Our 85th Anniversary
By Roger S. Brody
Members of the United States Stamp Society gathered together at the American Philatelic Society’s headquarters in Bellefonte, PA to celebrate our 85th Anniversary on September 16–18. For 85 years, the United States Stamp Society has been the premier organization for collectors of U.S. postage and revenue stamps and their use. The Society was founded as the Philatelic Plate Number Association in 1926. The name was changed in 1930 to the Bureau Issues Association, recognizing the Association’s enlarged scope of interest as the entire philatelic output of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, which, at that time, produced all United States postage and revenue stamps. The Bureau’s output of postage and revenue stamps, coils, booklets, possessions, paper, gum, marginal markings, as well as methods of manufacture, became subjects of BIA members’ study and collection. In 2000 the organization became the United States Stamp Society. The new name reflected the Society’s focus on the entirety of U.S. postage and revenue stamps, including stamp design, production and use of non-Bureau contract security printers.
Our 85th Anniversary celebration was held in conjunction with the 6th Annual Postal History Symposium, a scholarly program co-sponsored by the American Philatelic Society and the Smithsonian National Postal Museum. The theme of this year’s symposium was be “How Commerce and Industry Shaped the Mails.”
Collectors, students and researchers joined in our anniversary celebration, enjoying three days of meetings, seminars, exhibits and bourse activities. The non-competitive exhibition featured an assemblage of outstanding 20th century stamps and postal history. In total, more than 140 frames were on display, including APS Champion of Champion exhibits. The displays ran the gamut of definitive issues from the Series 1902 to the Great Americans. Back-of-the-book material was highlighted by many award winning displays of Special Delivery, Registry, Special Handling and Air Mail material. Additional showings included selected commemorative and special subject studies like 150 Years of United States Precancels and U.S. Test stamps. Additional treats included eclectic material, seldom if ever on display, like Computer Meter Postage, U.S. Postal Counterfeits, E-Com, and U.S. Rarities and Uniquities. In addition, two frames from the APS archives included The Dag Hammarskjold Inverts and the Story of the Inverted Jenny featuring the APS’s inverted airmail stamp.
The dealer bourse that took place throughout the three days of event included many of the top dealers of United States stamps and postal history.
Luncheons on Friday and Saturday, compliments of the APS and the USSS, were held on the new sky-lighted rotunda second floor of the future American Philatelic Research Library. This was the first function to be held in the newly renovated part of the APS Match Factory complex. Our Friday evening USSS dinner was a great success. All attending received a souvenir coffee mug noting our 85th Anniversary celebration in Bellefonte.
On Saturday, we held the official dedication of the USSS room at the APC. Preceding a tour of the room, Chad Snee, the newly appointed Catalog Editor, Scott Publishing Co. delivered a tribute to the USSS (see pp. 494-497). In the Society room, USSS Governor Steven Rod gave a brief tour of the many historic artifacts on display. These items include original society logo dies, originating documents and memorabilia from Hugh Southgate, George W. Brett and other founding BIA/USSS members. The room also has complete runs of our journal, The Bureau Specialist and The United States Specialist, copies of every edition of the Durland Standard Plate Number Catalog, along with copies of all Society books, pamphlets and reprints. The walls of the room display plaques honoring winners of our annual Hopkinson Memorial Literature and Exhibition and Southgate Exhibition awards. Most importantly, the room features plaques honoring members for their service to the Society, including the Society Chairmen, Presidents, George W. Brett, Century of Service awardees and our Hall of Fame. At the dedication, Robert L. Markovits was inducted as the thirteenth member of the BIA/USSS Hall of Fame. Dr. K. David Steidley read Markovits’ acceptance. A video of Markovits himself accepting the honor can be found on the internet at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RAxaDKDtll8. The Hall of Fame tribute to Markovits is featured on page 488.
The three-day celebration event was a great success. If you have not had a chance to visit the APC, you may want to plan a trip to Bellefonte, as the APS has created a remarkable center for U.S. philatelic research and study.