The Collectors Club is a group of more than 750 people who have come together to further the study of philately, promote the hobby and provide a social, educational, and non-commercial setting for the enthusiastic enjoyment of our common passion.
Founded in 1896, the Club counted among its members the leading—even legendary—names in philately. Today's membership is no exception and includes some of the hobby's best-known collectors, exhibitors, and authors. The vast majority of our group, however, are "regular" collectors who have one thing in common—a thirst to share their enjoyment of the hobby and a desire to learn more about collecting among others who take philately seriously.
Our physical "heart" is the Club's landmark five-story brownstone, designed by famed architect Stanford White, located at 35th Street and Madison Avenue in New York City. A $1 million renovation was completed in 2001 to ensure that the Clubhouse will meet our needs now and well into the future. While the majority of our members are from the tri-state area, others come from throughout the US and many foreign countries.
I would like to express the Club’s belated congratulations to member George Kramer who received the Grand Prix d’Honeur for his exhibit on U.S. Domestic Mails 1776-1869 at BRAZILIANA 2013 this past November. A photo of George, a member of the Show Committee and the Award are shown herein. We have watched George’s wonderful exhibit develop over the past many years, and were pleased to see that it has received its just recognition. Beyond exhibiting, George has been a mentor to many of us as we were developing our own exhibits. While I was working on my Guadeloupe exhibit, which he carried to the Paris and Washington International Shows, he commented to me a number of times that the opportunities to get key pieces for collections often only occur once during the collection’s development, and if you fail to act when the opportunity strikes, you will forever regret it. Fortunately I was able to apply George’s good advice to my collection, though I required some unusual financing at times, and the rest is history.
This winter has been particularly hard on the Club. For the first time in years we have had to cancel two lectures because of snow storms, and the almost complete collapse of transportation on the east coast. I am happy to note that the lectures of Bill Schultz and Alan Warren will be rescheduled, so please be sure to check the web site for updates. The winter has also taken its toll on the Club House. As of this writing (mid-February) we have lost about one-third of the electric power at the Club house due to salt corrosion on one of the three power lines coming into the house. Con Ed was not able to perform an immediate repair. However, they have done a temporary fix which will provide power to all regular circuits throughout the building, save for the elevator. This service will be restored once Con Ed has a chance to do the appropriate digging and repairs to the lines buried outside of the house. We are on their ‘to do’ list. Updated details on the Power Saga are now recorded on the Club’s web site which interested members may visit. The situation proved much more complex than any of us ever imagined, and Con Ed proved up to the task. I am happy to report that full power has been restored as of the end of March.
Plans for the PNSE Show are moving forward rapidly at this point. We will be contributing more than one hundred frames to the exhibition; we will maintain a Club Booth at the Show; Dr. Vernon Morris will present the Collectors Club Lecture on Saturday afternoon; and we will be having a Club dinner on Saturday evening after the awards are given out. All will be history by the time you read this, but consult the web site for the list of exhibits and the awards and other show details.
Speaking of the web site, I have noted that we hope to redo it in the near future. If any of the readers have suggestions of things that they would like to see on the web site, or are aware of pitfalls that we should definitely avoid, please feel free to contact me via email as soon as possible with your thoughts and suggestions.
Finally, I would like to direct your attention to a new posting on YouTube by the NPM on stamp collecting. Not only is it well done, but it features a number of the members of the Collectors Club Youth Stamp Group talking about their interests in stamps and stamp collecting. Kudos to Debby Friedman for her work with the younger generation.
Kudos to Consolidated Edison
On Friday, February 14th the Club experienced a partial power outage wherein about one-third of the circuits in the house were without power. This included the elevator. Con Ed was called, and they were able to institute a temporary fix such that we had full power in the house save for the elevator. They planned to return later and do a complete fix of the problem. At about two o’clock in the morning on February 19th (the day of Ralph DeBoard’s talk at our regular meeting) the Club lost all power. Con Ed was informed of the situation. They had a crew at the Club by six in the morning, and they began work on the repair.
