Happy New Year! Goodbye 2016 and Welcome 2017

Goodbye 2016 and Welcome 2017! The year 2016 was a very special year for the American Philatelic Society. Two blockbuster events occurred, one expected and one not.

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

The unexpected was the discovery and successful return in June of an Inverted Jenny airmail stamp (Scott C3a). The stamp, known as Position 76 for its location in an original 1918 sheet of 100, is one of four once owned by Ethel McCoy and stolen in 1955. Though two others had previously been located and another is still missing, it was a pleasure for this stamp to return to the American Philatelic Research Library, which received the rights to the stolen stamps via McCoy’s will.

American Philatelic Research Library.
American Philatelic Research Library.

The expected event was years in the planning and creating. The new 9,000-square-foot American Philatelic Research Library opened at the American Philatelic Center in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania. A grand opening for the state-of-the-art facility was held in October.

The APS, celebrating its 130th anniversary, again sponsored two major shows and conventions — the AmeriStamp Expo in Atlanta and StampShow in Portland, Oregon. In addition, the APS played a major role and held a prominent presence at World Stamp Show-NY 2016, the international show held in the United States every 10 years.

The APS and APRL also held elections, currently set for every three years. The APS elected Mick Zais as its new president and both groups elected new boards of directors. The society, under Executive Director Scott English’s leadership, passed a new five-year strategic plan, hosted a Summit on the Future of Philately, and published its seventh edition of the APS Manual of Philatelic Judging and Exhibiting.

We can only hope that 2017 is even half as fruitful!

And, for fun, here’s a philatelic look at a few past new years (click images to see the full view):

Vintage New Year greetings cards from the New York City Postmaster and Staff send to “Their Colleagues in the Universal Postal Union.”

Japan’s biggest holiday is Shogatsu, “new year.” Although Japan, like many Asian cultures, links itself strongly to the Lunar New Year, Japan celebrates the new year on the same date as the Western world, on January 1.

A Japanese tradition is to send new year cards, called nengajo, to friends, colleagues, and family. Japan Post works hard to deliver ALL the cards (more than 3 billion a year) on the SAME day: January 1. In conjunction with the holiday, Japan Post has consistently issued new year stamps, which for many years also are linked to a national lottery. Here is a sample of modern Japanese new year stamps.

Philatelically minded individuals and groups over the years have created New Year’s covers over the years. Here’s a 1934 addressed cover from Beecher, Illinois; a 1937 cover from Happy, Kentucky, and an unaddressed cacheted cover postmarked on the last day of 1999 and the first day of 2000 from Syracuse, New York. The 2000 postmark strikes the new Millennium New Year stamp.

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