The American Philatelic Society Luff Awards
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 2022 will occur in Sacramento, California, on August 27. Recipients sign the Luff Award Scroll and are presented with engraved rings. The 2022 Luff Award winners will join a distinguished company of 151 prominent philatelists.
For Distinguished Philatelic Research
Hal Vogel has authored over the last 50 years more than 250 published (mostly original research) polar history, aerophilatelic, military postal history and polar philatelic articles. Besides the United States, his research has appeared in philatelic journals in Norway, Great Britain, Germany, France, Australia and New Zealand.
U.S. philatelic organization journals publishing his work included those for the American Society of Polar Philatelists, Universal Ship Cancellation Society, Military Postal History Society, American Air Mail Society, and Alaska Collectors Club. His popular, long-running philatelic research column in Ice Cap News (journal of the American Society of Polar Philatelists) has continuously appeared in every issue for more than 45 years.
Vogel has mentored a number of younger researchers who today are publishing in philately’s numerous journals. Often Vogel’s earlier work is cited in both their articles and others when referencing seminal research in a number of major polar philatelic areas. His body of work primarily represents the core of what is known today about the pioneer period (i.e., from the dawn of polar history to 1954) polar philatelic material. However, he also has added greatly to what is known about selected areas of Modern Era polar philately (post-1954).
Vogel was fortunate to have begun his research before the last of polar history’s pioneers had departed. So he was just about the only person in the late 1960s and early 1970s to be finding and interviewing these (then) living legends for historical and philatelic posterity. Helped by his charming wife and (then) very young daughter, he often (in face-to-face interviews) elicited facts that were not in any other published source.
Sometimes, as with his extensive interviewing in the mid-1970s of Clifford J. MacGregor (leader of the 1937-38 MacGregor Arctic Expedition to Greenland), he produced the first and only thorough accounting of their expeditions and activities. This always included how and what posted material might have been produced. Many times this was the first recording of mail from these expeditions.
Among Vogel’s authored books and bound monographs is literature that now is fundamental to polar philately. This includes Essence of Polar Philately, which today is regarded as the bible of this philatelic specialization.
A nationally accredited philatelic and literature judge since 1978, his own polar, military, and aerophilatelic exhibits have won numerous awards, including the first grand award ever presented to a polar exhibit in a major competition.
Vogel is a member of many national and international philatelic organizations, having held elected and appointed positions with several. Vogel is a retired Army special operations and intelligence officer who also is a professor emeritus and former department chair at Rowan University, New Jersey.
For Exceptional Contributions to Philately
Jacqueline S. Alton
Jacqueline Alton has been involved with philately since 1968 when she joined her first stamp club – the North Shore Philatelic Society in Chicago. Through this club, she became involved with the Combined Philatelic Exhibition of Chicagoland (COMPEX). She became secretary for the 1969 exhibition and has been involved with COMPEX ever since as an officer and/or director in many positions, including president and vice president of publicity and exhibitions.
Alton has been a member of the American Philatelic Society since 1969 and received her 50-year medal in 2019 at StampShow in Omaha. Another 50-year society for her is the Germany Philatelic Society, which she joined in 1971.
As a member of the Chicago Philatelic Society since 1976, when women were finally admitted, Alton was secretary for a few years, then became president and show chair from 1984 to 1989. As president, she was involved with the society’s first sponsorships of junior exhibits and arranged that the juniors would be the first exhibits in the first row of frames. She served several years as publicity chair for Chicagopex. Alton is an honorary life member of the society and was a director on the board for several years. She has been an officer and organized several functions in connection to several shows, including Chicagopex, Ameripex ’86 and World Columbian Stamp Exhibition ’92, for which she served as vice president.
As an exhibitor, her “Cologne, Germany 1591-1899” exhibit received a vermeil.
Alton has been a member of the Collectors Club of Chicago since 2009 and served as secretary from 2012 to 2019, as well as serving as a director and on committees This year, she suggested getting the Chicago club and The Collectors Club of New York together for a meet-and-greet during Chicagopex. “This was a great success, with our two groups finally getting to know each other,” Alton said.
