U.S. Scott Catalogue Update (August 2017)

5203 (49¢) Sports Balls – Football
5204 (49¢) Sports Balls – Volleyball
5205 (49¢) Sports Balls – Soccer ball
5206 (49¢) Sports Balls – Golf ball
5207 (49¢) Sports Balls – Baseball
5208 (49¢) Sports Balls – Basketball
5209 (49¢) Sports Balls – Tennis ball
5210 (49¢) Sports Balls – Kickball
a. Block of 8, #5203-5210

5211 (49¢) Total Solar Eclipse

RW84 $25 Canada Geese Hunting Permit Stamp
RW84A $25 Canada Geese Hunting Permit Stamp, self-adhesive

Photos and News from APS StampShow 2017

The unveiling of the U.S. Protect Pollinators stamps on Thursday, August 3rd. American Philatelic Society chief operating officer Ken Martin taking a photo of the Pollinators ceremony. That’s Barb Boal, former editor of the American Philatelist and now a volunteer for the American Stamp Dealers Association, in the white jacket standing in the neighboring National Stamp Dealers Association booth. Got all those affiliations straight? There will be a quiz later. Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee members before the Pollinators ceremony. Two views of the standing-room-only crowd at the Protect Pollinators ceremony. Below, APS president Mick Zais is speaking. There were intentionally not enough chairs at this ceremony for the anticipated crowd, to make it look well-attended — which it was.

LA-Area Ceremony for Sharks August 10th

Information courtesy collector Michael Joseph Luzzi:

There will be a SHARKS Forever stamp ceremony at the Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific on Thursday, August 10th at 9:30 AM. The address is 100 Aquarium Way, Long Beach, CA 90802.

The ceremony event is free and open to the public. However, this is not free admission to the Aquarium or the special exhibits. The $5 coupon that you will receive when you check in can be put toward admission should you desire to spend the day there.

www.aquariumofpacific.org for info about the various prices of admission. There are many things going on and each has a separate cost attached to it.

Also, the parking is $8 with the Aquarium validation so don’t forget to have the parking ticket validated.

Please RSVP ASAP TODAY with USPS L.A. Retail (323)586-1476.

Please arrive early if you will be attending this ceremony. You should be in place inside the Aquarium by 9 AM.

Brenda Coronado, the L.A. USPS Retail Manager advised me that there will be a Red Round Dater for 90802 in addition to the field pictorial.

Only SHARK stamps will be available for purchase at this event. If you want to purchase USPS SHARK product on which you can put the special Field Pictorial, I suggest you buy these items at your local post office. Also, you can buy the stamps and affix them beforehand to speed up the canceling process and make the event easier for you.

The participants might not sit to sign programs after the ceremony. That hasn’t been decided as yet.

AFDCS Shows Its Independence For Americover 2017

The American First Day Cover Society brings Americover 2017, its annual show and convention, to the Hall of Fame Corridor this year — Interstate 77, which runs from Cleveland (Rock ‘n Roll) to Canton, Ohio (Pro Football)

The show is being held August 11-13, 2017, at the Embassy Suites by Hilton Cleveland-Rockside, 5800 Rockside Woods Boulevard, Independence, Ohio 44131. Admission and parking are free. The bourse hours are Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and there is a cachetmakers bourse Saturday evening from 4:30 to 8 p.m., followed by a special Cachetmakers Moonlight Meal, open to cachetmakers, collectors and friends. Among the highlights during the show are the first-day ceremony for the Azulillo stamped card (postcard); the largest collection at any one venue all year of first day cover dealers; stamp dealers; the largest cachetmakers (new issue FDC producers) bourse of the year; a World Series of Philately national-level exhibition of rare and unusual first day covers; and the announcement of the winners of the annual AFDCS Cachet Contest, complete with visual displays.

The annual meetings of the AFDCS, the American Ceremony Program Society, Cachet Makers Association (Chapter #65), the 7-1-71 Affair (Chapter #50), ATA Halloween Study Unit, and the Art Cover Exchange (Chapter #79) will be held during Americover 2017. Also meeting at the show are the. The American Association of Philatelic Exhibitors is also holding an open forum. In addition to its meetings, the ACPS will hold an auction of ceremony programs.

