2023 MUELLER AWARD
Henry Scheuer’s “How the Earliest Collectors Sought Out First Days” published in two parts in the November and December 2022 issue of The American Philatelist has been selected as the 2023 Barbara R. Mueller Award winner.
Henry B. Scheuer started collecting United States first day covers in 1959 and began acquiring older material in 1965 Over the last 45 years, he has written many articles, addressed numerous philatelic groups, and has been involved in various aspects of creating and collecting covers. Henry is a 25-year member of the American Philatelic Society and has been a member of The Collectors Club, the United States Stamp Society, and the American First Day Cover Society for many years. He has previously won the Mueller Award in 2017 for his 2016 article “Kansas-Nebraska Overprint Stamps: Why, Where and When They Were Initially Sold.”
Scheuer’s article, “How the Earliest Collectors Sought Out First Days,” Part I and II of which appeared in November/December 2022, was written for the 100th anniversary of first day cover collecting. At the end of 1921, the Philatelic Sales Agency was formed, and in 1922 began the widespread coordination and promotion of new stamp issues – allowing for the similarly widespread preparation by collectors of first day covers. In celebration of this centenary, Scheuer talked about the “before-times” – how our philatelic predecessors collected designated first day usages in those earliest decades of stamp issues.
In the spirit of celebrating the 100th anniversary of modern first day cover collecting, I will note that for our philatelic forebears, collecting first day of issue/usages was an entirely different beast than what today’s FDC collector experiences. The covers shown in Part 1 are almost entirely the work of prominent Washington, D.C. philatelists, because they had the foreknowledge, proximity, and physical access to use these new issues as soon as they were available. Today, first day covers proliferate – a very good thing for the many collectors who create them and seek them out to collect. Despite the differences between the earliest first day collectors and modern, the motivations are much the same – to be a part of documenting philatelic history.