About Phil Bansner
Phil Bansner is a lifelong collector of stamps and postal history, a full-time professional philatelist since 1979, and an APS regular and dealer member since 1975. In addition, he is also a Past Member and President of the APRL Board of Trustees, and a Board member (three terms), Chairman of the ethics committee (one term), Treasurer (one term) and Past President (two terms) of the American Stamp Dealers Association. A more detailed introduction to Phil can be found in The Bookseller of Wyomissing - An Interview with Phil Bansner of philbansner.com. The interview was done by Abhishek Bhuwalka and was first published in The Philatelic Literature Review Vol. 69 No. 3 (Third Quarter 2020):
"I was born in 1943 and raised in West Reading, PA. My dad Reinhold was in the printing business and my mother Evelyn was an elementary school teacher. I have an older sister Carol that has several degrees in the space science field; her work really is rocket science. I graduated from West Reading High School in 1961 and Penn State University in 1964, then spent two years in the military. Upon leaving the military I returned home and was hired by a local bank in their management training program. I switched banks once and remained in banking until 1979. I have two grown children, Brad and Karen, and two grandchildren, Benjamin and Isabella, who live within fifteen minutes of my home. These, of course, are the two best grandchildren in the world. I was married to my now deceased wife Beverly for 55 wonderful years. She rarely came with me to stamp shows as she was very busy at home bearing the brunt of the work in raising two wonderful children; all of us in the family still miss her greatly.
With wife Beverly at a late 1990's Florida stamp show post-show dinner.
I was first introduced to stamps when I joined a fifth-grade school activities stamp collecting club. My dad gave me a stamp album with a large assortment of United States and worldwide stamps. Dad was not a collector but had received the stamps in order to collect a debt. I liked studying and researching the stamps as we club members traded duplicates. I kept at the hobby during my high school years. I had a paper route and would use my earnings to buy stamps (instead of baseball cards) from a local stamp dealer by the name of Philip Burtner. Many years later I purchased the balance of Mr. Burtner’s philatelic estate.
During the early 1970s I became more serious about my stamp collection. I traded off all my old collections and started concentrating on United States very fine mint never hinged stamps. I was good friends with a local stamp dealer name Bob Gantner who introduced me to stamp shows. He eventually took me along to shows as a helper and was my introduction to stamp dealing. In 1975 I met with show organizer Dick Bower and obtained a table at his monthly stamp show in Sommerville, New Jersey. That started a five year period during which I was a part time stamp show dealer while also maintaining a career as a mortgage banker.
At the SEPAD Stamp Show in Philadelphia in the late 1980's.
I joined the APS in September of 1975. I liked the way they were organized and felt they were in tune with the stamp collecting community. Their monthly publication is the best in their field. I am proud that I am a member of this fine organization. "
Read the interview with Phil about his APS experience below:
How does it feel to be an APS member for over 50 years? What services have you used the most?
My 50 years with the APS have passed very quickly. As a dealer member I use the APS membership verification service, the expertization service and the APRL. I carry my stamp insurance with Hugh Wood. I advertise in the American Philatelist. For many years I held a booth at the APS National Convention. I enjoy reading the monthly American Philatelist. I am intrigued when collectors write about existing and new areas of research. The Society has met all my needs.
Describe your involvment in the APRL?
I was involved with the APRL for a number of years as a member of the Board of Trustees and then as the chairman of the Board of Trustees. That was during the time of the Society moving from State College to the Match Factory in Bellefonte. Many members donated significant time to the Match Factory project. The move to the Match Factory was a major commitment that has turned out to be an unqualified success , "as the building is a great place for the employees to work and is financially very stable. I am personally happy with the finances as I signed the mortgage and note for the APRL, the owner of the facility." (Wyomissing)
What specfic collecting areas have you focused on as a stamp collector/dealer?
I spent twenty five years on the show circuit before switching to a website in 1997. That move turned out well as it allowed me to remain in business without the constant travel. During my career I have entered many collecting areas. Some of my past and current United States specialties include stamps to about 1930, Revenue issues, Match and Medicine stamps & Essays & Proofs. I have extensive United states postal history. I am also a dealer in United States and Worldwide philatelic literature reference works, catalogs and auction sales.
Anything else you would like to add?
“There are no new collectors.” “There are no young collectors.” "Everyone collecting stamps is old.” “The future for the hobby is poor.” You can find these statements made in many of the journals published in the late 19th Century! I believe stamp collecting will continue on well into the future. The APS is evolving alongside with philately. It serves the community with face to face meetings through shows, the printed word through the AP and APRL and in the Internet. The sales division is a secure platform for exchange of items between worldwide collectors. I believe the APS will remain a most important part of the worldwide collecting arena. It is the lead organization that new collectors can turn to for connection with the hobby.
If you would like to share your stamp story, please send an email to [email protected]. We look forward to hearing your stories!