Wishnietsky World Series Champion of Champions Announced

The presentation of the Benjamin & Naomi Wishnietsky World Series Champion of Champions exhibiting award winner was revealed this past Saturday at APS StampShow 2017 in Richmond, Virginia.

James P. Mazepa, for his exhibit at Balpex 2016 titled “Colonial Central America,” won the top award.

A full list of the winners can be found on the APS website in PDF format. The literature competition Palmares is also available here.

Additional information about the competition is online at the APS website.

APS StampShow 2017 in Richmond Starts Today!

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.

SPECIAL EVENTS: 

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.

Royal Mail Marks WWI Centenary Fourth Year With Six New Stamps

A shattered poppy, an exploded Bible, and a pair of life-saving nurses are among the images shown on six stamps issued Monday, July 31, by Royal Mail. The set is the fourth in Great Britain’s five-year commemorative series marking the centennial of events of World War I.

Across the series, the stamp images have provided a range of themes showing how artists, including writers and painters, interpreted the events; the role of non-combatants and civilians; the role of the armed services; the role of women; and the contribution of the Commonwealth.

The imagery on the stamps features historic memorials and artifacts that have become synonymous with the conflict, portraits of some of the participants, art showing some now famous and moving scenes, poems composed during the war and newly commissioned artworks of poppies — the symbol of Remembrance.

The 2017 stamps (shown below) feature:

Shattered Poppy, by photographer John Ross. Using a microscope in his work, Ross manages to reveal aspects of subjects not normally visible.

An extract from the poem, “Dead Man’s Dump,”by British poet Isaac Rosenberg. The poem graphically depicts the horrors of the war. Rosenberg himself died on April 1, 1918, during the German spring offensive.

Nurses Elsie Knocker and Mairi Chisholm, who travelled to Belgium to join a small ambulance corps where they worked transporting casualties to base hospital. They established a front-line first-aid post at Pervyse in Belgium, where they would eventually treat 23,000 casualties. In 1917 they were awarded the Military Medal.

Also featured is an image of a warship with its hull painted in a geometric, abstract style. The design was created by British painter Edward Wadsworth, who was engaged to create “dazzle camouflage” patterns for British ships, which were intended to confuse attacking German U-boats.

To mark the 100th anniversary of the battle of Passchendaele, which commenced on July 31, 1917, a stamp features an image of the Tyne Cot Cemetery in Belgium, where fallen soldiers from the battle were buried. Designed by Sir Herbert Baker, a total of 11,961 Commonwealth servicemen from WWI are buried or commemorated there.

Private Lemuel Thomas Rees’ life-saving Bible was specially photographed for the stamp issue. During the Battle of Passchendaele, an exploding German shell landed close by, and although Rees was hit, he was saved by the small Bible that he kept in his breast pocket. Rees was conscripted into the 6th Battalion in 1917.

Here is Royal Mail’s Summary of the stamps:

POPPY: To create Shattered Poppy, photographer, John Ross, needed a supply of fresh poppies and so he set up a temporary studio in a barn next to a poppy field, where he froze freshly cut poppies using a vat of liquid nitrogen, before breaking the brittle petals with a metal rod. Backlit to maximise the flower’s color and fine structure, the resulting image suggests a sudden, devastating act of violence, an impression that is heightened by the poppy’s natural delicacy.

POEM: Isaac Rosenberg was a British painter and poet. The son of Lithuanian Jewish immigrants, he studied at the Slade School of Fine Art in London, but also maintained an interest in writing poetry. By the time of his arrival on the Western Front with the 11th Battalion in the summer of 1916, he had published three volumes of poetry. In “Dead Man’s Dump,”Rosenberg depicts a shocking scene as mule-drawn wagons laden with coils of barbed wire pass by the dying and crush the bodies of dead men lying in their path.

NURSES: Shortly after the outbreak of war, friends Elsie Knocker and Mairi Chisholm traveled to Belgium, joining a small ambulance corps where they worked transporting casualties to base hospitals. Realizing that many men were dying from untreated wounds, they established a front-line first-aid post at Pervyse in Belgium where they would eventually treat 23,000 casualties. In 1917 they were awarded the Military Medal. The stamp image shows the “Madonnas of Pervyse” wearing the Order of Leopold II, a Belgian decoration that they received in 1915. In 1918 both nurses were affected by a gas attack. Chisholm recovered sufficiently to return to the front.

DRY DOCK: Working in a geometric, abstract style British painter Edward Wadsworth was interested in technology and the new perspectives it might offer. After being invalided out of the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve in 1917, he was engaged to design “dazzle camouflage” patterns for British ships, which were intended to confuse attacking German U-boats (submarines).

CEMETERY: Tyne Cot Cemetery in Flanders, Belgium, was designed by Sir Herbert Baker. A total of 11,961 Commonwealth servicemen of the First World War are buried or commemorated there. Of the burials, 8,373 are unidentified. Visiting the cemetery in 1922, King George V remarked: “I have many times asked myself whether there can be more potent advocates of peace upon Earth through the years to come than this massed multitude of silent witnesses to the desolation of war.”

LIFE-SAVING BIBLE: In 1917, Lemuel Thomas Rees was conscripted into the 6th Battalion, South Wales Borderers. During the Battle of Passchendaele, an exploding German shell landed close by, and although Rees was hit, he was saved by a small Bible that he kept in his breast pocket. After spending four months in a field hospital, he was sent home on leave where he suffered terrible nightmares, reliving the horrors of trench warfare. Following his return to the Western Front, Rees was wounded in a gas attack. He died from bronchial pneumonia and the effects of gas on November 13, 1918, only two days after the Armistice was signed.

The stamps and stamp products are available at: www.royalmail.com/firstworldwar.

August 2017 American Philatelist
Available Online

The August issue of The American Philatelist is online for APS members to view. Here are some of the highlights:

EFOs That are Best When the Lights are Off by Wayne Youngblood. Errors, freaks, and oddities are interesting enough, but things look especially freaky when you visit the somewhat hidden world of tagging miscues.

Philatelic Movie Props by Thomas Richards. From the 1930s, when real stamps could not be shown on the screen, to the creativity of Clint Eastwood, fake philately in movies can often be barely distinguished from the real thing.

Mail From the Pope’s Army by Thomas Pratuch. Exploring military mail from the 18th-century Papal States involves an exploration of complex army organizations and movements, not to mention deciphering old nonstandard Italian abbreviations.

The Lion, the Sun, and a Crown by Joseph Iredale. The sun, lion, and crown were used to imply sovereignty on the early stamps of Iran. There were no formal obliterators when the first stamps were issued in 1870.

APS Will Welcome the World by APS Staff. We have an early look at a special U.N. show scheduled for this fall at the American Philatelic Center in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania.

Senegal by Bob Lamb. A look at the philately of Senegal in West Africa, once a French colony, includes a visit with the short-lived Federation of Mali.