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Stamps on the World Stage

The Return From World Stamp Show-NY 2016

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     As of this writing, the APS team has just returned from World Stamp Show-NY 2016. Overall, the show was a great display for stamp collectors on the world stage. There were many great opportunities to see rare stamps, visit with old friends and make some new ones, learn more about different philatelic societies, and build on your collection. Thanks to the WSS-NY 2016 organizing committee and the hundreds of volunteers who welcomed collectors from all parts of the world and made this a memorable event. It is hard to capture the energy and enthusiasm we experienced during the show, but we encourage readers to visit the Facebook and Twitter pages for WSS-NY 2016 and the APS.

      There are quite a few people to thank:

Rick Banks, Jay Bigalke, Cathy Brachbill, Mercer Bristow, Bill Dixon, Krystal Harter, Barb Johnson, Tom Horn, Wendy Masorti, Tara Murray, Jeff Stage, and Tracy Young for representing the APS and serving our members at the big show in New York.

Our staff that stayed in Bellefonte worked hard to keep the APS going and welcomed members who stopped by on their way to and from New York.

Chris Calle, a member of the APS family and familiar face at the APS booth during all of our shows. He not only delivers great artwork as a draw to our booth, but pitches in wherever he is needed.

Sandy Rose, Marketing Coordinator for our newest partner, the USPS Federal Credit Union, who was a great help over the Memorial Day weekend promoting our partnership and assisting APS members. It’s great to have them on the team.

The American Stamp Dealers Association who shared a booth with us at the show. It was a bit of an APS reunion having former editor Barb Boal at the ASDA booth working side-by-side with the APS staff. We have a great partnership going and we’re going to keep building on it.

A special thank you to Ken Martin, Megan Orient, of the APS, and Dana Guyer, from the American Stamp Dealers Association, who were integral in making sure the show operations went smoothly before, during and after the show. These three worked tirelessly to make sure all those great memories of the show were possible.

Other notable memories from the show held at the Jacob Javits Convention Center in New York City:

The U.S. Postal Service offered something for all collectors at the show. It released seven new issues, with first-day-of-issue ceremonies nearly every day, including the Classics Forever, the National Parks Centennial, and a special Memorial Day four-stamp set titled “Honoring Extraordinary Heroism: The Service Cross Medals.

The USPS also introduced a new “USPS StampApp,” a comprehensive app for U.S. stamps dating all the way back to postmasters provisionals of 1845. We appreciate them leading the way on new technologies for stamp collectors.

Patrick Maselis, President of the Club de Monte Carlo, who shared wonderful stories about his philatelic adventures abroad with the 270 guests at our Tiffany Dinner held during the second evening of the show.

The APS members at the show. We were greeted by members from as close as New York City and as far away as Pakistan and many points in between. Thanks to them, we were able to sign up 88 new members and bring many APS products to show attendees. Not to mention they shared much good cheer with the hardworking staff.

Robert A. Siegel Auction Galleries’ sale of Inverted Jenny Position Number 95. To promote the show and the sale, the auction house brought a Jenny biplane to the Javits Center for visitors to see in person. This beautiful stamp sold for a record-setting $1.3 million and was a great promotion for the show.

The best of the best in exhibiting. Hundreds of philatelists from around the world brought exhibits for the finest competition in a decade. Congratulations to all those who received awards, including top honors to: Grand Prix d’Honneur: Alvaro Castro-Harrigan (Costa Rica) for his exhibit titled “Panama: First Issues as a State of Colombia and their forerunners;” Grand Prix International: Wei Gang (China) for “China: The Postal History of Mongolia 1841–1921;” and Grand Prix National: Gordon Eubanks (United States) with his exhibit “The U.S. Imperforate Issues of 1851–1856 and Their Importance in an Expanding Postal System.” Gordon, of course, is a longtime APS member.


The Grand Prix National award, a crystal bowl, was provided by the American Philatelic Society. Longtime APS member Keith Stuppell generously donated the award on our behalf and we are grateful for his support.

One Historic Memory…
      Adding more excitement to an otherwise memorable show, the stamp world read the next chapter in the famed McCoy Inverted Jenny block story. In the June issue of The American Philatelist, author Ken Lawrence masterfully brings members up to date on finding the missing Inverted Jenny Position 76 stamp of the McCoy block. At the time of that article, the finder, Keelin O’Neill of Ireland, had requested anonymity so his name was not yet public.
     Fast forward to the first day of WSS-NY 2016. Keelin visited and witnessed firsthand the spirit and the enthusiasm of the show and the community. He agreed to sit down with Linn’s Stamp News and share how his grandfather, a collector of things that “caught his fancy” and not necessarily stamps, likely purchased the stamp at a “car boot” sale in Ireland. He gave a box of items to Keelin toward the end of his life, which included an envelope with the missing stamp inside. Keelin kept the box for two years before discovering the stamp. The rest, as they say, is history.
     The stamp had been modified so that it would be difficult to identify to the naked eye. With credit to the expertise at the Philatelic Foundation, we were able to contact the FBI and begin the process of recovering the stamp. Thanks to the dedicated team at the FBI, in particular Agent Meridith Savona and Assistant U.S. Attorney Alex Wilson of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, we were able to work with Keelin for an expedited voluntary relinquishment of the stamp. This agreement paved the way for the stamp to be safely returned to the American Philatelic Research Library.
     On Thursday, June 2, we held a press conference at the Javits Center. APRL President Roger Brody and I were joined by U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Preet Bharara, Diego Rodriguez, Assistant Director in Charge of the New York Office of the FBI, Larry Lyons, Executive Director of the Philatelic Foundation, Donald Sundman, President of Mystic Stamp Company, and Keelin O’Neill. Thanks to the all-star lineup of this event, media from around the world and hundreds in attendance at the show were able to see the stamp returned to its rightful owner 61 years after it was stolen. This story gave stamp collecting a platform it has not had in quite some time. We owe a debt of gratitude to Roger Brody and the APRL Board for reopening this cold case after so many years and Don Sundman, whose generous reward made this truly historic event possible.
     During the press conference, Don graciously agreed to extend the reward for the last remaining stamp in the missing block, Position 66 through the rest of 2016. The reward was set to expire at the end of WSS-NY 2016. So make sure you encourage everyone you know to pull out their old stamp collection and sort through it. Best case scenario, they may have a stamp worth $50,000.
     Worst case scenario, they may rekindle that stamp collecting passion all over again. To me, that is the very definition of a win-win!

     As always, thanks to the members who provided insight and support through phone calls, letters, and e-mails. It is my honor to be a part of such a great community. If there is ever anything we can do, please feel free to contact me at scott@stamps.org..

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