For Outstanding Service to the APS
Kenneth R. Nilsestuen
Ken Nilsestuen has been a member of the APS / APRL finance committee for about 10 years and served as APS or APRL treasurer for most of that time. He was on the search committee that hired Scott English as executive director, a long-term decision that he feels continues to benefit the APS. Behind the scenes, Nilsestuen worked in tandem with Bruce Marsden, Scott, and many others to improve board reporting and, more importantly, to retire the APRL debt, a goal we achieved in 2021.
In addition to his board roles, Nilsestuen has been an exhibitor since 1980, an accredited judge, and eventually chief judge, traveling to anywhere from four to six shows each year. He has encouraged many exhibitors with his suggestions and guidance and mentored at least a handful of apprentice judges as they learned the nuances of philatelic judging. His exhibits of Algeria, French Congo, and the Minnesota Territorial Centennial stamp have consistently won gold medals, including a grand award for his Algerian postal history.
He has also supported the hobby as an officer or director of many philatelic organizations. It started with his post as editor of the Twin Cities Philatelic Society newsletter in the late 1970s, then to secretary-treasurer of the Collectors Club of Akron, treasurer of the Garfield Perry Stamp Club, and co-chair of its March Party, secretary of the American Association of Philatelic Exhibitors, president of the France & Colonies Philatelic Society and Institute for Analytical Philately, and more. He has also been chair of the CANEJ Education Committee for several years.
Nilsestuen has shared his knowledge with others by writing for The American Philatelist, The Congress Book, France & Colonies Philatelist, and several other publications. Late last century he co-authored a monograph on Algerian hand cancels with Laurence Lambert. He greatly improved the Garfield Perry website by adding content developed by its members. This contributed to the club’s successful application for tax-exempt status. Nilsestuen also oversaw the successful upgrade of the France & Colonies Philatelic Society website. Following the ideas of others, he also has hosted a monthly Zoom meeting for the France & Colonies group that has drawn attendees and speakers from two continents.
John Walter Scott Dealer Award
In 2016, the American Philatelic Society Board of Directors created the Dealer of the Year award. In February 2020, the APS Board voted unanimously that the award should be renamed to reflect the vital lifetime contributions that dealers offer the hobby, and it was reborn as the John Walter Scott Dealer Award.
John Birkinbine II
A collector for more than 70 years, John Birkinbine II has been a professional philatelist for more than 50 years. His history as an exhibitor includes 1985 U.S. Champion of Champions, five international large gold medals, the Court of Honor at Ameripex 1986, World Stamp Expo 1989 and Nordia 2001. The American Philatelic Congress honored him with the McCoy Award in 1969 and 1997 for best research paper, and he won the Barr Award 1997 for best presentation. The U.S. Philatelic Classics Society honored him in 1995 with the Distinguished Philatelist Award.
John has presented APS On the Road courses on western postal history among other subjects.
Birkinbine has served on the APS Expert Committee for more than 30 years, as a Scott catalog consultant for more than 15 years, and was an APS accredited judge for more than 20 years. He has been chairman of the Arizona Philatelic Rangers for more than 20 years.
Ernest A. Kehr Award
The Kehr Award is presented annually by the APS “for enduring contributions that help guarantee the future of the hobby.” The award is named for Life Member Ernest A. Kehr. Established in 1991, the Kehr Award recognizes one living philatelist each year who, for a period of at least five years, has demonstrated one or more of the following:
- Making philately attractive as a hobby to newcomers
- Working directly with newcomers, especially young people
- Developing and administering programs aimed at recruiting newcomers.
Graham Beck has been the host and producer of the Exploring Stamps YouTube channel since 2016. The online video channel is dedicated to the promotion of philately through a variety of entertaining videos. Since the channel’s launch, Beck has attracted almost 3 million views and gained a global following of 26,000 subscribers. Beck’s interest in philately started as a child growing up in South Africa, where he enjoyed collecting new issues with friends. After rediscovering the hobby as an adult, he began producing videos to share his passion with others and demonstrate what stamp collecting has to offer. While continuing to learn about philately in the process, Beck’s approach to storytelling through videos often involves special effects, drone cinematography and traveling to the locations related to a stamp’s imagery. Graham is based in New Jersey with his wife, Laura, who eagerly takes part behind the scenes with her nifty camera work.
