Pre-Show Learning Event

Essays & Proofs

The purpose of this course is to provide an understanding of the development of United States postage stamps from 1845 - 1893 by the private bank note companies. For each period you will learn about the development of the designs, engravers, and production methods employed to produce the various essays and proofs. While a lecture format will be employed it will be augmented with hands on study of the actual material.

We will look at each of the issues produced by the various bank note companies from 1847 through 1893 when stamp production was assumed by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. It is this 46-year period that produced the classic U.S. postage stamp issues. Our study will also include background on the engravers and the many experiments conducted. Course information available in printable .pdf.

Date: Wed., Aug. 24, 2022 from 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. (lunch on your own)
Location: Sheraton Grand Sacramento Hotel, Sacramento, CA
Cost: $50 for APS Members / $100 for non-members
Registration Deadline: August 12, 2022
Participants to bring: Stamp tongs, magnifier, paper & pen (for note taking)


About the Instructor

James’ passion for essays and proofs began in the fall of 1972 when he responded to a small classified ad in Linn’s Weekly Stamp News. For the next 20 years James corresponded with Falk Finkelburg, the most knowledgeable student in the field at the time. Just as Dr. Clarence Brazer had served as Falk’s mentor, Falk would in turn become Lee’s. James’ collecting interests would become his vocation in June of 1990. He left behind 18 years of building two separate advertising and graphic arts businesses to become a full time professional philatelist.

For the past 30 years his focus has been the study, acquisition, and selling of essays and proofs, postal history, fancy cancels, and philatelic literature. During this portion of his professional life, he has served on the board of directors of the United States Philatelic Classics Society, as president of the American Stamp Dealers Association, and as president of the Midwest Stamp Dealers Association.

Until 2020, James wrote a quarterly column on essays and proofs for Linn’s. He currently serves as a section editor for The Chronicle (quarterly journal of the U.S.P.C.S.), and has written and produced his own quarterly newsletter, James E. Lee’s Philately, for over 23 years.

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