This winter, APS Development Assistant Erin Seamans spoke with Ian Hunter about the Young Philatelic Leaders Fellowship program, a scholarship program run by the American Philatelic Society.
YPLF supports young philatelists, offers them unique opportunities to attend stamp shows across the country, and connects them with experienced mentors in the philatelic world.
Ian is a YPLF alumnus.
Erin: Ian, what are you studying in college?
Ian: I am working towards a double major in Entrepreneurship and Marketing and minoring in MIS at Bradley University I'm also Program Manager at Bradley University’s Turner Center for Entrepreneurship.
Erin: Why did you choose to apply for YPLF and what did you expect to accomplish?
Ian: I chose to apply for the YPLF program because up until that time, my only exposure to other stamp collectors was through online forums and the occasional small stamp show in our area. I knew that if I were accepted into the YPLF program, I would not only get to meet and learn from philatelic experts, but I would also meet other young collectors like myself.
Ruhit and Ian attend a soiree for Campaign for Philately at StampShow 2019.
Prior to joining the YPLF, I started selling stamps on eBay and found that I really enjoyed being a stamp dealer. I knew when I applied for the YPLF program that I wanted to follow the dealer track and learn from an experienced mentor.
Erin: What did you learn about philately through YPLF?
Ian: The biggest thing I learned was that philately is a much broader field than I had thought. I was exposed to so many different people who each had unique interests. I was surprised by the sophistication of every individual field of study, and by the sheer amount of information that’s out there for every niche subject within philately.
Erin: Can you recall a moment or memory from your time as a Fellow that was significant in your learning process?
Ian: My trip to visit the National Postal Museum in Washington DC is one of the memories that really stands out. There, I got to use the VSC 6000 to analyze the color of my stamps in a level of detail I never realized was possible.
Erin: In what ways have you been involved in the philatelic community since graduating from YPLF?
Ian: I try to make it to the major APS stamp shows to keep myself involved in the philatelic community and to meet the new class of YPLF fellows.
Ruhit and Ian sort through stamps at Summer Seminar 2019.
Erin: What did you learn during your time as a Fellow that serves your involvement in the hobby today?
Ian: Being immersed in the philatelic community at shows taught me a lot about communication and talking with customers. Staffing the YPLF booth proved to be a really valuable experience, not only because I learned about managing stock and dealing with customers, but also because I ended up having a booth at a local stamp show soon after my involvement with the YPLF.
While following the dealer track, I learned how to create a business and marketing plan, which I have since done several times now in college. This experience was useful for my stamp collecting website as well as for the businesses unrelated to philately I have started over the last few years.
Erin: How has your time as a Fellow informed your work in web design?
Ian: Part of my job includes regularly communicating with clients, and another part of it is understanding client businesses well enough to create an effective website. My time as a Fellow strengthened both of these areas.
I learned about verbal and written communication during my year in the YPLF program, through talking with customers and completing the assignments for the dealer track. One of the assignments was to create a business and marketing plan for my stamp collecting website. Doing so taught me a lot about business which has been very beneficial when it comes to dealing with a variety of local business clients.
Erin: What are your long-term goals in philately?
Ian: My long-term goals are a bit abstract at the moment. Mainly I’d like to help collectors become more informed about their collection, so they don’t waste time and money on fakes or faulty stamps that won’t retain value. In terms of my own collection, I think it would be neat to have a complete collection of the US Washington/Franklin series.
Erin: What would you say to someone considering joining YPLF?
Ian: Do it. The experience of visiting shows all around the country, manning the YPLF booth, and getting mentorship from an expert in the field of your interest is beyond valuable. And it’s not all about stamps. Opportunities will come up that you never would have expected. You’ll meet many fascinating – and possibly famous – people. You’ll start real-life friendships with many fellow stamp-lovers and meet other people your age who actually know what philately is. It will be a year full of experiences you’ll never forget.
Are you wondering if you or someone you know should apply for the Young Philatelic Leaders Fellowship Program?
Check out the exciting perks of being a Fellow!
- Receive a one-year APS membership
- Choose an area of interest: Author, Curator, Dealer, Designer, Exhibitor & Analyst, or
Learn from an adult mentor
- Attend the Great American Stamp Show and Spring Meeting
- Attend Summer Seminar on Philately at the American Philatelic Center
- Interact with stamp collectors from around the United States