The first-day ceremony will be held at 10 a.m. Friday in the hotel’s atrium. Many of the dealers will be selling FDCs for the new stamped card, among other recent issues.

The seminars include Chris Lazaroff on attending first-day ceremonies in all 50 states; Charles O’Brien on First Day Cover Terminology; and Phil Kumler presents a new approach to helping kids collect FDCs.

There are also two fund-raising auctions, which will include bulk lots and unique items produced especially for the AFDCS. There are hospitality suites each evening

There is a special cachet for Americover 2017, and a different pictorial postmark for each day of the show.

As a WSP show, the winner of the Grand Award at Americover 2017 will be part of the Champion of Champions competition at StampShow 2017. The jury is chaired by Ken Nilsestuen and includes Mark Banchik, Chris Dahle, Tony Dewey, and Tom Fortunato.

The day before the show, many of those attending Americover 2017 will spend travel down Ohio’s “Hall of Fame Corridor,” Interstate 77, to the First Ladies National Historic Site, the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and Harry London’s Chocolate Factory. (The latter isn’t a hall of fame, but perhaps should be.) On Sunday evening, quite a few show participants will dine at Melt Bar & Grilled, famous for its grilled cheese sandwiches and craft beers. These two events are open to the public. There is a fee involved, however.

More information on Americover 2017 is available on the AFDCS Web site, www.afdcs.org, by e-mail from showinfo@afdcs.org or by regular mail from the AFDCS, PO Box 16277
Tucson, AZ 85732.

Museum Voorlinden (Netherlands 2017)

[press release]
Museum Voorlinden artworks collected on stamp sheetlet

The Hague, 17 July 2017 – A new stamp sheetlet about Museum Voorlinden features eight works of art from the museum’s collection as well as two nature photos. On the stamp sheetlet, designer Gerard Hadders shows the role that daylight has in the relationship between the indoor and outdoor world of Museum Voorlinden.

First of all, the special roof filters the light, allowing visitors to always view the museum’s artworks under optimal conditions. Hadders also used this aspect of light on the stamp sheetlet. “The relationship between inside and outside is highlighted on several stamps, including Tuinen by landscape architect Piet Oudolf and the building by Kraaijvanger Architects. On those, you see how beautifully the light from outside falls inside,” Hadders explains.

Collage of different angles
Hadders, PostNL and Museum Voorlinden worked together to make a selection from the thousands of artworks. “We have a set of permanent works in our collection that deserved a spot on the stamp sheetlet. One of those is Ron Mueck’s Couple under an Umbrella, partly due to the important role the changing seasons play in our museum. You also see the seasons changing clockwise on the stamp sheetlet: starting at the top left with the summer beach image, going via autumn with the autumn leaves, winter with the snowflakes and spring with the bumblebee,” says Director of Voorlinden Suzanne Swarts.

The ‘Museum Voorlinden’ stamp sheetlet consists of ten stamps marked with ‘Nederland 1’, which can be used for items weighing up to 20g destined for mail in the Netherlands. These stamps will be available from 17 July at all Bruna shops and via Collectclub.nl. The stamps are valid until further notice.

Hotchner: More Stamps???

“Why Do You Need More Stamps?”
by John M. Hotchner

Early on, as my wife watched my stamp collection take over more and more square feet in our house, she asked the $64,000 Question: “Why do you need more stamps? You have so many already.” It is a reasonable question; perhaps akin to “Why do race car drivers keep going around in circles?”

It all makes sense to the participants — and to those who enjoy the ride vicariously; but why a collector collects, and why enough is never enough, are more difficult questions. Over the years I have tried to explain my reasons for pursuing more and better stamps and covers, and it is fair to say that I have never quite hit the mark, and certainly have not been able to overcome her assumption that there is a point at which a collection is complete; somewhat like the point at which the house has enough curtains and needs no more.

