08/16/2013 (P1730)
Contact: Ken Martin

Kramer, Groten & Nakles 2013 Luff Honorees

Nakles, Kramer and Groten

The Luff Awards are the highest awards given by the American Philatelic Society. Established in 1940 in honor of prominent American philatelist John N. Luff, APS President from 1907 to 1909, the awards are presented each year at APS StampShow for meritorious contributions by living philatelists.

George Jay Kramer, Dr.Arthur H. Groten, and Richard S. Nakles have been chosen to receive the 2013 John N. Luff Awards. The recipients were honored at the 2013 StampShow Awards Banquet on Saturday, August 11, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

George Jay Kramer (Clifton, New Jersey) has been selected as the recipient of the 2013 Luff Award for Exceptional Contributions to Philately.

George is exceptional in that he is both effective in what he does but is also laid back in doing it. He became a Trustee for the Philatelic Foundation in 1988. From 2003–2011, he served as Chairman of the Philatelic Foundation and is still on its board as Chairman Emeritus. He served as a U.S. Commissioner for four overseas exhibitions as well as Washington 2006. He has been an APS accredited judge for twenty-seven years and has served on many other committees including the APS Finance Committee, but does not seek the limelight for any of these accomplishments.

He has also been a generous donor to the American Philatelic Society, National Postal Museum, and the Philatelic Foundation. His $100,000 gift to name the George & Carole Kramer Gallery at the American Philatelic Center is one of the largest gifts to the APS by a living member.

George believes in sharing his knowledge through publishing and through the creation of educational and entertaining exhibits. He authored United States Telegraph Stamps and Franks (1992) and co-authored The Pony Express: A Postal History (2005). He also has been published in Opinions VI, the USPCS Chronicle, and The American Philatelist.

He has competed in the APS Champion of Champions competition nine different years with six different exhibits, and is the only individual to have won it three times (and in three different decades). He received the Grand Prix National at Pacific 97 and was nominated for the Grand Prix International at two other FIP exhibitions.

George signed the Roll of Distinguished Philatelists in 2005 and was recognized with the Distinguished Philatelist Award of the U.S. Philatelic Classics Society in 1999 and the Mortimer L. Neinken Medal of the Philatelic Foundation in 2007. In addition, he won the One-Frame Grand in 1995, the Grand Prix in Australia in 2005, the Marcus White Grand for his “Wells Fargo” exhibit, and a host of other honors.

Dr. Arthur H. Groten (Poughkeepsie, New York) has been selected as the recipient of the 2013 Luff Award for Distinguished Philatelic Research.

Art exemplifies the best kind of researcher in any field. He is indefatigable and thorough in his search for knowledge. Further, he is uncommonly generous in sharing his findings, welcoming new information, and collaborating with other researchers. Art is intrigued by an unanswered question or by a type of artifact. He then collects avidly and broadly until he feels he has a center of mass. He searches everywhere for information that could bear on the project, then he narrows the scope until there is a conclusion in sight. He refines his research towards broadcasting the finding: in a major exhibit, an article or series of articles, a handbook or monograph.

Art has been especially attracted to the “borders” of philately and postal history — areas that move collecting into pioneer territory. He was intrigued by poster stamps, and so helped start a new collectors’ group, organizing it as an APS affiliate. He became active in the Ephemera Society, is its immediate past-president, and steered it to become an APS affiliate.

However, he also has done a tremendous amount of original research within the more traditional boundaries of the hobby, especially in the area of Palestine and Israel. He published the first monograph on the postmarks of Mandate Tel Aviv and the first study of the internal and external rates of Mandate Palestine. Using primary source material, his study of routes to, from, and through Palestine resulted in the first non-classical Palestine exhibit to win a Grand award in national competition. He brought to light new information about the workings of taxi mail in the Holy Land, expanded the information on the trans-desert mail route from Baghdad to Haifa, and authored the first monograph about the Levant Fairs held during the Palestine Mandate.

Other original research by Art includes the plating of the 1859 issue of Canada; the first study of St. Helena postage rates, and first analysis of censorship of Napoleon’s mail on St. Helena; and the first in-depth study of the U.S. permit imprint system.

Art has had research pamphlets and books published by the Society of Israel Philatelists, the British North American Philatelic Society, and Postilion Publications. He also served as general editor for four Postilion Publications written by others.

His articles have been published in at least a dozen publications. He has had three articles published in The American Philatelist and the American Philatelic Congress Book. He is a columnist or regular writer for American Stamp Dealer and Collector (since its beginning), Journal of the Poster Stamp Collectors Club (from founding in 2006), The Philatelic Exhibitor (columnist for ten years), Postal Label Collectors Club Bulletin (from founding in 2008), and Topical Time (for fifteen years). Some of his earliest writing was for a five-year series on the plating of the 5-cent Beaver and 10-cent Consort in the British North America Philatelic Society Topics from 1975–1980. He also has been published in the Air Post Journal, receiving the Gatchell Award for best article; the Collectors Club Philatelist; the Ephemera Journal and Ephemera News.

For his multi-frame exhibits Art has received three Large Vermeils at the international level and three Grand awards and four Reserve Grand awards at the national level. His single-frame exhibits have reached the Reserve Grand and Platinum level.

He has served as president of three APS affiliates: the Ephemera Society of America, the Poster Stamp Collectors Club, and the Postal Label Study Group. He is a life member of the APS and the Society of Israel Philatelists and a Fellow of the Royal Philatelic Society, London.

Art believes passionately in the salutary effects of involvement in our hobby; philately is fortunate that he chose it.

Richard S. Nakles (State College, Pennsylvania) has been selected as the recipient of the 2013 Luff Award for Outstanding Service to the APS.

Richard has been a volunteer for the APS since April 2005, assisting the Education Department, the Library, and donation processing. It is not unusual for him to provide sixty or more hours of volunteer time per week.

He did the bulk of work of labeling and rearranging the Library book collection from an author-based organization to a modified Library of Congress geographic-based organization. Beginning in 2007 he has processed approximately 500 in-kind donations of philatelic material per year. He logs donations in then sorts through them — directing appropriate material to Education/Youth, the Reference Collection, the Library, and organizing the balance for sale. The stamp and cover sales area he created has generated $350,000 for the Society during this time.

He studies the donated material meticulously, leading to at least two discovery copies of items. He also has developed a cadre of volunteers whom he manages.

He has invested personal funds in purchasing equipment and furnishings for the donations sales area and personally pays for ads in The American Philatelist encouraging members to donate material to the Society and extending an invitation to visit and shop at the APC.

As a nearly “full time” in-house volunteer, he often fills the roll of “ambassador” for the APS when staff are not available to assist visiting members. He will help visitors find just what they are looking for within the little shop that sells in-kind donations. He will cheerfully point visitors in the direction of a good restaurant, a nearby shop, a meeting room, or the sales division.

Richard provides the highest quality of member service and an immense amount of behind-the-scenes hard work that benefits every member of the APS.


A list of previous honorees is available on the APS website at www.stamps.org/Awards.

Nominations for deserving candidates may be made to the Luff Awards Committee, which submits its recommendations to the Society’s Board of Directors during the APS Spring Meeting. Awards are conferred each summer at StampShow, the Society’s annual convention and exhibition.

All nominations must be submitted to the Luff Award Committee in writing using an official nomination form. Nominations are active for five years. Nomination forms are available online at www.stamps.org/Awards in downloadable pdf format. You also may obtain a form by writing to: Luff Award Committee, 100 Match Factory Place, Bellefonte, PA 16823.