My favorite issues of The American Philatelist have one element in common — good old fashioned interviews. Senior Editor Jeff Stage is especially adept at interviews (how could he not be, after decades working as a newspaper reporter?) and has a skill for teasing out great details, as we've seen many times in his interviews with stamp designers in "New U.S. Issues."
In fact, those interviews sparked the concept for this issue on Stamp Designers (and, as it happens, Stamp Engravers). We're curious about the process, the skills, the ideas that have gone into bringing new stamps into the world. And we're able to get those stories, in some cases straight from the source.
In the feature article, author Armağan Özdinç introduces us to Martin Mörck. Mörck is a familiar name for many — he designed and engraved stamps for 28 postal administrations (1,005 different stamp motifs), making him the most prolific stamp designer alive and second most prolific in history after Czesław Słania (1921-2005). Mörck is also attending Great
American Stamp Show in Cleveland (which is still upcoming as I write this, but will be long
over by the time you read it), celebrating his 1,000th stamp issue. I think we can easily consider Mörck one of the last protectors of the art of hand-engraving, which is used less and less
by postal administrations around the world. My favorite part of this article is the detailed,
photo-illustrated description of Mörck’s hand-engraving process.
Next, we welcome back Matthew Healey to write about one of his special interests – the
work of French stamp designer and engraver Pierre Gandon. Gandon was responsible for one
of France’s most recognizable issues, the post-WWII liberated France stamp La Marianne de
Gandon. Matthew shares a sampling of stamps across Gandon’s career – which, personally,
I find to be some of the most beautiful stamps I’ve ever seen – and comments on the wider
themes found in his work.
We were excited to have the chance to “sit down” (by email) with Rachel MacKenzie
and Rebekah Matheson, philatelic managers for Jersey Post. Jersey is a self-governed British
Crown Dependency, clocking in at 9 by 5 miles, yet has an impressive stamp program. We
asked Rachel and Rebekah about Jersey’s philosophy on new stamp issues and designs and
how it reflects Jersey’s culture on its philatelic items.
We also had the opportunity to speak with a pillar of the United States’ modern stamp
program, Ethel Kessler. Kessler is an art director who has collaborated with the USPS on more
than 500 modern issues.
What’s the future of the auction marketplace? We sat down with Tom Droege, who founded
what has become Stamp Auction Network nearly 30 years ago as a single online location where
users can access and bid on auctions. Since then, Tom has made significant innovations via Stamp Auction Network to make the auction market more accessible to buyers. We asked Tom not only how to best use Stamp Auction Network, but his thoughts about what’s next for philately.
Finally, in “The Marketplace,” column Matt Liebson offers straightforward, no-nonsense
advice about using auction houses as a buyer. What are the general rules of thumb? What
can you expect to happen during and after an auction? How does it all work at most auction
houses? He covers it all. As always, if you would like Matt to discuss a specific aspect of the
stamp marketplace, email him at [email protected].