It fact, collections are never complete unless the collector wants them to be. And I don’t. Completeness signifies the end of collecting that particular thing, and moving on to something else — or nothing else. It is not where I want to be.

I like stamps and covers, and the discovery of new pathways of the hobby. In fact, what my wife sees as my collection — writ large — is really made up of a lot of small collections. And I like the feeling of having many philatelic balls in the air, and knowing that I can go to a bourse and be certain that I can find something new to enhance one or more of them.

I may add nothing to one collection for years, but another may grow like Topsy because I luck into a good source. Furthermore, it is not unusual to trip over something that is so interesting, it leads to yet another collecting category.

My wife and I have not buried this issue. Instead we have agreed to disagree. I’ve tried to compare the question to the issue of why she needs yet another pair of shoes, but it’s not the same thing she says: She doesn’t collect shoes for their beauty, for their story, to categorize…. She wears shoes; they have a functional value. The only things stamps are good for is mailing a letter.

So, it is time to gather in one place the six reasons (or excuses, if that is how you look at it) I’ve advanced for why I keep buying more stamps, ad to try to look beyond them. I think that the list makes a compelling case. But to accept that it does, requires being able to walk in my shoes, and understand the pleasures I get from the hobby.

Anyway, here goes:

  1. One of the characteristics of Mankind is acquisitiveness. Not many can avoid it, and there are many different degrees. But it is normal. And for those born with what I like to call The Collector Gene, a specific area can start as an interest, progress to a passion, and somewhere along the line turn into an addiction. Different people may assess that hold over an individual’s actions differently. I don’t see my addiction to philately as a bad thing. My spouse is not so sure that my level of self-control is up to the task of keeping me within practical limits. I like to point out that unlike some, we have not had to buy a larger house, or a second home, to house the collection; though I do have to admit that the collection does get in the way of downsizing!
  2. I buy individual stamps to complete album pages. I find it very satisfying to complete an album page. Of such little victories is life made up.
  3. And I buy specific stamps and covers to add to exhibits. Often this is just to fill a perceived gap, but sometimes the item ads to the body of knowledge about what is being exhibited. Previously unreported significant items in an exhibit are worth their weight toward a gold medal, but it is also a wonderful feeling to know that you have advanced the frontiers of knowledge.
  4. I buy collections because I am a passionate searcher for varieties. It is not enough to fill preprinted album pages. I am fascinated by interesting cancellations, revenue stamps, per ns, precancels, sheet markings, color varieties, misperforations, printing flaws. As often as not these are 10¢ items that dealers hardly ever stock, and the best way to find them is in old collections. (What I don’t use from collections gets traded, sold or donated. Unlike some, my house is not burdened by boxes of collection remainders.)
  5. I buy stamps and covers to write about in my various columns. Deadlines are harsh taskmasters, and finding new material is not only a necessity, but helps me to manage deadlines. Especially given the breadth and depth of U.S. philately, something new is always popping up that will with a little research to complement it, will make an interesting story.
  6. In my old age, with all our children on their own, and our physical needs taken care of, I buy the occasional stamp or cover (unrelated to an existing collection) that I have always admired and wanted. Why? Because it pleases me!

As I reread this, there is surely an element of self-indulgence in philatelic acquisitiveness. It prompts the question, Would I be a better person if I were spending the same money on diamond earrings for my wife — or annual vacations in Paris — or simply padding the savings account? Perhaps by some measures.

But these are questions each of us has to answer for him- or herself. As for me, stamp and cover collecting is my one extravagance. I don’t spend money on cigarettes, alcohol, caviar, thousand dollar suits, or the gambling tables in Atlantic City. Philately is not about acquiring mountains of money or social status — in fact to the average non-collector — it may type a collector as a bit of an odd duck.

But it lets us ‘believers’ slow life down, de-stress, and play in ways reminiscent of childhood. A constant stream of new ‘toys’ is the price of admission. No apologies.

