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Top Auctioneer: Drop The FIP

Scott Trepel, president of Robert A. Siegel Auction Galleries Inc., one of the world’s top stamp auction houses, is calling for the upcoming U.S. international stamp show, New York 2016, to disconnect from the International Federation of Philately (FIP): “I would support — with money and sweat — a total ban on FIP patronage. Who needs them? We could put the money they consume to better use,” he wrote in an online message board.

He sent the following letter to Peter P. McCann, a U.S. member of the FIP Board of Directors and a past American Philatelic Society president. It is published here by permission:

As you may have heard, I have protested the FIP jury's decision not to award William H. Gross for his 1847 Issue collection at BRASILIANA 2013, and I have called for a change in FIP leadership.

As I believe the decision was influenced by factors which conflict with FIP regulations, I am asking the current FIP board of directors to engage the services of impartial, qualified outside legal counsel to investigate the circumstances surrounding the FIP's judging practices. For this investigation, all of the jury notes, e-mails and communications should be preserved. I do not need to remind you that all directors have a legal responsibility to protect the organization.

This formal request may be forwarded to Mr. Tay [Tay Peng Hian of Singapore, FIP president] and to other members of the board.

The FIP judging process is an essential part of organized philately. It saddens me that the standards which have been established over many years have been compromised. It deeply concerns me that among the many consequences of this breach of public trust might be damage to my livelihood, as more and more collector-exhibitors abandon the hobby out of frustration.

I look forward to the FIP initiating a productive process of examination and correction. The first step will be to engage outside counsel which is acceptable to those outside the circle of FIP leadership.

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