APS Hall of Fame
The APS Hall of Fame was established at the 1940 APS Convention following the suggestion that outstanding deceased philatelists be honored just as the then-newly created APS Luff Award honors outstanding living philatelists. To be elected, APS Hall of Fame nominees must have made outstanding contributions to the advancement of national or international philately.
Former Third Assistant Postmaster General Gordon Morison left behind a wonderful series of stellar contributions to the American Philatelic Society and to the philatelic world at large. He created and founded the World Series of Philately in the late 1960s when his Rochester (N.Y.) Philatelic Society introduced the Champion of Champions competitions at the 1969 Rochester Philatelic Society Stamp Show. His work within the USPS brought into being a bright new tradition of cooperation between the Postal Service and organized philately. Among his achievements in that regard was his chairmanship of the Washington 2006 International Philatelic Exhibitions.
Stanley Piller was a world-famous U.S. classics stamp expert and dealer from Oakland, California. He was the author of the definitive book on the New York City postmaster’s provisional stamps and highly respected member of the expertizing committees with both the APS Expertizing Service and The Philatelic Foundation. A generous donor to many major and not-so-major causes in our hobby, Piller was a world-class and high gold medal exhibitor on the international exhibition stage; and, his expertise in the world of United States postal history is legendary. Piller was a walking-talking world-class expert on a wide range of philatelic pursuits. He cut his teeth as a stamp dealer when he was in high school working for a relative who was a dealer on Nassau Street in NYC.
Dr. Guy Dillaway
Without any doubt, the doyen of New England philately, Guy Dillaway served on the board of directors of the American Philatelic Society for many years. A founding member of the organizing committee for the Boston International Philatelic exhibition coming up in 2026, his work with and for the Cardinal Spellman Philatelic Museum as president is a lasting legacy of lifelong work that he leaves behind, including his longtime service on the museum’s board of directors. In addition, living in a very active philatelic community, Guy served those organizations in numerous roles.
The Nicholas G. Carter Volunteer Recognition Awards
The Nicholas G. Carter Volunteer Recognition Awards recognize the outstanding efforts of APS volunteers at the national, regional and local level, and also recognize our younger members whose contributions and abundant talents are crucial to our future.
Dr. Jean Wang
Jean Wang is an avid thematic collector and exhibitor with a five-frame grand award-winning exhibit on blood. She has written articles on various aspects of medical philately for The Canadian Philatelist and Topical Time and given numerous presentations on medical philately and thematic exhibiting, including virtual presentations for the Royal Philatelic Society of Canada (RPSC) and the American Topical Association during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Wang was the membership secretary of the Philatelic Specialists Society of Canada from 2017 to 2019 and has served as membership director since 2020. She is the editor of the annual PSSC Journal and the newsletter of the North Toronto Stamp Club. She is the RPSC delegate to the Fédération Internationale de Philatélie’s Thematic Commission, a member of the board of directors of the Vincent Graves Greene Philatelic Research Foundation, and since 2018 has been a member of Canada Post’s Stamp Advisory Committee.
Kim E. Kellermann
Kim Kellermann recently retired after 42 years working in the family-owned business, Rasdale Stamp Company, located in Westmont, Illinois. During that time, he served in multiple board positions including the American Stamp Dealers Association, Midwest Dealers Association and the American Philatelic Society Dealers advisory committee. Kellermann is presently serving as the treasurer of the American Topical Association.
Today, in addition to working as a 20-hour part-time computer lab assistant for the Naperville Public Library, Kellermann volunteers 12 hours a week at the Wolfs Crossing Elementary School library, shelving books as the librarian’s teaching assistant. During the summer break, he is making thematic stamp bookmarks for the elementary school children for the 2022-23 school year. Kim will proudly teach stamp collecting as a resource for the school librarian’s elementary curriculum starting in the fall.
Kellermann introduces stamp collecting through displays in various Chicago suburban libraries during his free time and finds time to expand his personal topical collection on “space” and his Michigan postal history accumulation.
William T. Harris III
Harris began collecting stamps more than 70 years ago when his father, a philatelist in his youth, bought him his first stamp album. He also gave Harris the remains of his U.S. collection, including some of the reds of the 1920s. They remain his most treasured stamps.
The 36-year Army veteran got back into serious collecting after he retired in 2000. He collects U.S. and worldwide mint, up to 1985. That year, according to Bill, is when the world ended. He joined APS in 1975 and is a lifetime member and consistent donor.
