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APS Membership Helps School Collect 11 Million Stamps

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     N otable stamp collector Cardinal Francis Spellman offered this thought in 1950, “Stamps are miniature documents of human history. They are the means by which a country gives sensible expression to its hopes and needs; its beliefs and ideals. They mirror the past and presage the future.” Though Cardinal Spellman passed on years ago, his memory and his collection remain alive and well at the Spellman Museum of Stamps and Postal History in Weston, Massachusetts. The Spellman Museum is a living tribute to our wonderful hobby and well worth the visit if you are ever in the Boston area. For more information about the Spellman Museum, visit spellmanmuseum.org.

     Just 30 miles south of the Spellman is the Foxborough Regional Charter School, home of the Holocaust Stamps Project. In the July issue of The American Philatelist, I wrote about the project and our donation of 500,000 stamps toward its goal of collecting 11 million stamps, representing each victim of the Holocaust. The project embodies the very sentiments Cardinal Spellman uttered nearly 70 years ago.

     Students learn history through stamps and use them to make collages on various aspects of the Holocaust. It is a peer-to-peer teaching project that gives students a chance to not only learn, but teach others. The project began in 2009, and during my visit I had a chance to meet graduating seniors that have been with the project from the very beginning.

     At the time of our donation, the Holocaust Stamps Project needed about 1.5 million more stamps to reach its goal. We asked APS members for help in getting them to that goal this year. Not only did APS members respond, but in just two months from the publication of that article I received word that the Holocaust Stamps Project had collected 11 million stamps and were clipping and storing the last of the needed donations.

     Our members gave as they could from various corners of the country, helping the project’s volunteers remove a few more states off the list. In August, APS member Lee Ann Gardner sent 10,370 stamps from Alaska with a wonderful handwritten note, saying, “As a life-long Alaskan, I needed to see my state represented in your project.” Her donation brought the total states participating to 47 along with donations from 22 countries, like Russia, Iceland, Germany, The Netherlands, Poland, and Brazil.

     Another exciting development in August was a donation of 1 million stamps from Mystic Stamp Company. Elsa Carlson traveled from Foxborough to Mystic’s headquarters in Camden, New York to collect 250 pounds of stamps! Mystic has long been a supporter of youth-education programs, donating stamps for our StampsTeach program and beginner’s albums for the Young Stamp Collectors of America. Mystic Stamps and its president, Don Sundman, also donated the reward for the missing Inverted Jenny stamp recovered in 2016 and is the biggest APS recruiter every year.

     Don was on hand to greet Elsa and personally present the impressive donation. “I think it’s great that postage stamps are being used for such a worthy cause,” Don said, “And it’s especially exciting to see young people getting exposed to stamps and learning about the history and culture that makes collecting such a fun and meaningful hobby.”

     Although the quest to gather stamps is complete, the school will continue similar education programs into the future with a goal to make 18 collages, with the stamps teaching different aspects of the Holocaust. Several of the completed collages are on display at the school, and you can order postcard replicas to support the school’s continuing education programs. For more information on the Holocaust Stamps Project or to purchase the postcards, you can visit the project’s website at: foxboroughrcs.org/students-families/frcs-holocaust-stamp-project/.

     Thanks again to Jamie Droste, the program coordinator and Charlotte Sheer, the program’s founder and volunteer, for allowing us to be a part of this great program. We would also like to thank all the APS members who helped make our donation possible and those who donated directly to the school.

     We would like to know about more great school-based projects that are going on around the country. If you are part of a program or would like help starting one, please contact me at scott@stamps.org.

Welcome Martin Miller

     In October, we welcomed our new editor, Martin Miller to the team. Martin joined the APS in 2008, but has been a collector most of his life.

     His collecting interests include philatelic materials related to the USS North Carolina, the 1934–35 National Parks series, and a single-issue collection of the 1937 West Point commemorative.

     Martin’s professional experience has been impressive, ranging from vice president and general manager of Hell Gravure Systems, North America to global communications manager at Michelin Aircraft Tire Corporation, co-founder of a social media firm and founder and president of a corporate communications firm in his hometown of Greer, South Carolina.

     Given my time in South Carolina, I’ve been asked if I knew Martin and unfortunately, our paths never crossed then. I did have the pleasure of meeting Martin and his wife, Jennifer, at our AmeriStamp Expo in Atlanta, Georgia in 2016. That trip was a birthday gift to Martin from his wife, his first visit to an APS show. That show, as it turns out, had two very positive impacts; we not only got Martin as our editor, but Jennifer became a budding topical collector.

     “Philately has always been the unifying point of my varied interests — art, design, printing and history,” Martin said at the time of our announcement.

     “I’m honored to now have the opportunity to combine my professional experience with the hobby that holds my love and passion.”

     Though we had several great candidates for the job, Martin brought a combination of philatelic knowledge, editing experience, and proven experience in integrating technology as a marketing tool. His timing could not be better as we embark on a website redesign and launch efforts to connect with collectors online.

     This was discussed in my June 2017 column. Our fundraising efforts are coming along well as we have raised more than $130,000 of the $150,000 goal for the project.

     Martin’s first column will appear in our December issue of the journal and you will start to hear firsthand from him about the hobby and where he plans to take the journal in 2018 and beyond.

     I hope you will join me in welcoming Martin as the newest member of the APS family.

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