Tomsen wins Junior Philatelists' first cachetmaking contest
Erik Tomsen, 12, AK, won the Junior Philatelists of America (JPA) first
annual cachetmaking contest. His was selected the best entry from among 71
first day covers (FDCs) entered by 51 youths, ranging in age from 4 to 17.
Tomsen joined the JPA only this year and has won a JPA essay contest and stamp trivia contest in addition to the cachetmaking contest.
Rachel Turtledove, 13, CA, was the first place winner in the ages 13 and over category, and Alyson Colton, 12, NY, won first place in the 10-12 age group. Heather Bell, 9, MA, topped the 9 and under age category, which had the most entries.
Entrants selected a stamp from the 1960's "Celebrate the Century" sheet of 15 stamps as the basis for their cachet. The Peace Symbol was the most often used stamp, followed by the Roger Maris stamp.
All youths under 18 years of age were eligible to participate, whether or not they were JPA members. There were 13 contest winners: a grand prize winner, chosen regardless of age, and four places in each of the three age groups cited above. Five JPA members won, winning three out of four places in the 13 and over category.
Two groups of entries performed well also. The Festus, MO Elementary School Stamp Club also won five prizes, and the fourth grade class of the Cushman School in South Dartmouth, MA captured two. Their entries were returned to them as a group and each conducted their own Academy Awards-style ceremonies to announce the winners, distribute the prizes, and return all of the entered covers.
The donated prizes were the American First Day Cover Society's "FDC Handbook for Junior Collectors," subscriptions to Stamp Collector, copies of the "Scott/Mellone First Day Cover Catalogue," and 53 FDCs contributed by various cachetmakers.
After evaluating the entries in each of the three age categories according to the four judging criteria, the four judges -- two established cachetmakers and two FDC collectors, one of whom was a youth JPA member -- then listed their top five choices for grand prize, regardless of age category. Only two covers made all four judgesí lists: Tomsenís and Coltonís, both of whom were in the ages 10-12 category.
The judging criteria of Overall Impression, Creativity, Consistency with the Stamp, and Technical (artistic) Ability placed a strong emphasis on how the entrants added to or elaborated on a stamp's subject in their cachets. While artistic ability was a factor, this clearly was not simply an art contest.
This contest raised the awareness of FDCs among the JPA membership, and it is anticipated that the second contest, to be conducted next fall, will have even greater participation.
The Junior Philatelists of America was organized in 1963 to promote philately among youths. It is the primary voice of youth philatelists in America and has membership worldwide. For more information about the JPA, write to its Central Office at P.O. Box 650, Boalsburg, PA 16827-0850, or visit its website at www.jpastamps.org .