This winter, APS Development Assistant Erin Seamans spoke with Eric Jackson 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.
Eric is a seasoned stamp dealer, specializing in revenue stamps.
Erin: What led you become a YPLF mentor for the first time?
Eric Jackson: Director of Education and YPLF coordinator Cathy Brachbill called me and needed someone to step in as a mentor. Truth Mueller was my mentee and his focus in the program was stamp dealers. I've been a dealer for forty some years now.
Erin: So you shared a little bit that you have experience in dealing and so can you share more about the expertise that you have or knowledge that you brought as a mentor to the program?
Eric Jackson: I specialized in U.S. revenue stamps. The business aspects, the philatelic knowledge you need to be successful, how to go about doing things when dealing stamps and relationship building.
Erin: I didn't realize until I started working at APS that there are so many little nuances to each track of the fellowship and how it carries over to careers in philately. What is one of your favorite results of the fellowship either with your mentee or other fellows that you interacted with?
Eric Jackson: The one that I most connected with was Charles Epting, because I see him quite a bit with H.R. Harmer. Just the success he has had and a lot of it has to do with his participation in YPLF. David McKinney is also a very impressive young man. He is very busy with his army career right now but I think that we will see him more involved with stamp collecting again.
Erin: What age did you start stamp collecting and was there someone that mentored you?
Eric Jackson: I was seven years old when I got started and it was in 1962, because that's the year they issued the Christmas stamp and it was in the news which got my attention. So I started paying attention to stamps and I never stopped. My mom and dad helped, my dad had an old collection from when he was a kid and gave it to me. I started selling when I was 14 or 15 years old on my own. I started selling them through the mail and that's how it all got started.
Erin: What do you wish that everyone knew about YPLF?
Eric Jackson: What a success it has been. People say that young people don't collect stamps and I just think that it's such a misguided statement. I know the opinion that people are born with the collecting gene or not, and there are people that are going to collect or people that are going to collect. Whether it is rocks, baseball cards, antiques or postcards those who have that gene are going to collect something, and if we have it our way it should be stamps. If they want something that is sophisticated, it's stamps. If you want something well suited to the internet, there's nothing better than stamps because they are so easily portrayed. You can scan easily, and put them up on the internet. The funny thing is that people that do collect rarely collect just one thing so they usually have their hands in a lot of different hobbies.
Erin: I like how you mentioned earlier that many individuals think that there are not a lot of young people collecting and so I think this opportunity to mentor through the YPLF program is a great bridge to this thought that many collectors are having. How would you encourage others who are thinking this way to get involved with mentoring or share about this aspect of YPLF?
Eric Jackson: YPLF takes some young people who have an interest in stamp collecting and advances them at a faster rate than they normally would in the hobby. YPLF gives them that opportunity to be exposed to some of the other stuff that is not normally there for them at that point in time at their age.
Erin: Is there anything else that you'd like to share with our audience of alumni, donors, potential applicants and members of the APS?
Eric Jackson: I would encourage everyone to support this great program. We need more young people in the hobby.
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