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Summer Seminar

Summer Seminar on Philately is a once-a-year opportunity to expand your philatelic knowledge and meet others who share your passion and interests. All courses are led by philatelic experts who are accomplished writers, exhibitors, experts, dealers, and specialized collectors.


June 21-25, 2020


Early Bird Registration runs until March 31st.

Questions or Comments?:

Call: 814-933-3810 or Email:

A die proof, created by the National Bank Note Co. of New York City in 1861. The die number, “443,” was assigned to this die for identification purposes.

Essays & Proofs

A 2-Day Course Presented by James E. Lee

Wednesday, June 24 – Thursday, June 25, 2020

Many collectors ask, “Where do essays and proofs come from?” Do you know?

Course Description:

The release and availability of essays and proofs from the portfolios, files, and archives of artists, bank note companies, and the Post Office Department provide the material for compelling and interesting stories. During this two-day course, journey through the history of essays and proofs and experience the evolution of the various series of postage stamps issued between 1847 and 1893.
Learn about the development of the designs, engravers, and production methods employed to produce these beautiful artifacts of the stamp production process. Differentiate between an essay and a proof. Distinguish among the many differing forms of proofs. Enjoy the stories that help to explain where essays and proofs actually come from.

Intended Audience:

Collectors interested in the development of U.S. postage stamps from 1845 – 1893 by private bank note companies.

Meet the Instructor

James E. Lee

Jim’s 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, Jim 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 Lees’. This collecting interest became Jim’s vocation in June, 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, Lee’s focus has been the study, acquisition, and selling of essays and proofs, postal history, fancy cancels, and philatelic literature. Jim 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.
Currently Jim writes a quarterly column on essays and proofs for Linn’s and serves as a section editor for The Chronicle (quarterly journal of the U.S.P.C.S.). For over 22 years, Jim has written and produced his own quarterly newsletter, James E. Lee’s Philately.

There are 4 spaces left in this course

Course Listing

4-Day Courses Monday-Thursday (June 22-25)

Important Information

Distinguished Philatelist

Distinguished Philatelist Dennis Gilson

The Summer Seminar Distinguished Philatelist award recognizes an individual who has demonstrated dedication, leadership, and commitment to the hobby. 

Dennis has been a member of the American Philatelic Society since January 1977 and received the 2016 Luff Award and the Century Award Plaque. He is a member of the APEX Expert committee, volunteers regularly at the APC and is an esteemed Summer Seminar Instructor.

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