Should you wish to comment on this column, or have questions or ideas you would like to have explored in a future column, please write to John Hotchner, VSC Contributor, P.O. Box 1125, Falls Church, VA 22041-0125, or email, putting “VSC” in the subject line.

Or comment right here.

US Postal Museum Taps Elliot Gruber

Elliot Gruber, the chief development and external affairs officer for the Jewish Social Service Agency, has been named director of the National Postal Museum, effective Sept. 5.

Gruber has more than 30 years’ experience in the nonprofit sector. As chief development and external affairs officer for the Jewish Social Service Agency since January, Gruber is responsible for the organization’s philanthropic revenue, marketing and communications. Under his leadership, the agency launched a $6 million capital campaign to renovate one of its buildings in the Washington, D.C., area. The Jewish Social Service Agency is a nonpartisan, nonprofit, client-focused health and social service agency helping individuals and families meet emotional social and physical challenges for more than 120 years.

Before joining the Jewish Social Service Agency, Gruber was a principal at EHG Consulting, which provides strategic planning and operations and fundraising expertise to nonprofit organizations. Gruber worked with the Houston Maritime Museum, which is preparing to launch a $50 million capital campaign for its new facility scheduled to open in 2020. He also conducted a comprehensive review and analysis of the organizational and fundraising structure for Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C.

Gruber was the president and chief executive officer of The Mariners’ Museum and Park in Newport News, Va., from February 2013 through April 2016. There, he managed a $7 million annual budget, 550 acres of parkland and a staff of 90. He also established the Monitor Foundation, a nonprofit organization overseeing the largest marine metals conservation lab in the world, to ensure continued conservation of the ironclad steamship the USS Monitor, which was built by the U.S. Navy during the Civil War.

From September 2010 until January 2013, Gruber was the senior vice president for resource development for the United Way of the National Capital Area. He was responsible for all fundraising programs, including the Greater Washington Give to the Max Day, which in its inaugural year raised more than $2 million in 24 hours.

Gruber was the vice president and chief operating officer of the Gettysburg Foundation (August 2002–September 2010) where he directed the $125 million capital campaign to build a new museum and visitor center at Gettysburg National Military Park. He oversaw all museum operations, including ticketing, reservations, visitor services and facilities management.

He has also worked in leadership capacities at the Ocean Conservancy, the Civil War Trust and the National Parks Conservation Association.

“Elliot brings great and relevant experience to the directorship of the National Postal Museum,” said Smithsonian Secretary David Skorton. “His skills as a museum leader and his fundraising acumen make him an excellent choice to lead this important museum into its next chapter.”

“I am proud to have been selected to lead the National Postal Museum, which tells the story of our American journey, past, present and future,” Gruber said. “I look forward to using my experience to work with the museum’s staff, advisory council and the Council of Philatelists to build new partnerships within the Smithsonian, across the country and around the world.”

Gruber received his bachelor’s degree in psychology from Brandeis University in Waltham, Mass., and his master’s degree in organizational psychology from Columbia University in New York City.

He succeeds Allen Kane, who retired in January, as director of the museum. Marshall Emery has served as acting director of the museum since then.

About the National Postal Museum
The National Postal Museum is dedicated to the preservation, study and presentation of postal history and philately. (Note: Philately is the collection and study of postage stamps, postmarks and stamped envelopes.) The museum uses exhibits, educational public programs and research to showcase the largest and most comprehensive collection of stamps and philatelic material in the world—including postal stationery, vehicles used to transport the mail, mailboxes, meters, cards and letters and postal materials that predate the use of stamps—and make this rich history available to scholars, philatelists, collectors and visitors from around the world.

The museum occupies more than 100,000 square feet of the historic City Post Office Building, with 35,000 square feet devoted to exhibition galleries. A U.S. Post Office stamp store, museum store and a 6,000-square-foot research library complement the exhibition halls.

