Do a Google search for “October is national…” and you will find a seemingly never-ending list of honorary months.
Many address serious issues which need to be discussed, including Breast Cancer Awareness, Bullying Prevention and Cyber Security Awareness Month.
These are also on the list: Bat Appreciation, Sausage, and the little-known National Toilet Tank Repair Month.
Then there’s our own: National Stamp Collecting Month.
National Stamp Collecting Month was started in 1981, by the United States Postal Service and the now-defunct Council of Philatelic Organizations. The archives of COPO now reside in the American Philatelic Research Library.
In the collection is the agenda for a USPS/COPO meeting on August 7, 1981. The first item: “Summary Report — National Stamp Collecting Month Project.” USPS committed to the project to start in October. The theme: “Discover Stamp Collecting — The Hobby of a Lifetime.” (Pictured above left)
Then-Postmaster General William Bolger issued a special card, featuring the $5 Christopher Columbus stamp from the Columbian Exposition Issue of 1893 and the 18¢ Space Shuttle Columbia stamp from the 1981 block of Space Achievement stamps. There were 100,000 printed for distribution. (Pictured above right).
In 2013, USPS issued the Inverted Jenny souvenir stamp sheet, and 100 sheets were printed with the Jenny right-side up. Those became an instant rarity, but the United States Postal Service Inspector General was not impressed. The office investigated and determined the USPS had influenced the collecting market. The office recommended a formal process for future philatelic promotions.
The Charlie Brown Christmas Forever stamps in 2015 were the last annual USPS issues for NSCM.
Some may scoff at the notion of a national month for the hobby. After all, every day is a great day to collect stamps. But the hobby needs a month, so we can share our joy and love; to shatter the false impressions that stamp collecting is past its prime.
“Stamp Collecting is an excellent hobby to reflect on all that is great about the United States. Postal Service stamps are miniature works of art that celebrates the people, events and cultural milestones that are unique to the history of our nation,” said David Coleman, Public Relations Representative for USPS.
APS Executive Director Scott English delivers his call to action in this month’s “Our Story” column. What else can you do to promote stamp collecting?
We would enjoy learning about your contributions. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or share them to the APS Social Media platforms and use the hashtag #JoinMyAPS.
Have a great National Stamp Collecting Month!
Editor's Note: The column was published in the October 2019 issue of the American Philatelist, available online now for members to read in full. We will be posting the columns of APS executives on this website to provide updates about American Philatelic Society. Learn more about the benefits of APS membership here.