American Philatelic Society’s Winter Show Arrives in Alabama

Stamps, covers, postal history and plenty of connections can be made at this coming weekend’s AmeriStamp Expo in Birmingham, Alabama.

The show, which is admission free and open to the public, is set for Friday through Sunday at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex.

The show serves as the society’s 61st winter meeting and convention, with a general and town meeting set for 9 a.m. on the show Saturday. Otherwise, AmeriStamp will present dealers, international-caliber judged exhibits, displays of rarities, meetings of stamp societies and specialty groups, lectures and a designated youth area.

Though there is no charge for admittance, all visitors must register, which can be completed at the show entrance.

Basic information for AmeriStamp Expo can be found online at the APS website and includes the show’s full schedule of events and the show program.

Shoppers should find plenty of variety. Thirty dealers will be on hand specializing in everything from U.S. and worldwide to revenues, stampless and dollar covers.

More than 100 national-caliber exhibits in more than 250 frames will be on display. AmeriStamp is host to the annual Champion of Champions Single Frame Championship as well as the Most Popular Exhibit Championship. Eligible exhibits are drawn from more than 30 annual World Series of Philately shows. AmeriStamp also presents a team competition featuring national-caliber exhibits. In addition, there are multiframe exhibits that will compete for a grand award, with the winner eligible for this summer’s Champion of Champions at StampShow in Columbus, Ohio.

A few of the exhibit titles on show at AmeriStamp (a full list is available online) include “The 10-Cent Prexie, Common Stamp, Uncommon Usages,” “U.S. Army Small Watercraft of World War II,” “The Dagger Issue of Bundi,” and “Vinegar – History and Uses.”

The American Mobile Postal Museum will be on hand with an exhibit presenting artifacts and philately of the U.S. postal service dating back to the 18th century.

The show will offer a show cachet and special cancellations for all three days. On consecutive days, the cancellations will honor the city of Birmingham, black history and the state of Alabama. The APS booth also will offer a selection of books, apparel, and other assorted gifts.

Inverted Jenny, Position 76.
Inverted Jenny, Position 76.

Rarities from the APS – including the Inverted Jenny, a George Washington free frank and the autographed discovery sheet of the Dag Hammarskjöld Inverts.

APS staff members and officers will offer guided exhibit tours Friday and Sunday, and the APS education staff presents an overview for new collectors on Friday and Saturday.

Other presentations scheduled include those reviewing Rowland Hill’s postal reforms of 1837, the works of Scandinavian stamp engraver Martin Mörck, judging international level postal history exhibits, collecting perfins, stratospheric and balloon flights and a look at the Postmark Collectors Club Museum.

The APS youth area, with activities geared toward young collectors, will be open during show hours all three days. Karen Cartier, author of Tales by Mail Book 2, a youth-oriented book, will be on hand all three days to sign and talk about her book.

Cartier will sign books as will Ed Bergen, author of Walt Disney’s First Super Star: Mickey Mouse; and Steve Zwillinger, author of The Path to Gold: 175 Proven Stamp Exhibiting Tips.

The APS general membership meeting is set for 9 a.m. Saturday. An awards banquet is scheduled for Saturday night.

Several societies will meet, have booths, or make presentations during the show. Among those expected to be on hand are representatives of the American Topical Association, Scandinavian Collectors Club, Royal Philatelic Society, Ebony Society Philatelic Events and Reflections, Women Exhibitors, American First Day Cover Society, the Gastronomy on Stamps Study Unit and Penguins on Stamps Study Unit.

The Birmingham Philatelic Society, Alabama’s oldest stamp collecting club, is the local sponsor.

Congratulations to Hugh V. Feldman and the Collectors Club of Chicago

The recently released book, U.S. Contract Mail Routes by Railroad, 1832-1875, received top honors in an international philatelic literature competition.

Auktionshaus Christoph Gaertner announced at MonacoPhil 2017 that the book authored by Hugh V. Feldman, of Great Britain, and published by the Collectors Club of Chicago, received first place in the fifth annual C.G. International Philatelic Promotion Award competition.

