On Thursday, March 19, 2020, Governor Tom Wolf ordered the closure of all non-life sustaining businesses in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. This order is a result of aggressive governmental efforts to stem the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak. As a result of the Governor’s Order, staff of the American Philatelic Society and the American Philatelic Research Library will not be permitted to report to work. Employees who can telecommute will continue to work remotely, but all other employees will remain at home. At this time, there is no date available for reopening.
“Challenges are not new to the APS, APRL, or the hobby,” said Scott English, Executive Director, “We have been resilient for nearly 134 years and we will rise to this challenge.” While publication of The American Philatelist and Philatelic Literature Review will continue, other operations will cease altogether.
Many of the APS staff will be able to work remotely, but for operations requiring onsite staff support, we will be forced to cease operations temporarily. The programs directly affected are:
American Philatelic Research Library:
Email communications with staff remain possible. Library requests sent will be answered in the order in which they were received once the library is open again. During this time requests can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
No new circuits are being mailed from the APS; members with circuits are encouraged to mail them to the next recipient when they feel they can safely access the USPS. Delayed circuit fines are waived at this time. As we have begun remote processing, sellers may now mail in new books to the APS. Seller supplies can be ordered but expect delays in shipping. Seller checks will be delayed and will be priority when we reopen. For Circuit Questions: Contact Wendy Masorti at email@example.com
StampStore.org is open for business. Orders and payments are being processed. Expect delays in shipping as we fill orders with limited access. Sellers are now welcome to send in new submissions as we are processing those remotely. Seller checks will be delayed and will be priority when we reopen. For StampStore Questions: Contact Wendy Masorti at firstname.lastname@example.org
APEX is accepting new orders as of April 23, 2020. Outstanding orders will be completed as soon as possible. Expert Committee members should return all outstanding certificate application forms to APEX as soon as expertizing is complete so that stamps and forms can be processed and returned to clients. For Expertizing Questions: Contact Gary Loew at email@example.com
Additionally, please expect the following:
- Members can call the APS and APRL and leave messages, which will be retrieved remotely, and calls will be returned.
- The American Philatelic Center will continue to receive mail. Members should expect a delay in responses or some actions during the closure of the APS. Please expect delays in processing membership applications.
- Members can use the APS website to make payments online. There may be processing delays for payments.
Governor Wolf has not ruled out extending the closures or issuing a shelter in place order for Pennsylvania residents. We will continue to update the APS website as events warrant.
While we’re all working on social distancing, please remember to call a friend, connect online, or get your stamp club to host a meeting. We will be providing opportunities to connect philatelically and we hope to see you.
Although we are not operational in our headquarters, we are offering additional online content for APS members. Beginning today, we are offering online meetings to connect with fellow APS members, view educational offerings, and speak directly with APS offices about managing through the pandemic. More information is available on our website here.
We continue to update our stamp show closure or delay list online. Check the updated list here.
If you are a show organizer and have an update regarding your stamp show, please contact Ken Martin at firstname.lastname@example.org or Morgan Stinson at email@example.com.
Many of our APS dealers are still operating and selling stamps and other philatelic material. Take an opportunity to search the largest dealer directory in the United States and support fellow APS members. Our directory can be found here.
The American Philatelist Online
To encourage members and collectors to learn more about the APS, we have lifted the members-only restrictions on accessing The American Philatelist online. Please feel free to share with your fellow collectors and encourage them to connect and learn more about all our great benefits. You can access The American Philatelist here.
“In this period of uncertainty, we are committed to engaging and supporting our members to the greatest degree that we can,” added English, “We know that many APS members are spending more time at home. We want to stay connected.” The APS will continue to add engaging information to the APS website, operate and increase our online education offerings, maintain our social media presence. Future, live online events connecting collectors from around the country will be announced soon.
On behalf of the APS and APRL staff, we ask for your patience and understanding during this period. We will continue to update you as events warrant. We encourage all APS members to follow the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and their local and state officials. Please remember to stay connected with fellow collectors remotely through phone, email, or online platforms. Finally, take this time organize your collection.
English offered these final thoughts, “The global pandemic has already affected families, industries, and will have a far-reaching impact for all of us into the future. We have accepted the challenge. We will adapt. We will sustain.”