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National Stamp Collecting Month Almost Here

There are Many Ways to Spread the Word; Some To Even Share All-Year Long

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     S ince 1981, we have celebrated October as National Stamp Collecting Month to promote the hobby among collectors and non-collectors. Through the years, we have collected many great ideas to introduce the hobby to friends, family, and our communities across the country. You can find those activities on the American Philatelic Society website at: stamps.org/stamp-collecting-month.

     We encourage all American Philatelic Society members and clubs to take this opportunity to reach out to at least one person and share the joys of stamp collecting with them. Many APS clubs have a table at a public event nearby, promote stamp collecting at a local library, or invite members of the community to attend an event by placing copies of The American Philatelist in public places, like doctors’ offices or the DMV. If you are participating in Stamp Collecting Month, please share your story and photos with me at scott@stamps.org.

     October is not the only month that APS members will share stamp collecting. Our Education Department provides excellent resources for parents, grandparents, and volunteers to teach young people about stamp collecting. Members often write to thank me for the support they receive from Cathy Brachbill and Janet Houser in the Education Department and share how they used our material.

     I met Tom and Gail Auletta at Garfield-Perry’s March Party (Cleveland) earlier this year. They were planning to visit their grandson’s classroom and talk about stamp collecting. Since Tom is an APS member-dealer and owner of Azusa Collectibles, they had plenty of stamps, but asked for school-age materials they could share. We put together a package, and by all accounts, Tom’s presentation was a hit. Since Tom also is president of the Federation of New York Philatelic Societies, he was able to share his experience in the July/August 2017 issue of Stamp Insider. After the presentation, the class sent notes to Tom and Gail and we have a few new potential stamp collectors.

     I met Rick Kinner in 2016 when he invited me to speak at the annual banquet for the Outer Banks Stamp Club. This year, Rick had the opportunity to volunteer at Waters Edge Village School, a charter school in Corolla, North Carolina. He contacted Cathy, who walked him through the wealth of resources on our website to help Rick get started. She and Janet then pulled together two DVDs with short videos on stamp collecting and slides with age-appropriate information on stamp collecting. The results have been rewarding: four children started collections through the support of a family member; teachers have set up stamp stations in classrooms and students are able to get a stamp as a reward for good work; even better, teachers are using stamps as part of the homework assignments now.

     Thank you to Tom and Rick for sharing your stories with us! If you or your stamp club are planning stamp outreach, please go to our website or contact the great education team at education@stamps.org. I would like to also thank Cathy and Janet for all the hard work they do. They work tirelessly to help promote stamp collecting for collectors of all ages.

38th Annual Summer Seminar a Hit

     Every June, APS members come to Bellefonte for our week-long Summer Seminar on Philately, a series of two- and four-day long seminars plus electives with incredibly knowledgeable instructors. For those who attend, they will tell you it’s more than just a classroom, but an annual get-together of friends. This year, we had one of our largest groups ever with 76 students, 24 joining for the first time.

     Aside from classes, participants and their non-collecting spouses were able to participate in Beer, Bowling, and Billiards Night, an exciting philatelic auction, and buy/swap/sell night. We also held an end-of-the-week dinner for our graduates. Mary-Anne Penner, director of Stamp Services at the U.S. Postal Service joined us for the second straight year to share insight into USPS new issues and stamp services. Trish Kaufmann, the APS 2017 Distinguished Philatelist, spoke at the dinner, sharing stories of her life in philately.

     That’s not all. APS members shopped in Circuit Sales and the Stamp and Cover Shop, staffed by our wonderful volunteers and led by Richard Nakles. Not only is Summer Seminar a great week for the members, but the APS staff enjoys showing off the headquarters and all the things we do. The economic impact of having Summer Seminar this year led to an astounding $27,000 in sales and donations during the week they were in town. Thanks to our students and instructors for their support.

     We are already planning next year’s event, which will be held from June 24 to 29. You can check for updates at stamps.org/summer-seminar. The APS Distinguished Philatelist will be Randy Neil, winner of the 2017 Charles J. Peterson Philatelic Literature Life Achievement Award. Randy is one of the busiest editors in philately and for those of you who write or edit, this will be a “can’t miss” event. We’ll also have other courses and instructors, along with a fun group of regulars. We hope to see you there.

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