This year’s winner of the Charles J. Peterson Philatelic Literature Life Achievement Award is Charles A. Fricke. An APS member since 1954, Fricke has conducted research and authored seminal works on the first postal card issues of the United States culminating in the publication of his book, 1973 Centennial Handbook of the First Issue United States Postal Card 1873-1875. Volume 1 was subtitled, A Complete Plating of the 72 Subject Plates with a Special Appendix Devoted to Family Tree of Proofs. A companion Volume 2 also was published by the UPSS the same year with the subtitle, A Contemporary Account of the First United States Postal Card 1870–1875. In this work, he presents chronologically contemporary newspaper clippings, correspondence, official records, patents, and other files of the period as well as examples of its life, uses, and postal history.
Fricke devoted many years to this research. His detailed study of the subject plates and master die proofs resulted in renumbering all the proofs (normal, trial color and trial color card proofs) listed by Brazer in the Essay Proof Journal. In 1973, the UPSS published Fricke’s first supplement to Volume 1 of the handbook, Subject Plate Form Assignment (Matrix) describing which of the 36 subject plates were mounted in each of the two forms based on his study of hundreds of proofs and plate flaws.
In 1974, Fricke authored a similar study on the international postal card, The United States International Single Postal Cards of 1879 to 1897–1898, Volume 1: Plating. In this work he reported his further research on the international card and proved that the same 40 subject plates were used for all three issues. He was co-editor of United States Multiple Advertising and Discount Postal Cards (1987, revised 2007). In addition, he contributed to the early editions of the standard reference work, United States Postal Card Catalog.
Over many years Fricke has authored more than 1,000 articles that have appeared in many journals. These items focus on some aspect of postal card or postcard use including rates, auxiliary markings, routes, cancellations, interesting points of origin or destination, varieties, advertising cards, first day items, novelty cards, paid reply cards, earliest known use, and other stationery items like stamped envelopes and wrappers, as well as many divergent subjects in the field of philately.
These articles have appeared in more than 35 philatelic journals and publications and five newspapers, including Linn’s Stamp News, Pennsylvania Postal Historian, Stamp Collector, The American Philatelist, U.S. Stamp News, U.S. Stamps & Postal History, Scott Stamp Monthly, Postal Stationery, Airpost Journal, Philatelic Freemason, The Seebecker, American Philatelic Congress Book, New Jersey Postal History, North Carolina Postal History Society Newsletter, Collectors Club Philatelist, S.P.A. Journal, Chesstamp Review, and Mekeel’s & Stamps among others. He currently has more than 200 articles that have been accepted but not yet published.
Charles planned and copyrighted the 1997 unpublished work, The Wide-Wide-World of Postal Stationery: An Encyclopedia of Collectibles. This was a 380 35mm slide presentation with accompanying text describing nearly 850 items. The program illustrated outstanding examples, types, and varieties of world postal stationery — an originally conceived introduction to collecting postal stationery.
He also planned and copyrighted the 1998 unpublished compilation of examples of postcards with descriptions, Deltiology and Philately in the Early 1900s: A Marriage of Collectibles.
The award is named in honor of two-time John N. Luff award recipient Charlie Peterson, who set high standards in journal quality as editor of the APRL’s Philatelic Literature Review and the United States Philatelic Classics Society’s Chronicle of the U.S. Classic Postal Issues. His efforts with FIP and APS brought about the concepts of competitive literature exhibitions, and he served both nationally and internationally as a philatelic literature judge. He compiled indices for several major journals and generously mentored authors and editors throughout his career. Charlie Peterson served as president of the Writers Unit 30, the FIP philatelic literature commission, and the APRL.