Since retiring, Harris has joined the Hollywood (Fla.) Stamp Club, where he has been active in weekly auctions for more than 10 years, and the International Society of Worldwide Stamp Collectors (ISWSC), for whom he edited its APS and Chicagopex award-winning magazine for five years.
For the past six years, Harris has served as the president of the Allentown (Pennsylvania) Philatelic Society, reinstituting semiannual 15-dealer stamp shows to bring his club out of financial difficulty. He’s also spearheading the club’s 100th-anniversary celebration next year.
In 2016 Bill operated the ISWSC’s booth operations at the World Stamp Show 2016 in New York City, resulting in a significant increase in membership. Last spring, as an adjunct instructor at Delaware Valley University, Bill taught an online course called Stamp Collecting: A Living History.
Clarence McKnight was introduced to volunteerism when he was a young boy at the Passaic, N.J. Boys Club during the early 1960s. He saw how volunteers gave up their time and money to help the Boys Club operate. The money the club received also helped boys attend summer camp. “As I matured, I remembered those lessons learned and knew that I would give back,” McKnight said. “What good is my knowledge if I can’t share it or pass it on?”
McKnight started collecting stamps in 1989. His first stamp was the Statue of Liberty, which was issued for the statue’s bicentennial. His volunteerism with stamp collecting started when his son, Kristian, was in prekindergarten, when he learned about dinosaurs with his father’s stamp collection. Soon, McKnight was making a presentation to classes and running a school stamp club. McKnight’s presentations were both visual and inspirational, offering philately and positivity. Presentations and exhibits were designed to be kid friendly exhibits once made from plastic sleeves stapled to poster boards now include PowerPoints with a projector, tables, custom design banners and framed.
McKnight – whose specialties are African Americans, women and Hispanic Americans on stamps – has given presentations in classrooms across New Jersey and New York for more than 25 years, and venues have stretched beyond schools to post offices, churches, community centers, municipalities, corporations, colleges, art museums and libraries. Some of his notable exhibits have been at the Montclair Library Art Gallery, Perth Amboy Art Gallery, Yogi Berra Baseball Museum (exhibit Negro League Baseball stamps and memorabilia), and Patriot Baseball Stadium, when more than 400 guests viewed his exhibit during Negro League Baseball Centennial Night.
McKnight is a proud member of ESPER (Ebony Society of Events and Reflections) for more than 25 years. Over the years, he has served as New Jersey state director, board member and editor-in-chief of Reflections, a bi-monthly newsletter, which won several awards during that time period. McKnight rebuilt and launched ESPER’s new award-winning website in May 2016 and became webmaster. The website won two consecutive gold awards. McKnight is finishing a book on collecting African-Americans on stamps and designing stamp posters and banners.
A highlight of doing presentations came in 2019 when he made a presentation to a second-grade class, which was taught by his son. “Everything has come full circle for me,” McKnight said. “I did my first school presentation in his pre-K class and now in his own classroom. What a wonderful way to share the knowledge of philately!”
Cathleen F. Osborne
Cathleen Osborne is a Washington state-born housewife and mother of four. She was introduced to stamps in childhood by an uncle and returned to them after her first child was born. Another collector introduced her to Linn’s Stamp News and stamp shows and it grew from there into a lifelong enjoyment of collecting bells shown in philately.
After a move to Sequim, she was introduced to two other collectors and in December 1973 they put an ad in the paper to see if there were other collectors in town who would like to meet. At the first meeting, three others showed up; next month, nine, and the Strait Stamp Society was born.
The local club joined the Northwest Federation of Stamp Clubs soon after, and in 1994 it put on its first local show (with encouragement from collectors in Victoria, British Columbia just across the border). Because her bell stamp collection has an association with music, Osborne joined the Philatelic Music Circle in England and later became its U.S. secretary for 25 years.
Osborne enjoys exhibiting just for the joy of “showing off” and has often exhibited at Vicpex and VicTopical in Victoria. She has enjoyed encouraging club members to also “show their stuff.” “Our club is small, but the participation and enthusiasm are great,” Osborne said. “We also get real pleasure in providing the local show for collectors from all over the Olympic Peninsula and farther.”