Disney Villains (U.S. 2017)

Updated July 7, 2017: The Scott Catalogue numbers for this issue are

5213 (49¢) Disney Villains – The Queen from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
5214 (49¢) Disney Villains – Honest John from Pinocchio
5215 (49¢) Disney Villains – Lady Tremaine from Cinderella
5216 (49¢) Disney Villains – Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland
5217 (49¢) Disney Villains – Captain Hook from Peter Pan
5218 (49¢) Disney Villains – Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty
5219 (49¢) Disney Villains – Cruella De Vil from One Hundred and One Dalmatians
5220 (49¢) Disney Villains – Ursula from The Little Mermaid
5221 (49¢) Disney Villains – Gaston from Beauty and the Beast
5222 (49¢) Disney Villains – Scar from The Lion King
a. Block of 10, #5213-5222

Updated July 7, 2017:
On July 15, 2017, in Anaheim, CA, the U.S. Postal Service® will issue the Disney Villains stamps (Forever® priced at 49 cents), in ten designs, in a pressure-sensitive adhesive (PSA) pane of 20 stamps (Item 475400). The Disney Villains $9.80 pane of 20 stamps may not be split, and the stamps may not be sold individually. The stamps will go on sale nationwide July 15, 2017.

This issuance celebrates the rich legacy of the Walt Disney Studios Ink & Paint Department with a pane of 20 stamps showcasing 10 classic Disney villains: Maleficent (Sleeping Beauty), Honest John (Pinocchio), Cruella De Vil (One Hundred and One Dalmatians), Captain Hook (Peter Pan), the Queen of Hearts (Alice in Wonderland), Lady Tremaine (Cinderella), Ursula (The Little Mermaid), the Queen (Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs), Gaston (Beauty and the Beast), and Scar (The Lion King). The selvage area features the Queen from Snow White standing in front of an ornate background. The reverse side of the pane includes drawings of the 10 characters and a quote by each one. Art Director Derry Noyes of Washington, DC, working closely with Disney Creative Director David Pacheco and the team at the Walt Disney Studios Ink & Paint Department, designed these stamps using new art created for the issuance.

Stamp Fulfillment Services has completed an automatic push distribution to Post Offices of a quantity to cover approximately 30 days of sales. How to Order the First-Day-of-Issue Postmark:
Customers have 60 days to obtain the first-day-of-issue postmark by mail. They may purchase new stamps at their local Post Office, at The Postal Store® website at usps.com/shop, or by calling 800-782-6724. They must affix the stamps to envelopes of their choice, address the envelopes (to themselves or others), and place them in a larger envelope addressed to:

FDOI – Disney Villains Stamps
USPS Stamp Fulfillment Services
8300 NE Underground Drive, Suite 300
Kansas City, MO 64144-9900

After applying the first-day-of-issue postmark, the Postal Service will return the envelopes through the mail. There is no charge for the postmark up to a quantity of 50. There is a 5-cent charge for each additional postmark over 50. All orders must be postmarked by September 15, 2017. Philatelic products for this stamp issue are as follows:

  • 475406, Press Sheet with Die-cut, $58.80
  • 475410 Digital Color Postmark Keepsake (random cover), $11.95
  • 475416 First-Day Cover (set of 10), $9.30
  • 475421 Digital Color Postmark (set of 10), $16.40
  • 475430 Ceremony Program, $6.95
  • 475433 Panel, $17.95
  • 475466 Notecards (set of 20), $15.95

Technical Specifications:

Issue: Disney Villains Stamps
Item Number: 475400
Denomination & Type of Issue: First-Class Mail®, Forever
Format: Pane of 20 (10 designs)
Series: N/A
Issue Date & City: July 15, 2017, Anaheim, CA 92803
Art Director: Derry Noyes, Washington, DC
Designer: Derry Noyes, Washington, DC
Typographer: Derry Noyes, Washington, DC
Artist: Walt Disney Studios Ink & Paint Department
Modeler: Joseph Sheeran
Manufacturing Process: Offset
Printer: Ashton Potter (USA) Ltd. (APU)
Printed at: Williamsville, NY
Press Type: Muller A76
Stamps per Pane: 20
Print Quantity: 60,000,000 stamps
Paper Type: Nonphosphored Type III, Gloss Block Tag
Adhesive Type: Pressure-sensitive
Processed at: Ashton Potter (USA) Ltd. (APU)
Colors: Black, Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, PMS 7687C Purple
Stamp Orientation: Vertical
Image Area (w x h): 1.085 x 1.420 in/27.56 x 36.07 mm
Overall Size (w x h): 1.225 x 1.56 in/31.12 x 39.62 mm
Full Pane Size (w x h): 7.12 x 9.45 in/180.85 x 240.03 mm
Press Sheet Size (w x h): 22.235 x 19.025/564.77 x 483.24 mm
Plate Size: 120 stamps per revolution
Plate Numbers: “P” followed by five (5) digits
Marginal Markings:
Front: Header: DISNEY VILLAINS – from the Walt Disney Studios Ink & Paint Department
Back: ©2017 USPS • USPS Logo • Barcode (475400) • Plate Position Diagram • Promotional Text • Line Drawing and quote for each character • Disney Logo • Disney proprietary information

Updated July 6, 2017: There are 10 Digital Color Postmarks for this issue, one for each stamp, but any of the DCPs may be used for any of the stamps! There is also a B&W hand cancel and a “special” postmark that local post offices may use. Here are the designs: “Alice in Wonderland” measures 2.87″ x 1.47″.“Cinderella” measures 2.99″ x 1.10″.“Lion King” measures 2.97″ x 1.32″.“Peter Pan” measures 2.73″ x 1.48″.“Sleeping Beauty” measures 2.99″ x 1.15″.“Beauty and the Beast” measures 2.99″ x 1.32″.“101 Dalmatians” measures 2.94″ x 1.37″.“Little Mermaid” measures 2.98″ x 1.47″.“Pinocchio” measures 2.69″ x 1.32″.“Snow White” measures 2.97″ x 1.44″.The B&W postmark measures 2.57″ x 1.23.”.The “special” postmark measures 3.00″ x 1.27″.

Updated July 5, 2017:
According to the USPS web-store listing for this item, “the selvage area features the Queen from Snow White standing in front of an ornate background. The reverse side of the sheet includes drawings of the 10 characters and a quote by each one.”

Maleficent: “You poor simple fools! Thinking you could defeat me, me, the Mistress of All Evil!”

Honest John: “If we play our cards right, we’ll be on easy street, or my name isn’t Honest John!”

Cruella De Vil: “So, they thought they could outwit Cruella.”

Captain Hook: “Blast that Peter Pan!”

Queen of Hearts: “Off with their heads!”

We’re not told if there are quotes for the remaining three characters, Scar, Gaston and Snow White‘s Queen.

Thanks to Richard Wierzbowski for the tip.

[USPS press release]
Disney Studios Ink & Paint Department to be Celebrated on Forever Stamps Featuring Disney Villains

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Postal Service celebrates the rich legacy of the Walt Disney Studios Ink & Paint Department by dedicating a sheet of 20 Forever stamps featuring 10 classic Disney villains.

The Disney Villains Forever stamps will be dedicated at 1:30 p.m. PDT July 15, during D23 Expo 2017, Disney’s ultimate fan event at the Anaheim Convention Center, Center Stage. The public is encouraged to share the news on social media using the hashtag #DisneyVillainsStamps. Beginning June 22, the stamps may be pre-ordered at usps.com/shop for delivery shortly after the July 15 issuance.

Admission is limited to the ceremony that is standing room only. You may RSVP at www.usps.com/disney; however, this does not guarantee admission. Additional instructions will be provided. D23 Expo 2017 ticket holders do not need to RSVP. Each stamp showcases one of 10 classic Disney villains against a blue background: the Queen (Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs), Honest John (Pinocchio), Lady Tremaine (Cinderella), the Queen of Hearts (Alice in Wonderland), Captain Hook (Peter Pan); and Maleficent (Sleeping Beauty), Cruella De Vil (One Hundred and One Dalmatians), Ursula (The Little Mermaid), Gaston (Beauty and the Beast) and Scar (The Lion King).