CCC club member Leonard Hartmann accepted the award, which included a €2,000 prize, on behalf of the club.

The Collectors Club of Chicago offered the following details:

This book starts with the development of the early railroads in a historical context and then focuses on the establishment, routes the cities and towns served as it relates the philatelic information. The mail contract route information is well organized and includes dates, route numbers, contract agreement and cost per mile.

The basic arrangement of the book is by states accompanied by charts, copies of detailed maps locating town and a detailed list of the stations served on the various mail contracts.

The mail contracts normally have the individual stops and dates thus one may be able to bracket in time when a specific station was in postal use.

The full-color, hardbound book runs 1,096 pages and illustrates 242 covers, 582 maps and 360 other images. A DVD included shows more than 800 covers, many which are not illustrated in the book; annual postmaster general reports; and other reports to Congress between 1817 and 1878. Also included are more than 6,000 images of the manuscript “Railroad Contracts by States.”

“The bonus disk is a boon to postal historical research,” wrote Diane DeBlois in the November issue of “The Chronicle of the U.S. Classic Postal Issues” by the U.S. Philatelic Classics Society. “Although these reports might be sourced otherwise from the internet, to have them all in one place is a gift. … So, bravo to a brave British postal historian for supplying his American counterparts with such a valuable resource.”

In late November, Feldman appeared at Chicagopex 2017 stamp show in Itasca, Illinois, where he gave a presentation based on the book and signed copies.

The competition, open to all organizations and publishers of philatelic periodicals, was founded in 2013 to recognize promotion of philatelic research and the preservation of philatelic knowledge through publication, according to outgoing APS Librarian Tara Murray, as posted in a recent APRL blog.

The Philatelic Literature Review, published by the American Philatelic Research Library, and The American Philatelist, published by the American Philatelic Society, took fourth and 10th places, respectively, in the same competition.

Smithsonian National Postal Museum Holds Holiday Card Workshop

WASHINGTON, DC – The National Postal Museum was bustling with visitors Saturday as the museum held its annual holiday card workshop.

Visitors of all ages attended the event, at which they could design their own holiday greeting cards.

NPM Attendees

As visitors entered the museum atrium, they started by choosing two pieces of cardstock, one large and one small. They then moved to embellish their cards with stickers, twine, and other materials available at the various craft stations. Visitors could sit at the tables in the atrium to assemble their cards with glue, scissors and other materials.

The museum’s Post Office was open for visitors to mail their cards affixed with the museum’s special postmark.

The museum also provided a photo booth for visitors to share their photos on social media using the hashtag #nationalpostalmuseum.

Sponge Bob MailboxIn addition to the card making, visitors had the opportunity to write holiday messages to families at The Children’s Inn, an organization that provides housing and support for families with children receiving care at the National Institutes of Health. Visitors wrote messages on Spongebob-themed postcards and deposited them in a special Spongebob-themed mailbox. Director of Education Matthew White said he saw both parents children deposit postcards.

Referring to the Spongebob postcards, Public Programs Manager Motoko Hioki noted in an email, “The letter writing set up is still there in the museum atrium…if anyone wants to participate in the letter writing, they are welcome to do so at the museum until Thursday, December 14th.”

The Postal Museum holds several public events throughout the year, including another card workshop around Valentine’s Day. Volunteer Coordinator Maggie Sigle said the museum also does letter writing campaigns around Veterans Day for Operation Gratitude, an organization that sends care packages and letters to U.S. troops and first responders.

Hioki, who organizes the museum’s public events, detailed their Wine and Design program, available as a once-a-month happy hour event. At these programs, people can come to the museum after hours and complete various postal-related arts and crafts. The events typically occur once a month.

Hioki was instrumental in starting the Wine and Design program at the museum. “People don’t write letters anymore,” she said. “Encouraging people to write is something important to me.”

