Nation’s Largest Annual Philatelic Show Visits Richmond
World-class philatelic exhibits, scores of dealers, rarities, three first-day-of-issue ceremonies, educational presentations, high-tech youth activities, and much more is planned for StampShow, which will be held August 3 to 6 in Richmond, Virginia at the Greater Richmond Convention Center, 403 N. Third Street. Show hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday to Saturday; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free for show, but all attendees must register. A full pdf of the show program is available here. And an app for the show can be downloaded here.
The annual show is sponsored by the American Philatelic Society, the world’s largest association devoted to the hobby of stamp collecting. In addition to offering the nation’s signature event for philately, StampShow serves as the annual summer convention of the 30,000-member strong APS, which was formed in 1886.
One major change in this year’s show will be celebratory events, including the annual Tiffany Dinner, now an invitation-only event, and the awards banquet, which has been divided into two events.
A keyword associated with StampShow is diversity as the show offers something for every collecting level, from the beginner to the expert. A complete schedule and many details can be found online at https://stamps.org/STAMPSHOW-SS, but here is a brief summary of major show events.
PHILATELIC EXHIBITS: More than 600 frames of world-class exhibits will showcase rare and interesting aspects of international philately, from postal history to stamps. Exhibits are diverse with sample titles including, “Backyard Chickens,” “Confederate Mails on the Rails,” “U.S. Ten Cent Issue of 1861,” and “Cuba: Varieties and Errors, 1899-1962.”
About three dozen of the exhibits will compete in the 50th Champion of Champions competition. Only the grand award winners from 30 World Series of Philately exhibitions over the preceding 12 months and a half dozen from national exhibitions in Canada are eligible for America’s most prestigious award in philatelic exhibiting.
DEALERS AND AUCTIONS: About 100 dealers and two auction houses will be on hand, offering everything from bargain boxes of stamps and covers (envelopes or postal wrappings) to rarer items that might cost thousands of dollars. A few dealers that sell collecting materials, such as albums, stockbooks, and catalogs.
The U.S. Postal Service will be on hand with a full array of its latest products. Also, Nordica, which represents several Scandinavian and northern European postal agencies, also will be at the show.
Harmer-Schau auction house is offering up to 4,000 lots, with three auction start times: 6:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 10:30 a.m. Sunday. H.R. Harmer will hold its five-hour auction starting at 1 p.m. Saturday.
The APS will bring merchandise of all type for sale, including books (found on website), specialty items (from neckties to magnifiers), plus Circuit Books of stamps and covers – both regular and clearance materials. Also, the Young Philatelic Leadership Fellows will sell philatelic material, with all sales going to help the youth program.
FIRST DAYS, SOUVENIRS AND A GIVEAWAY: Three first-day-of-issue ceremonies are planned.
The U.S. Postal Service on August 3 hold a ceremony for the new set of five Pollinators stamps featuring monarch butterflies, western honeybees, and flowers.
That same day, the United Nations will formally issue a set of six stamps in its ongoing World Heritage series, with this group featuring treasured sites from Along the Silk Road.
The Marshall Islands on August 4 will release a sheet of 20 honoring the artwork of Paul Calle (1928-2010). Calle designed about 40 stamps for the U.S., plus stamps for other countries. His best-known stamp is likely the U.S. 10-cent First Man on the Moon airmail stamp of 1969. Calle’s son, Chris, who also is an artist and stamp designer, will be at the show.
The APS will sponsor show covers in connection with the U.S. first day and offer special cancellations for each day: Pollinators (Thursday), Confederate (Friday), Canada 150 (Saturday), and Grills (Sunday).
The Faroe Islands is giving away a miniature sheet featuring a solar eclipse. The giveaway is being coordinated by the APS. The first 500 visitors to the APS booth who request the sheet will receive one.
PRESENTATIONS: Dozens of talks, workshops, and seminars are planned, including two from a preservation specialist at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Postal Museum. Among the others are several about Civil War philately, plus “The Use of Points to Evaluate Exhibits,” “ABCs of Collecting Perfins,” “Exhibiting Techniques,” “Rare and Unusual Interruption of Mail,” and several beginners’ workshops sponsored by the APS. The APS Youth Fellows will make a formal presentation discussing their experiences.
POSTAL MUSEUM: The National Postal Museum will show two full plate proofs of the 4-cent United Nations Dag Hammarskjöld stamp of 1962. The museum also will send several artistic endeavors that stamp designer Howard Koslow used to create the U.N. architecture stamp in the 1940s Celebrate the Century Series, issued in 1999.
RARITIES AND EXHIBITS FROM THE APS: An Inverted Jenny – an error stamp of the United States’ first airmail stamp of 1918 – owned by the American Philatelic Research Society, the sister organization of the APS, will be on display, as will a George Washington free frank, and the discovery pane of the 1962 U.S. 4-cent Dag Hammarskjold Invert Error autographed by those who first recognized its rarity and significance. The APS will exhibit a collection of its intricate stamp boxes. Many of these finely crafted antiques are from the early days of stamp usage in 1840 to 1910s and are crafted in a variety of materials, including sterling silver, wood, gold, enamel, and ivory.
AUTHORS: About a dozen authors of recently issued books will be on hand, many who will make presentations. The author talks will be held in the same area as the literature exhibits. Three dozen articles, journals, and books are entered into the philatelic literature competition.
The Richmond Stamp Soiree, an invitation-only Tiffany dinner, will be held Thursday evening at the Virginia Historical Society.
The APS membership meeting and Town Hall is set for 9 a.m. Saturday.
This year’s Celebration Banquet Saturday evening is a two-tiered event. First, there will be an open Medal-Level Ceremony at which most show awards will be presented and cocktail party will be followed by a banquet (tickets needed) at which the show’s and society’s premier awards will be announced, 7 p.m. Saturday.
SOCIETIES, CLUBS, AND GROUPS: Several philatelic societies and clubs are expected to be on hand. These groups will have various activities from meetings and dinners to having booths on the show floor and presentations. Among the many major societies scheduled are the American Philatelic Congress, the Great Britain Collectors Club, the Canal Zone Study Group, German Philatelic Society, the Women Exhibitors, and Virginia Postal History Society.
APS STAFF-SPONSORED EVENTS: The APS staff will make several presentations. Among them are “Buying and Selling Through the APS,” “Library Resources Focusing on World War II Era,” “Writing for The American Philatelist “E-Newsletters and Promoting Your Stamp Show Through the APS,” “Using the APS Website and “Philatelic Estate Planning.” Executive Director Scott English will hold an “Ambassador Forum.”
BEGINNERS AND YOUTH: Several beginning-level presentations have been scheduled along with a Boy Scout merit badge workshop. The Discovery Cove youth area will include Stamps by the Bucket, an opportunity to use microscopes, learn about soaking and hinging, and design activities, including microprinting. All youths receive a free goodie bag.