Spring Into Philately's Coming Events!Washington 2006
It is mid-February as I write, but my thoughts are clearly focused on spring. By the time you will be reading this column in April we will all be counting down the days until the opening of Washington 2006, our once-a-decade international philatelic extravaganza. I am really, really excited!
The Washington 2006 website (www.washington-2006.org) has listed the schedule of events throughout the run of the show, which begins May 27 and runs through June 3. I have been carefully planning my days at the show and realize there will not be enough time to do everything. If you will be attending the show, I urge you to also begin to plan your visit. Be sure to allow ample time for shopping, looking at exhibits, attending meetings and seminars, relaxing with friends, and visiting nearby museums and attractions in Washington.
Make A Visit To The American Philatelic Center The APS will be running a tour from Washington 2006 to the American Philatelic Center on the day after the show closes. You can take a bus from the show to Bellefonte, enjoy a day there that includes tours, seminars, and a reception and return the same day to your hotel in Washington. I urge all APS members to take advantage of this opportunity and come see YOUR American Philatelic Center. You will be impressed. Details on the excursion are found elsewhere in this issue.
Executive Director Search
The Executive Director Search Committee, chaired by Wade Saadi, is busy gathering resumes from potential candidates for the job of APS Executive Director to replace Bob Lamb, who is retiring on June 15. Soon the committee will be reviewing the resumes and by the time you read this we will be conducting interviews at our headquarters in Bellefonte. Our goal is to have the new Executive Director in place in time for Washington 2006 so that you can meet him or her. This timeline will also give the new Executive Director an opportunity to work with and learn from our present ED. We will announce the new ED just as soon as the position has been filled.
Spokesperson For Philately
A recurring theme in letters I receive from APS members is that philately suffers from a lack of a "public face." In the 1930s, philately was well served with famous supporters. In Great Britain, King George V was a dedicated, highly visible and well respected philatelist. Then President Franklin Roosevelt, equally dedicated to stamp collecting, became the "public face" of philately in the United States. In those days the office of President of the United States was more revered than it has become in more modern times and perhaps young people were more inclined to want to be like the President. Stamp collecting was a way to "be like the President." It was also a way to connect with distant countries and people. I guess the world was bigger in those days before there were multiple ways of instant communication such as we have now.
We stamp collectors know we have a wonderful, enriching hobby. Do we need a spokesperson to tell this to the world and give our hobby a public face? If so, who should be the spokesperson? I get letters recommending politicians, entertainers, writers, sports figures, and business leaders. They are all great ideas, but these days having a spokesperson usually comes at a significant cost. Additionally, some of the names being recommended are people who are not known stamp collectors. Can a hired non-philatelist speak with the same passion and conviction as somebody who avidly pursues collecting? I'd love to hear your thoughts and recommendations. You can write to me at P.O. Box 250, Pleasant Plain, OH 45162 or e-mail email@example.com.
New Stamp Issues And The Three Bears
Another recurring theme in letters and e-mails I receive are the number of new stamps the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) issues in any given year. Some write to tell me that there are too many. Others say there are too few and then proceed to list a multitude of worthy stamp subjects that have never been honored with a stamp. Still others write to complain about those who complain about too many or too few stamps. It reminds me of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Too many....too few.....JUST right!
Each holder of a position believes the APS should "do something." Either the APS should stop the USPS from issuing so many stamps, should encourage USPS to issue stamps for selected subjects, or should tell those who complain one way or another to refrain from doing so. There is no clear majority in this one!
Here's what I think. Collect what you like. If new issues are too rich for you, collect something else. Nobody is forcing you to collect them. If you have an idea for a stamp subject, contact the Citizens Stamp Advisory Board. And if you don't want to read about collectors complaining about new issues or lack thereof, then don't read them. Stamp collecting is a hobby. We should all find the ways that are most enjoyable for us, and pursue them accordingly.
I am reminded of an article published in American Philatelist in January 1945 written by Van Dyk MacBride. "I think tolerance is needed, now and badly. I personally seek nothing from philately but the pleasure and relaxation it provides, the knowledge and learning it supplies, and the good friendship it leads to. I plead with those among my writer, dealer, and collector friends who have the best interests of our avocation at heart, to do their utmost to see that the present unfortunate trend is promptly changed. Let's get back to where it is fun and pleasant to collect, or deal in, or to read and write about stamps!"