Remember Me

New and Old Friends, and Meeting a Legend

Discussions About Bridging the Hobby World, Youth, and Technology

also available in .pdf format

     In September, I was a guest speaker at the Northern California Numismatic Association’s third annual seminar at the Vallejo Naval and Historical Museum in Vallejo, California, an opportunity for coin collectors to discuss issues in the hobby. The theme of this year’s seminar was “The Future of Hobbies.” Michael S. Turrini, seminar coordinator, is not only a coin collector, but an active stamp collector and 2015 Nicholas G. Carter Volunteer Award winner. Given his unique perspective, Michael hears very similar concerns about the future of both hobbies and thought bringing the two together would allow the respective hobbies to find common ground.
     Joining me for the seminar were Jeff Shevlin, former executive director of the American Numismatic Association; Charmy Parker, a coin dealer, and president of Women in Numismatics, and chair of the ANA’s Dealer Relations Committee; and Steven Woodland, co-chair of the Organizing Committee for the Royal Canadian Numismatic Association National Convention in Ottawa. Steve also joined the APS during the weekend. The panel was an impressive group who came from different arenas of the numismatic world.
      Though there are some differences, the coin collecting world, like us, is wrestling with the health of local shows, clubs, serving the national hobby and keeping it on a sustainable path for years to come. Each of us did a presentation and concluded the day with a question-and-answer session. Individually, we all agreed that technology presented great opportunities to attract and support collectors into the future and both worlds have been slow to adapt. In addition, strengthening the ties between the national organizations and local clubs is absolutely necessary as are increased educational offerings for new collectors (young and not-so-young).
      Through the process, we started thinking through how the two hobbies could work together to blend offerings at shows, in education, and working with young people. One attendee, Scott Griffin, who organizes coin shows in Santa Clara, has offered the APS a booth at the shows to promote stamp collecting. He also joined the APS and wants to continue working to bridge the hobbies.
      The result of the seminar was a new group of allies to help strengthen our hobby and work together to promote the value of hobbies overall. I would like to thank Turrini, along with NCNA President Fred van den Haak, and the two major sponsors of the event, Xan Chamberlain and James Laird, for allowing me to participate in this great event and giving the APS a new stage to promote the hobby. I would also like to thank Ed Jarvis, chairman of the Westpex Committee and his wife, Judy, for doing a great job of representing stamp collectors at the event.

Do You Know the Way to San Jose?
     The following day, I attended a conversation called “Stamp Collecting in the 21st Century” sponsored by the San Jose Stamp Club, of which I am a proud member. The event was a panel discussion with Brian Jones, president of the San Jose Stamp Club, Kristin Patterson, former APS director-at-large and current APRL trustee, and myself. Even for a sunny September Sunday, we had a good crowd on hand to discuss the hobby, participate in an auction and enjoy a little fellowship. The conversation once again highlighted the importance of using technology to engage collectors in the internet age and how to get young collectors more involved.
      One of the attendees, Preston Chiappa, has a great youth program through the Sequoia Stamp Club, which extended a membership to the executive director of the APS. Sometimes getting supplies for young collectors can be a challenge, particularly stamp albums. Thanks to generous donations from our members, we were able to ship 20 slightly used stamp albums to them to share with young collectors. We may have an item or two to help clubs engage young collectors — just let us know — we want to help where we can.
      After the dinner, I was fortunate to spend some time talking a little more in depth about the hobby at the club level with Brian, James Steinwinder, and former SJSC Club President James Sauer. Also joining us, the new editor of the SJSC newsletter and the Lauson H. Stone Fellow for the 2017 Young Philatelic Leaders Fellowship Class, Jessica Rodriguex. The Lauson H. Stone Fellowship is sponsored by Harlan F. Stone and Helen M. Galatan-Stone in memory of his father.
      San Jose’s club has been very effective at growing their membership and they have an incredible base of volunteers to support local club events, like Filiatelic Fiesta. Brian and the rest of the club are not just a stamp club, but almost like family, having cookouts and other social events. Thanks to all of the SJSC members and the attendees for taking time out of their busy schedule to share with us what’s on their minds.

Meeting a Legend: Charles Fricke
     In 2010, the APS established the Charles J. Peterson Philatelic Lifetime Achievement Award to honor two-time Luff Award winner Charles Peterson. The award recognizes a lifetime commitment to research and education. The 2016 Peterson Award recipient is Charles A. Fricke, an APS member since 1954. Charles acquired his first stamp in 1929, a 2-cent stamp featuring George Rogers Clark (Scott 651) — and that stamp is still one of his prized possessions today. He estimates he has written more than 1,000 published articles and 200 articles accepted, but not yet published. His works have appeared in more than 35 philatelic journals and publications and five newspapers.

      Charles has conducted research and authored seminal works on the first postal card issues of the United States, culminating in the publication of his book, 1973 Centennial Handbook of the First Issue United States Postal Card 1873–1875, in two volumes. In 1974, Fricke authored a similar study on the international postal card, The United States International Single Postal Cards of 1879 to 1897–1898, Volume 1: Plating. His impressive body of work earned him the prestigious Luff Award in 1981 for Distinguished Philatelic Research. A picture of Charles signing the Luff scroll is another memory hanging on his wall today.
      On a personal note, Charles served in the U.S Navy receiving training in radar and radio before being deployed to the Pacific in 1945, just a month before the end of the war. He was honorably discharged in 1946 and moved to the private sector. He and his wife of 69 years, Nettie, are the proud parents of three sons. Proof that the apple did not fall far from the tree, their son, David, went on to have a remarkable career as a writer for Rolling Stone magazine.
      Charles was unable to join us in Portland for the awards ceremony. Longtime friend, Alan Warren, a fellow Luff and Peterson Award recipient, read a statement from Charles, which I share here:

"To put it mildly I am overwhelmed at being named at this time the recipient of such a prestigious award.
"It would take a long time to thank everyone who had a part in my hobby of writing articles for the many philatelic publications and journals over the past 50 years.
"However, a special and personal thank you is extended to the editors, both past and present, who labored over the editing of many hundreds of articles, and prepared them for publication. You did a great job!
"So again, Thank You all."

     I was able to visit with Charles and Nettie in suburban Philadelphia, where they reside, to join Alan and APS Director-at-Large Mark Schwartz in presenting Charles with the Peterson Award. Surrounded by pictures and reminders of his two loves: his family and his hobby, Charles shared amazing stories about the hobby, travels, and a life well-lived. He shared that he called every editor he has worked with over the years that is still with us and thanked them personally for their role in his achievements. It speaks volumes about the man and his accomplishments that he would generously share the credit.
      More importantly, Charles was kind enough to provide all of his papers and original manuscripts to the APRL so that researchers and future generations can benefit from the lifetime of work he gave to the hobby. Thank you, Charles.

     Last month’s column included a reference courtesy of Bill Sweitzer to a magazine. The correct title of the magazine is World (https://world.wng.org), which is headquartered in North Carolina.

If you have thoughts you want to share, please feel free to contact me at scott@stamps.org.

check out   continue shopping