Andrew Turngren has been an APS member since 2020, focusing mostly on collecting Austrian stamps. You can follow Andrew's philatelic journey on his twitter account (@turngren_phila) as well as on his website https://turngrenphilately.com/ . APS reached out to Andrew to learn more about his collecting journey and his experience being an APS member. Read the interview below:
How did you learn about APS?
I learned about the APS from someone who died long before I was born! When my grandfather moved from his house to an assisted living facility, I was tasked with clearing out his house, selling items he would no longer need, etc. I found a stamp album and a small box of funny little wax paper envelopes, and I brought them home in case they had any value. They sat in my closet even after my grandfather had passed away. I pulled them down once I was stuck at home because of Covid, and I started to look up and learn about what I had initially with the intent to see what it was worth to sell it. I found an APS membership card that was my great-grandfather’s, so I reached out to the APS to see if they still had record of his membership, and they did! I also asked about a few materials to get started with learning about the small collection. I quickly realized that “boring stamp collecting” was anything but boring.
What about APS made you want to join?
I would say there are two reasons – one was to learn about the hobby and gain access to the American Philatelist. The response I got when I asked about materials was very informative and quickly made me want to learn more. The other reason was because my great-grandfather was a member.
What stamps do you collect?
My largest and most specialized collection is Austria. I started collecting it mainly by chance. When I sorted out my first small worldwide lot, the tallest pile was Austria, so I started cataloguing from there. I quickly became very interested in the stamps as well as the history surrounding the Austrian Empire, Austria-Hungary, and the countries that all came out of World War One when the empire broke apart. I also have a small US collection (which was jump-started by my great-grandfather’s collection), and I’ve started to get into Hungary, Sweden, and the Benelux countries. My latest new area of interest is older Ukrainian material, especially the trident overprints on Russian Empire stamps. But Austria remains my biggest philatelic interest.
Are the stamps you collect related to your professional interests?
Not really – my career is in commercial real estate finance, which isn’t exactly a hot topic for topical collectors. I might look into it though.
What membership services do you use the most?
I would guess the American Philatelist is the benefit I use the most with my membership. As I start to get more specialized, I anticipate I will likely be using the APRL more. There are a lot of resources that I see referenced but are out of print, prohibitively expensive or rare, etc. and being able to borrow them or order scans/copies will be helpful.
What services do you look forward to using/ what new services would you like to see?
I am looking forward to becoming more familiar with the APRL’s services, as well as the new Hipstamp collaboration with the APS. I would love a way to interact with other members with the same or similar interests.
What are you hoping to learn from being an APS member?
I am hoping to continue my area of specialization, and as I do so I hope to use more of the services offered. There is a tremendous body of knowledge and I have only begun to scrape the surface. I also hope to delve more deeply into my US material, and the APS.
Has your knowledge of the hobby changed since joining APS?
Yes – I have been exposed to collecting areas that I hadn’t previously considered. Each month I read about something new that catches my interest. I believe that any topic can be interesting once it’s reached a sufficiently granular level – so I often become interested in something after reading an article about it in the American Philatelist.
What inspired you to create your website/blog? What are your plans for its future?
I started turngrenphilately.com this year purely for my own enjoyment. I am far from an expert, but I thought it would be fun to document my experience. I don’t update it on any kind of schedule, and I don’t have any kind of financial angle – it’s something I purely do for fun and I decided to make it public in case someone else would find it interesting or have some information to pass along to me. I don’t have enough time to maintain something like a YouTube channel (not to mention channels like Exploring Stamps, Ted Talks Stamps, and my friend Michael over at Feature Philately – along with many others – do a great job already) so a small blog is more my speed. I might update it twice in a day, I might go a month or more without updating it. It just depends on where my collection takes me. I’ve also started to become acquainted with Twitter (@turngren_phila) which allows me to reach out and ask a question or show a small little bit of something I find interesting without writing something like an article. It is also rewarding to interact with other collectors directly.
Anything else that you would like to add?
Aside from obviously recommending any collector to join the APS, I would also say it is worthwhile to join your local club as well as clubs specific to your interest. I am very thankful I joined my local club (the Charlotte Philatelic Society) to get to know other collectors near me (not to mention the club auctions) as well as organizations like the Austrian Philatelic Society (UK and US). If you’re going to stick with collecting, please take the time to join the APS as well as your local club if possible.
If you want to contact Andrew, send him an email to the email address associated with his website ([email protected]). If you want to share your stamp story, please send an email to [email protected].