The words “USA” and “Forever” appear in the top right corner or bottom right corner of each stamp and the name of the classic villain and the movie in which the character appears runs along the left edge.

The Art of Animation
Beginning in 1923, Disney’s Ink & Paint Department helped create classic animated films. Its artists brought life to countless memorable characters, including many iconic Disney villains.

One of the first groups of its kind, Disney’s Ink & Paint Department was yet another stop on the road to creating an animated film. After the animators’ pencil drawings were finished, they went to Ink and Paint. There, highly specialized artists meticulously recreated each pencil line in ink, capturing every nuanced movement and expression. At first, artists used black and white, and later shades of gray to “color” each celluloid or cel. In the early 1930s, the artists began using rich colors on the animation cels.

The last full-length animated Disney film to use the hand-painted cel process was The Little Mermaid (1989). Beauty and the Beast (1991) and The Lion King (1994) were hand drawn. The original pencil drawings for those films were then scanned and painted digitally. For these stamps, the characters Gaston (Beauty and the Beast) and Scar (The Lion King) have been recreated using traditional ink and paint techniques.

Art director Derry Noyes of Washington, DC, designed the issuance.

The Disney Villains from the Walt Disney Studios Ink & Paint Department stamps are being issued as Forever stamps that are always equal in value to the current First-Class Mail service one-ounce price.

APS Exec On The State of The Hobby

At a “town hall” meeting at the NAPEX show in suburban Washington, D.C., June 9, 2017, American Philatelic Society executive director Scott English talked about the diminishing membership, not only in the APS, but in stamp collecting organizations in general.

APS membership in 1988, when English graduated high school, was almost 56,000. Today, when his youngest child is graduating high school, it’s about 29,000. Membership is down about 900 for the year. “It scares me,” he admits.

English said he did “opposition research” before he took the job as executive director 22 months ago. He described that as “I know more about you than you do, and it isn’t all good.”

In this case, he found that the APS was disconnected and standing still. It’s still a problem, he said. “Our problem with the hobby is we love tradition.”

However, English — who was not a stamp collector before he took the job — disputes assertions that stamp collecting is dying, and decreasing organizational membership proves it.

“Stamp collecting isn’t collapsing, organized philately is,” he declared.

English told the collectors at the NAPEX session the APS may get involved in the Regency-Superior bankruptcy case. That was a large philatelic auction house and retail stamp seller with headquarters in Saint Louis. A major creditor has seized the assets of the firm, and those who consigned stamps and covers to Regency-Superior for sale may not be paid.

He said that while the organization itself was a consignor to R-S auctions and stands to lose money, the APS also wants to stand up for its members and other consignors. English says it is not fair that material that they own should be seized by this creditor, a bank. He has director the APS attorney to look into the matter.

He also said that APS may get involved in seeking changes to bankruptcy law to protect future philatelic consignors. English said that in his past career in politics, he was at times involved in writing bankruptcy legislation.

English also disputed the assertion by the owner of Regency-Superior that the business failed because stamp collecting is dying. You can hear or read his comments in a Virtual Stamp Club radio feature (podcast).

On other subjects:

  • APS will be redoing its website to make it mobile-friendly and Google-friendly. Right now, it’s neither, and only 2% of its visits are from mobile devices (and he suspects that’s just himself and COO Ken Martin).
  • AmeriStamp Expo 2017 in Reno was on target for revenue, off target on expenditures, and resulted in a loss.
  • On finances, English deferred to APS Treasurer Bruce Marsden, who said APS/APRL finances are probably the healthiest they’ve been in the past 5-6 years.
  • English gives “all credit” to Robert A. Siegel Auctions for getting the most possible for the American Philatelic Research Library for the recently-recovered inverted Jenny airmail stamp. “That stamp should have sold for about $180,000,” English said. “It’s probably the most expensive reperfed stamp ever!”
  • A small shopping center is going into the vacant space right next to the American Philatelic Center, with six retail spaces. Its architectural style was influenced by and will be consistent with the APC.