdcs.org or e-mail ShowInfo@afdcs.org.

Photos From Previous Shows

At Americover 2006 in Independence, Ohio (near Cleveland), VSC members Dave Bennett and Rollin Berger affix stamps to their first day covers.

One highlight (?) of Americover is seeing what colors and patterns VSC member Steve Ripley has found for his Converse sneakers. These were worn at Americover 2005.

Illustrating typical AFDCS Americover ambience, here's a photo from right
after last year's Celebrate! stamp unveiling at Americover 2007. From
left to right, American First Day Cover Society USPS liaison and ceremony
organizer (and VSC member) Foster E. Miller III; Master of Ceremonies
Frank J. Marshall (Plant Manager, Stamford Processing and Distribution
Center, USPS); Dedicating Official Tatiana Roy (Manager, Marketing,
Connecticut District, USPS); Chris Lazaroff, President, AFDCS.

Virtual Stamp Club Home Page