At Aerophilately 2022, held a few days ago at the time of writing in Bellefonte, we enjoyed unseasonably (unreasonably) warm weather. I found myself walking around and around the park on Sunday as the show wound down, actually breaking a sweat, and was glad to see the show’s attendees also step out into the warmth. By all accounts the show was a success, and for my own part I appreciated the chance to open my office doors and meet several of you in person.
Visitors browsed and made purchases at the bourse at Aerophilately 2022.
As we move into the holiday months, which for so many involve hustle and bustle, travel, family visits, and event-planning, I invite you to save a little space in your day for the things you love, including your collections. Relax and take some time to consider the “maybe later” parts of your collection. “Maybe later” I’ll sort through the albums in the back of my closet. “Maybe later” I’ll have time to research these local covers, “maybe later” I’ll write descriptions and work on estate planning. The winter months are the perfect time to make “maybe later” happen today. For myself, my “maybe later” involves a few book reviews that I’ve been planning to write – and you can be my witness in the next few issues to that promise!
In this issue
Much like July’s themed issue, “Postmarks and Cancels,” themed around marcophily and postal markings, we continue the theme here with a few articles that involve auxiliary markings. Auxiliary markings, whether applied by handstamp, handwritten, a label, or mechanically/electronically produced, simply mean that the cover underwent a special circumstance in the mailstream or received out-of-the-norm attention. These covers, unlike the average piece of mail, have a very interesting story to tell, and the auxiliary markings offer the clues to decipher that story.
First, Christine Sanders of the Christmas Philatelic Club celebrates the holiday season with a set of philatelic covers that were in the mailstream on Christmas Day, Dec. 25, and were held up, or damaged, or misdirected in some way, with auxiliary markings to tell the tale. Christine’s story spans from 1818 to 1988, pre-stamp postal history to the modern era.
Next, Regis Hoffman and Thomas Richards pair up to show a different, but equally whimsical side of auxiliary markings – those applied to fan mail which took a circuitous (sometimes torturously so) route to reach Hollywood stars. Set in the glamorous silent film era, Regis and Thomas document these complicated routings between film studios, fan mail agencies and more, to film stars like Mary Pickford and Rita Hayworth.
In the latest article from our partnership with the United States Philatelic Classics Society, their president David D’Alessandris joins in on the auxiliary marking fun, bringing it back to the classics – the 1850s, the era of the Butterfield, Panama, and Central Overland routes. David shows examples of illustrated directional endorsements that pointed the mail, sent from California, toward the correct route.
Beyond auxiliary markings, we are glad to publish several articles on a variety of topics. First, we’ve already received positive feedback on Henry Scheuer’s “How the Earliest Collectors Sought Out First Days” Part 1, which is great news for our plan to publish Part 2 in this issue! In both parts of the article, Henry shows us what first day collecting looked like before the establishment of the Philatelic Sales Agency – and the birth of modern first day cover collecting. Part 2 follows up the history lessons of Part 1 with a chronological gallery of the stamp issues pre-1922 for which a first day of issue was actually designated.
Back in March, I reviewed the book Peter Winter’s “Swansong”: Memories of an Artist and a “Forger” by Wolfgang Maassen, published in 2021. Now, the author comes to tell Peter Winter’s story in his own words, with some translation help from Leonard Hartmann. Wolfgang shows some of Winter’s notable reproductions, analyzes his character and work, and offers some insight into how Winter’s reproductions have filtered through the philatelic marketplace.
And last but not least, Ken Gilbert, a soccer fan to the end (or football, to those outside the U.S.), talks the famous “Miracle of Bern,” as the 2022 FIFA World Cup concludes in Qatar later this month. Germany’s soccer victory in 1954 inspired the nation – and this cultural revival can be found on the many philatelic items that commemorate this success.
A few other thoughts
Finally I want to direct your attention to a few items of note in this issue. First, you’ll see in Scott English’s column “Our Story,” and in the Letters to the Editor, that there is some conversation about a proposed merger with ASDA. Many of you have already read this proposal described on the APS website, or in the newsletter. Scott offers a full description of the proposal in his column and invites your comments and questions.
Next, I invite you to read Online Learning Manager Nick Miller’s column, “Bridges,” for an update on what’s happening in the APS Education department. My colleagues in Education are working hard to make expert courses, whether live events or on-demand recordings, available on the website for your use.
Finally, there’s always end-of-year business to keep in mind and add to your calendar. You should have already received your dues notice in the mail as a reminder to renew your membership. Please renew today, while you have it top-of-mind, and strike it off your to-do list. We greatly appreciate your dedication to the APS and will gladly welcome you to another year of membership. Also, you’ll see some information about end-of-year giving. Your donations have helped us launch digital projects, including adding thousands of journals to the APRL digital library, that keep us relevant in the modern collecting era. With your help, 2023 will be a year of exponential growth for the APS.
Happy holidays and a happy new year!
To our philatelic friends in the United States and around the world, we at the APS wish you a very happy holiday season, no matter how you celebrate. May you find joy in the season, a comforted spirit, and renewed energy to face the new year.
Please keep your feedback coming and share your views. Remember: if you wish to see an always-improving American Philatelist, you – our readers and APS members – must become a part of this exciting journey. Reach out with your questions, concerns, and suggestions. Write a letter to the editor (LetterToTheEditor@stamps.org.) More importantly, volunteer to participate. This is your American Philatelist. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org. Letters by regular mail are always welcome and will be responded to in kind.