Beatrice Adams Cox
Cox’s interest in stamps began at an early age when she was a child growing up in Virginia. She would cut stamps from mail coming to her parents’ home. She was particularly fascinated with stamps that featured birds and flowers. As an adult, Cox relocated to Seattle, where she was employed as a teacher. While participating in a multicultural workshop, she was given several stamps featuring Booker T. Washington and George Washington Carver. Cox was astonished to learn that there were African Americans featured on U.S. postage stamps. She soon became an avid collector of stamps featuring African Americans, which led her to join a local Black Collectors Stamp Club.
In the early 2000s, Cox moved to Charlotte, North Carolina, becoming a more serious collector. In 2004, she joined the Ebony Society of Philatelic Events and Reflections (ESPER), building a close relationship with society founder Dr. Esper Hayes. Cox formed a local senior citizens stamp club at the Friendship Missionary Baptist Church and served as its first president from 2005 to 2017. The local stamp club merged with ESPER and has been instrumental in sponsoring annual stamp exhibits during Black History Month and second-day stamp ceremonies for the U.S. Black Heritage Series.
Cox became the North Carolina Chapter director of ESPER in 2009. Under her leadership, the chapter held its first gallery exhibition at the University of North Carolina, held in conjunction with the Africana Studies Department. Dr. V. Higgins-Bond, the artist who designed images for the Jan Matzeliger (1991), W.E.B. Du Bois (1992), and Percy Julian (1993) stamps, participated in the event.
Cox was elected to the ESPER Board in 2012. In 2013, Beatrice chaired ESPER’s 25th Anniversary Celebration in Charlotte. Collecting stamps has been a source of enjoyment for her. Cox embarked on a journey to collect every stamp featuring African Americans and Black images, sharing her love of the hobby as an exhibitor and leader throughout North Carolina and beyond.
David M. Klauber
David Klauber is a member of the APS, ATA, United States Stamp Society, U.S. Philatelic Classics Society, Poway Stamp Club and lifelong fourth-generation stamp collector who resides in Julian, California. His volunteer service to philately and the Poway Stamp Club includes the establishment of and current editor for the Poway Stamp Club Newsletter.
Klauber established and serves as webmaster for the 2021 APS large gold award-winning website, Powaystampclub.com. The website provides information on club activities, newsletters, links, etc., as well as a “members only” bid board. He has served the past three years as vice president of the Poway Stamp Club. During the Covid pandemic, Klauber, along with his wife, Trice, worked to double club membership and put the fun back into San Diego County stamp collecting.
Klauber is a published author, including through the International Society of Japanese Philately; PSC “Editors Corner” column; “The Sounding” (historical biography documenting the life and times of merchant adventurer Abraham Klauber, the author’s great-great grandfather) ; and technical writer for hospital computer architecture and design. Klauber is currently conducting historical and philatelic research on both U.S. classic and errors, freaks and oddities stamps. Outside of philately, Klauber worked at Leidos Inc. as a chief computer engineer for 38 years. Klauber was previously a member of the board of directors for the San Diego Historical Society. But most importantly, Klauber considers his highest achievement in life as being a husband, father and grandfather.
Trice Klauber is an APS, ATA, China Stamp Society and Poway Stamp Club member who lives in Julian, California. She has recently begun collecting Japanese stamps and is a long-term enthusiastic collector of Chinese stamps. Trice is a volunteer/member of the Poway Stamp Club, for which she is currently the club’s APS representative and coordinates the club’s access to APS circuits. She has served as the secretary of the Poway Stamp Club for the past four years. Klauber encourages and assists in promoting closer social relationships among philatelists of San Diego County. She promotes and assists the spreading of stamp knowledge and encourages others to participate in the pleasures derived from collecting stamps.
Additionally, Trice organizes the annual PSC holiday banquet/celebration as well as external philatelic field trips. She oversees the logistics of the club’s Bid Board sales and organizes and coordinates with external clubs, including the Guyana Philatelic Society. Trice was previously a business owner and educator, and served as a Girl Scout troop leader, service unit manager for San Diego’s Backcountry area, as well as supported adult training and outdoor education programs. She was previously a 22-year volunteer for Girl Scouts of America, where she acquired the moniker “Fearless Leader.” Klauber is a beloved wife, mother, and grandmother.