Since 1940, the Luff Award has been the most prestigious award that the American Philatelic Society can bestow upon living philatelists. The Luff Award was established in memory of John N. Luff, APS president from 1907 to 1909, who was considered the most prominent American philatelist of his era.
The APS Luff Awards are available annually for:
- Distinguished Philatelic Research
- Exceptional Contributions to Philately
- Outstanding Service to the American Philatelic Society
The Luff Awards are presented annually during the American Philatelic Society's convention and exhibition, which in 2021 will occur in Rosemont, Illinois, on August 14. Recipients sign the Luff Award Scroll and are presented with engraved rings. The 2021 Luff Award winners will join a distinguished company of 148 prominent philatelists.
For Distinguished Philatelic Research – Dr. Ronald Lesher
Ron Lesher has been collecting stamps since January 17, 1956. His introduction to the late Ernest Wilkens turned him on to exploring revenue stamps and researching their unexplored nooks and crannies, which eventually became the principal focus of his exhibiting and writing. Two notable explorations stand out in Ron’s career. First was his discovery of the real use of the tapeworm revenues, leading to an article in the 1990 American Philatelic Congress yearbook correcting the fantastic and inaccurate stories of the tapeworms written by Herman Hearst. Second, Ron combed the records in the attic of the annex of the Bureau of Engraving & Printing, leading to another American Philatelic Congress article in 2006 showing the chronological order of the Slaight lock seals. That research also led to the realization that some of the lock seals that were thought to be essays were actually issued and used.
Ron authored a series of articles in The American Revenuer under the pseudonym of Ben Czech and a column in (Mid)Western Stamp Collector under the pseudonym Roscoe Irwin. Many of Ron’s research articles have also appeared in State Revenue News and The U.S. Specialist. Ron’s column “The Tax Collector” has appeared in almost every issue of The American Stamp Dealer & Collector. Ron recently became a regular contributor to The American Philatelist on revenue stamps. He has twice been a guest curator with the National Postal Museum, most recently at the revenue stamp frames in the Gross Gallery.
Since 1967, Ron has been a member of APS and served on the Committee for the Accreditation of National Exhibitions and Judges and two terms as an at-large member of the APS board. In addition, has served as an instructor in the APS Summer Seminars and On the Road courses. Ron currently serves as the Chairman of the APS Education Committee.
Ron has also served as president of the American Revenue Association and chairman of Revenue Commission of Federation Internationale de Philatelie (FIP). He managed the Diamond and Ruby Award programs and served as a mentor and reviewer of title pages and synopses for the American Association for Philatelic Exhibitors (AAPE). Ron is a national and internationally accredited philatelic judge. He also has ten years of experience on the dealer side of the bourse table.
For Exceptional Contributions to Philately – Darrell Ertzberger
Darrell has been an exhibitor since 1982, an APS and ATA accredited philatelic judge since 1989, an FIP juror since 2006 in Thematics and since 2019 in Postal Stationery, and has developed philatelic shows on the local, national (WSP) and international levels. He is also known for his varied international philatelic activities.
Darrell is a prolific writer, contributing research and exhibiting-related articles to North Carolina Postal Historian, La Posta, Transit Postmark Collector, Topical Time, Gay and Lesbian History on Stamps Journal, and Thematics Queensland. He has edited multiple volumes, including Self-Sufficiency at All Costs: Confederate Post Office Operations in North Carolina, 1861-1865 by Richard F. Ridgway and Illustrated North Carolina postal markings, 1777-1865, both through the North Carolina Postal History Society in 1988. He also was the editor of NCPHS Newsletter, the journal of the North Carolina Postal History Society from 1986-9 and the editor of Waymarkings, the journal of the Virginia Postal History Society from 2000-3.
Darrell is known for numerous exhibits, including “US Transportation Coils,” “Beguiling Orbs of Beauty” (which won a Grand Award at National Topical Stamp Show in 2009), “North Carolina Railway Markings,” “British Honduras Postal Stationery,” “US RFD Carrier Christmas Postcards.” He has exhibited, locally, nationally, and in Israel, Russia, Brazil, Japan, Canada, UK, Australia, Italy and Germany. Darrell is a charter member of American Association of Philatelic Exhibitors, and has been actively involved in AAPE’s various exhibit critique services for several years. He also contributed to the APS’ 2012 revision of Manual of Philatelic Judging and has taught numerous presentations and seminars on thematic exhibiting and collecting.
Darrell’s involvement in show planning and development has a long history. He has served in many positions for National Philatelic Exhibitions of Washington (NAPEX), including six years as show chairman. For VAPEX, Darrell mainly worked with the judging and exhibiting aspects of the show. He supported, in several different roles, international show efforts in the U.S., including World Stamp Expo 89, World Columbian Expo, Pacific 97, NORDIA 2001, and Washington 2006. For the latter, Darrell served as the Registration Chairman, writing the web software to register and process 30,000 attendees.
Darrell’s judging career is lengthy. He has served as Chairman of the Jury for the APS and RPSC. For national (WSP) shows, since 2016, he has collected, interpreted, and reported on the WSP show exhibit scores for all exhibits. He created and maintains the exhibit history database for all WSP exhibits. He has also provided relevant information to jury chairmen prior to shows since 2017. He was an FIP juror at Espana 2006, Australia 2013, New York 2016, and China 2019, and a member of CANEJ since 2008.
Finally, Darrell’s involvement in international philately is no small matter. He served as delegate to FIP Congresses from 2004 to 2010 (2008 as primary delegate and 2004-05, 2010 as alternate delegate). He is a member of both FIP and FIAP Thematic Commissions. He served as the U.S. commissioner to Praga 2008 and Australia 2013. Lastly, he was instrumental in inviting international judges to judge at NAPEX over the years to foster more recognition for U.S. shows and philately.
For Outstanding Service to the American Philatelic Society - Alfredo Frohlich
Alfredo Frohlich is a collector, exhibitor, and ambassador of philately. His support takes many forms: volunteering, helping other collectors by sharing his knowledge and time, aiding shows that need exhibits, and more. After the financial crisis faced by the APS from 2009-2010, Alfredo was instrumental in heading a development effort that raised over $6.7 million dollars under his leadership, the APS Campaign for Philately. He was a chairman of the Campaign from September 2009 to August 2015.
A brilliant strategist, when Alfredo sees something that needs to be improved, modified, or created, he leads an effort to bring about that change. In 2011, he founded the Mighty Buck Club, which since its inception has received almost 20,000 gifts totaling over $501,000, donations which support the technology and development needs of the APS. He works quietly and effectively. He is one of the leading donors to the hobby, especially the APS and APRL (he became one of the first Vooys Fellows in 2007).
Besides his contributions to the APS, Alfredo is also a published author (The Lansa Story and Private Mail Carriers of Colombia, published by Colombian Philatelic Research Society in 2005 and 2006, respectively). He has instructed courses for the APS and served as an APS and FIP judge. He is also an exhibitor, best known for his single frame exhibit which proves that Colombia’s 1861 1 Peso issue sheet was composed of 36 stamps instead of 54 as published by Federico Laarsen in the late 1950s. This exhibit was awarded two APS Grand Awards (APS StampShow 2016 and Sarasota 2018).