This winter, APS Development Assistant Erin Seamans spoke with Casey Cook 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.
Casey is an alumnus of the YPLF program.
Erin: What are you studying in college and do you have future plans?
Casey: I am currently finishing my Bachelor of Science in Accounting degree, and I will be starting as a staff accountant at Lindsay & Brownell this upcoming July.
Erin: Why did you choose to apply for YPLF?
Casey: I chose to apply for YPLF because I wanted the networking and hands-on experience that only the YPLF could provide. I had only been a stamp collector for about 2 years when I applied, so I was still relatively new to that world and wanted to grow my connections and explore different areas of philately.
Erin: What did you learn through YPLF?
Casey: I learned that philately is a diverse hobby full of interesting people. I met so many people during my time as a YPLF Fellow and learned about stamp dealing, exhibiting, and other areas of interest to collectors.
Casey, Chris Calle and Katie V. at Stamp Show 2013
Erin: Can you recall a moment or memory from your time as a Fellow that was significant in your learning process?
Casey: Once, my dealer-mentor, Michael Ball, was showing me how to sort and organize a stamp collection for resale and a photographer from the American Topical Association (ATA) took our picture and put it on the front cover of one of their issues. That was when I realized that there were few people my age interested in stamp collecting, and it was significant enough to put on a magazine cover.
Erin: In what ways have you been involved in the philatelic community since graduating from YPLF?
Casey: After I graduated from the YPLF, I continued to attend stamp shows throughout high school, including the APS Summer and Winter shows. I gave a presentation to members of the U.S. Philatelic Classics Society, attended a first day of issue ceremony, and continued to actively represent youth in philately until I went to college. I still keep in touch with some of the friends I made during my time as a YPLF fellow.
Erin: What did you learn during your time as a Fellow that serves your involvement in the hobby today?
Casey: While I was a Fellow, I learned about different ways the members of the philatelic community interact with each other and stay in touch across long distances. I also learned about stamp dealing and how online stamp stores operate. I occasionally sell a few stamps through my eBay store when I have time.
Katie and Casey at Stamp Show 2013
Erin: How has your time as a Fellow informed your work as a tax accountant?
Casey: I did the Dealer track as a Fellow, so I was very involved with learning the business side of philately. From my mentor, Michael Ball, to the other stamp dealers I worked with, I learned a great deal about running a small business and how to conduct business at trade shows like APS shows. As a tax accountant, I work with my firm’s tax team to prepare individual and small business tax returns, and some small businesses remind me of the stamp dealers I worked with as a Fellow.
Erin: What are your long-term philatelic goals?
Casey: My long-term philatelic goals are to build a prestigious U.S. stamp collection with as much completion from the 19th Century as possible. I am passionate about U.S. philately, especially the 19th Century, and I hope to be able to build on my growing collection as I balance philately with my career and many other interests. I also hope to join the Club de Monte-Carlo and exhibit my collection at MonacoPhil in the future.
Erin: What would you say to someone considering joining YPLF?
Casey: It is a great opportunity to meet new people, strengthen existing connections, and explore the world of professional philately more in-depth than any other experience can offer. If you are young and at all passionate about stamp collecting, the YPLF is one of the best ways to stand out in the hobby and distinguish yourself among other young philatelists.
Erin: Is there anything else you would like to share with our audience of fellows, alumni, donors, and potential applicants?
Casey: YPLF provided me with incredible experiences that I both enjoyed and learned from. I made many new friends from my participation in the program and traveled all over the U.S. to attend the various APS shows. I look forward to future experiences and hope that more people my age join the YPLF and explore all that it has to offer.
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