Meet Krystal Harter
Erin: What is your job title and what do you do at the American Philatelic Society?
Krystal: I'm currently the Expertizing Coordinator and Library Assistant.
How long have you worked for the APS?
I've been with the APS for almost 40 years.
What is something that has changed here since you started 40 years ago?
Oh my, what hasn't changed. My biggest change has been that I no longer have to do everything manually. I would handwrite entries into a log book to keep track of all submissions; physically type on a typewriter - using triplicate form copy paper - the lists of items that were being sent to each committee member for review; take photographs, using a 35mm camera, of each item submitted; take the film to Walmart to be developed; then after picking up the photos, use a paper cutter to cut down the two photos of each item and tape them, using double-stick tape, onto the each certificate and APS record.
What are the best part or fun parts of your job?
I most enjoy my interactions with the clients and the Expert Committee members while items are going through the expertizing process. Assisting in determining if stamps they have are genuine, forged and/or misidentified is rewarding. While it is not a regular occurrence, I truly enjoy representing the APS at stamp shows, which allows me to physically meet some of our clients and many of our experts whom I haven’t already met. To put a face with a name is always a good thing.
While working in the library, I most enjoy assisting clients in finding and obtaining any research and/or reference material to further their knowledge of the subjects that most interest them. I also enjoy being a part of events hosted at the APC, which bring in many collectors beaming with enthusiasm for the hobby.
Can you share a fond memory about your previous supervisor, Mercer Bristow?
I wouldn't even know where to begin with Mercer as he and I worked side by side for over 30 years as "work husband & wife." The one funny thing he did say to me at one point was because he had to listen to me nagging and complaining at work, that was reason enough to not get married and have to endure the same thing from a wife at home. (Laughs)
Is there one resource on the website you’d like to highlight for members that is connected to your job?
One valuable resource on the website is our Dealer Directory. When clients have more than just a few items they are wondering about, it is a good starting point to reach out to a dealer located close to them for advice on whether or not any of their items warrant the formal expertizing process. This directory allows them to search for local dealers to contact who are recognized, reputable dealer members of the APS.
The Philatelic Union Catalog is a truly amazing search engine for reference material. I do recommend that people use the “Advanced Search Options” feature, which allows searching from more variables.
Are you a stamp collector? If so, what do you like to collect?
No, after almost 40 years, the philatelic bug has not bitten me. However, I believe this is due to the fact that every single day I am physically handling clients’ stamps, which allows me access to a amazingly vast variety of philatelic material.
What is a fun fact about you that you’d like to share with our members?
Most fellow employees and collectors to whom I am well known will argue the fact that I am truly shy, timid and a little backwards. HOWEVER, once I get to know someone and feel comfortable around them, look out – everything is a go and I hold nothing back!
Tell me something you enjoy about APS/APRL members? Or a memory you have with a member?
I enjoy most the events at APC that enable me to reconnect with both members whom I’ve met before and new members visiting and/or meeting for the first time. Over the years I have formed many friendships with both clients and Expert Committee members.
Serving the APS membership for nearly 40 years has been a privilege.
How have you transitioned to working from home? What have you been doing since you’ve been working from home?
Since working remotely is not an easy task within the Expertizing department, being that it is entirely a hands-on service, my main priority is to retrieve phone messages along with emails and respond to them as best I can. It is also very important that I assure our clients and committee members that while our processes may currently be at a stand-still, all items in our care are safe and protected and that we ask for their patience and understanding during this difficult time. (Editor's note: At the time of this interview, the American Philatelic Center was closed and the Expertizing department's operations were shut down. The Expertizing department and APRL are now open and taking new clients.)
Remote library work has been very plentiful. First and foremost, answering any correspondence received is my top priority. I’ve been capturing all updates, happenings and other correspondence posted on our website, social media, etc. and downloading it all onto webrecorder so that we have archive files for everything during this pandemic. Another task I’m working on is archiving articles from our digital journals so that they can be added to the library catalog to aid in searching for particular topics. Also, I am working on checking in new incoming philatelic periodicals, preparing them for our members to access.
Is there anything else you’d like to share about your job/APS to members?
Serving the APS membership for nearly 40 years has been a privilege. The APS is a wonderful, amazing place to work and I am very fortunate to have spent the biggest part of my life doing so.
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Krystal in the Expertizing office during Summer Seminar 2019.
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Krystal and Irv joking around.
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Krystal and Richard in the Stamp and Cover Shop.
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Krystal used to spend a lot of time traveling to stamp shows around the country.
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Krystal mans the library front desk during the 2017 Summer Seminar.
When we announced the closure of the American Philatelic Center, members reached out with words of encouragement for the staff in appreciation for all they do. One member wrote, “Please tell them the APS Cares!” APS Cares is something that was born out of one member sharing their hope that staff is supported during this time. We thank them along with many others who have reached out and contributed with their kindness.
What is APS Cares? With our closure, certain services have been suspended, and with that, revenue for the Society. We cannot fully operate programs, like Expertizing, Circuit Sales, StampStore, or the library, but we are doing all we can until the doors open again. When the time comes, we want to be fully prepared to get you back to enjoying every service the APS has to offer as quickly as possible. APS Cares is a fund to allow us to keep our staff working and serving you, from the safety of their homes. APS Cares will go directly to support APS staff salaries or, if we’re able, to reward them at the end of the year for their hard work.
With this hope and support from APS Cares, our staff will be able to continue to bring joy and a place to unwind within in the world of philately. From your extended family at the American Philatelic Society, we offer our appreciation to you for staying connected with us.
If you would like to support APS Cares, you can send a check to:
American Philatelic Society
100 Match Factory Place
Bellefonte, PA 16823
c/o APS Cares
Or Support the APS Staff Online:
Please select APS Cares in the Gift Designation.