The Postal Museum continues to provide educational activities for the general public to learn more about stamps, postal history, and the stamp collecting hobby. It is open seven days a week, from 10:00 am to 5:30 pm.

 by Tasos Kalfas, @TasosKalfasWRGW

All photos courtesy of the Smithsonian Institution National Postal Museum

Nominations Sought for Prestigious Crawford Medal

The prestigious Crawford Medal of The Royal Philatelic Society London will be awarded in 2018 “for the most valuable and original contribution to the study and knowledge of philately published in book form during the relevant period.”

It is open to all authors, whether members of the society or not.

Crawford MedalThe medal, in silver-gilt, features a portrait of the Earl of Crawford, bibliophile extraordinaire, and was instituted in 1914 but not awarded until 1920 owing to World War I.

Nominations are invited of books published in 2016 or 2017 to be considered by the selection committee, who will make a recommendation to Council. Nominations close on February 1.

Brief details should be submitted by e-mail to: or by letter to the Society, 41 Devonshire Place, London WS1G 6JY, in every case using the subject “Crawford Nomination” or marking the envelope in the same way.

The society solicits nominations from as wide a selection of books as possible and would expect to have a copy in the society’s library. If the book is not in the library the nominator will be requested to supply a copy for the committee to consider.

The medal is open to worldwide competition. In the case of joint authorship the Council of the Royal may award a medal to each author, but in the case of books compiled as a result of collaboration on the part of more than two authors, the Council may award a medal to the sponsors or editors of the work instead of to the authors.

Chicagopex Features Three Book Signings, Two Convening Societies

The blockbuster Chicagopex 2017 show will feature nearly 300 frames of competitive exhibits, 75 dealers, a literature competition, two convening societies, book presentations and signings, and more when it meets November 17 to 19 at the Westin Chicago Northwest.

Here is a glimpse of the highlights, submitted by Melanie Rogers, publicity chair.

The annual philatelic exhibition celebrates 131 years of the Chicago Philatelic Society (

Columbian Expo TicketThis year’s show theme is “Celebrating the 525th Anniversary of Columbus’ Sailing.” Special souvenir show cachets and cancellation will be available for all three days of the show. There also will be an exhibit of material from the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition, which took place in Chicago.

There will be 290 frames of philatelic material on display with something of interest for all attendees. This year marks the 51st anniversary of the philatelic literature competition with the books and other materials on display. Chicagopex judges also evaluate electronic literature such as websites, blogs and online articles.

The show bourse will feature 75 dealers from the United States and Europe. They will offer an array of material to interest everyone from the beginning collector to the advanced collector and exhibitor. The U.S. Postal Service and the U.N. Postal Administration will attend.

Two societies will convene: the Society of Israel Philatelists and the British Caribbean Philatelic Study Group. These groups will present special exhibits of stamps and postal history as well as hold meetings open to the public.

The following groups also will meet at the show (all are open to the public):
Chicago Philatelic Society (Saturday)
Germany Philatelic Society Chapter No. 5 (Saturday)
Illinois Postal History Society (Sunday)
• North Shore Philatelic Society (Sunday)

Many of these groups feature expert guest speakers giving talks open to the public. The full schedule will appear in the show program, which will be available at the hospitality desk in the hotel’s atrium. It’s also available at the show website.

There is one book signing each day:

• 1 p.m. November 17 – The Pictorial History of Walt Disney’s First Superstar: Mickey Mouse, Volume One, by Edward Bergen
• 2 p.m. November 18 – U.S. Contract Mail Routes by Railroad (1832-1875), by Hugh V. Feldman
• 11 a.m. November 19 – Holocaust Postal History, by Justin Gordon

Facebook PageCopies of the books will be available for sale. Visit the Chicago Philatelic Society’s Facebook page ( to find specific events and the show program, including specific conference rooms.

The show includes a youth booth with free stamps and supplies.

Attendees are asked to contact the hotel to make reservations and to mention Chicagopex for the special room rate. Admission and parking are free. Show hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday; and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.

Saturday night will feature a catered awards banquet. Tickets must be purchased in advance ($60 each) and dress is business casual. Please see the Chicagopex website for the reservation form. Special diets can be accommodated upon request.