The Society’s Board of Governors held their annual meeting in conjunction with the St. Louis Stamp Expo 2009, Saturday, February 28th. In addition to the presentation of officers’ reports, the Board engaged in discussions about ongoing projects and new proposals.
Executive Secretary Larry Ballantyne reported that membership dropped slightly. For the year ending 2008, membership fell 2.6% from 1777 to 1730. His report also indicated strong membership financial support including contributions from 248 members towards the Patron, Contributor and Sustaining categories. Donations from 14.3% of our total membership is the highest level in the Society’s history.
Board Chairman, Roger Brody reported on the highlights of the Society in 2008. Notable were Board decisions to publish two books, United States Supplementary Mail, by Leonard Piszkiewicz, and Guide to U.S. Vending and Affixing Machine Perforations 1907–1927 by Stephen R. Belasco. The Supplementary Mail book was successfully introduced at a book signing ceremony at the St. Louis show. The Vending and Affixing book will be introduced in April at the New York MEGA Event. To date, we have sold over 7000 copies of the popular Encyclopedia of United States Stamps and Stamp Collecting. Also noted was the presentation at APS StampShow in Hartford this past August of the first annual United States Stamp Society – Barbara R. Mueller award for the best article in the American Philatelist for the year 2007.
The Board also agreed to hold our Annual Meeting in 2014 at Philatelic Show in Boxborough, MA and at WESTPEX in San Francisco, CA in 2015. The Board also agreed to fund lockable glass cabinet doors to display USSS archive material in the Society’s room at the American Philatelic Center, Bellefonte, PA.
Treasurer David Sugar’s report showed a positive cash flow for 2007. While the Society’s expenses annually exceed income from membership dues and U.S. Specialist advertising, our operating deficit continues to be offset by income from our financial assets, donations and publication sales, led this past year by the 2008 Durland Standard Plate Number Catalog. In addition to approving a break-even budget for the year 2009, the Board agreed to keep the membership dues unchanged and to raise the Sustaining Donation level from $15 to $20.
President Nick Lombardi reported on Society stamp show participation, the awards program and other activities, which are reported elsewhere in this issue. He noted that Society membership pins would be awarded at the General Membership Meeting. Lombardi also announced the formation of a Nominating Committee, to be headed by Denise Stotts. Elections for three-year terms, commencing in 2010 for the Board of Governors and Society Officers, will be held at year end.
U.S. Specialist Editor Len Piszkiewicz discussed the expansion of color in the journal, noting that a campaign to expand advertising income will continue in 2009. Len’s production schedule continues to be on target, with the journal offering a variety of articles of interest to the membership. As always, members are encouraged to share their knowledge and interests by writing for The Specialist.
Publication Chairman Steven J. Rod’s report discussed publications in the pipeline that included the additional volumes of U.S. Booklets and Booklet Panes. Member Ken Zierer has agreed to complete the work initiated by the late Sam Frank. Other publications under review include a revised Plate Number Checklist, and a digital U.S. Almanac, companion to the Encyclopedia. Work continues on developing a searchable CD set of the complete volumes of The United States Specialist.
Webmaster Mike Lampson noted that the PayPal payment service for online purchase of the Society’s publications via our website has been well received. He will be investigating the implementation of membership dues payment via the website.
The Board agreed to increase the honorarium for the Walter W. Hopkinson Memorial Literature Award from $250 to $500. In discussions about Durland catalogs, it was agreed that future editions would be considered for the years 2012 and 2016, and supplements, in a form yet to be determined, would be made available in 2010 and 2014.
The Board also approved a motion to sponsor a Young Philatelic Leadership Fellow. The program, recently initiated by the APS to seek out and engage the most enthusiastic members of a new generation in philately, is described elsewhere in this issue of The Specialist.
The next Annual Meeting of the Board and General Membership will be at the 2010 Philadelphia National Stamp Exposition.
—Roger S. Brody