As is often the case, the situation got worse as we learned more about it. When they went into the tunnel under 35th Street to gain access to our power lines, they found the area was covered with what appeared to be mud and debris, a not unusual situation. A special cleaning crew was called in to help, and they came with an apparatus appropriately named the Sucker Truck. An attempt to remove the material covering the access to our power lines showed it to be, not mud and debris, but road tar, that had somehow entered the tunnel. The Con Ed crew had not encountered this situation before. A Jack-Hammer crew was called for, but given the damage done to the city’s infrastructure because of the many weeks of bad weather this winter, they were not readily available.
It looked like DeBoard’s lecture was in jeopardy, and that we needed a back-up plan. While we were working on such, the Con Ed crew, now numbering five members, developed their own back-up plan. They decided to access a manhole twenty five feet further east on 35th Street, and bring temporary full power to the building via new surface lines. Appropriate cable was ordered and promptly arrived, and the crew began to construct the new cable system. Within an hour the new cable system was created, dressed and safely routed from the manhole across the sidewalk and along the front steps of the adjacent building and into the basement of Number 22. At 5:20 p.m. the lights began to come on. Some phasing adjustments were required to get the elevator going. We had our regular cocktail and snack time before the meeting, time to review Ralph’s wonderful collection before the regular start of the meeting and enjoyed an on-time start to Ralph’s lecture on ‘Postmarks From Paradise: The Postal History of Tahiti.’
Kudos to Con Ed for staying with us for the whole day and enabling us to start the meeting on time in a warm and well-lit Club House. They will be back presently to effect the full and proper repair. Also special thanks to our employees Melissa Hayes and Irene Bromberg who went the extra mile to hold the fort during this crisis, and coordinate the activities of Con Ed. Melissa even discovered the secret code to bypass the standard phone maze employed by Con Ed before you can reach a live person. Interested parties will have to talk to Melissa on this one.
A series of photos shows some of the Con Ed activities during the long day, and may be of interest to the general membership.
Philadelphia National Stamp Exhibition (PNSE)
With the success of NOJEX 2013 behind us, the Board of Governors has agreed that we continue our presence at national level stamp shows. I am most pleased to announce that we will be participating at the Philadelphia National Stamp Exhibition (PNSE) of 2014 to be held in Oaks, Pennsylvania during the weekend of April 4-6, 2014. We will feature Collectors Club competitive exhibits and lectures at the show, and will also maintain a Collectors Club Booth at which to meet members, prospective new members and guests.
PNSE is one of the major APS World Series of Philately shows along the Northeast Corridor, and will provide an excellent opportunity for Collectors Club exhibitors to qualify not only for the 2014 Champions of Champions competition in Hartford, but also to qualify their exhibits for World Stamp Show – New York 2016. With more than 200 exhibit frames available, this will be a wonderful chance for Club members to display their diverse material to a wide audience, and show that the Collectors Club is an all encompassing group of collectors. Complete information on the PNSE Show, an exhibit Prospectus and an Exhibit Entry Form are available at the show’s web site (www.pnse.org) for your convenience
In addition to the regular PNSE show awards, three special Collectors Club awards will be given at this show. They will be for the best Classic U.S., Modern U.S., and Foreign exhibits by Club members, with long-term recognition on the new Multi-frame Competition Plaque displayed in the Clubhouse. Exhibits that have previously won one of these awards, will not be eligible for this competition.
A special Collectors Club dinner is being planned to help celebrate this event with further details to be announced as the show draws closer.
PNSE will also provide meeting rooms and audio-visual equipment for all speakers who would like to share their collecting knowledge and passions with fellow collectors. Please let us know if you would like to give a presentation at PNSE. This is another opportunity to show the collecting public that the Collectors Club is a diverse and welcoming organization. Additional details about the show, including special hotel rates, also can be found on the PNSE website. Updates on our participation will appear on the Club’s web site.
I am asking all club members, particularly those along the Northeast Corridor, to consider submitting an exhibit to this show, and participating in what I am sure will be a momentous event.
Edward Grabowski, President
One Frame Exhibition – November 6, 2013
We were pleaseed to have twenty-two entries in the 2013 One Frame Exhibition. As is usual, the entries covered the gamut of philately, from the very best of one frame exhibits seen in any competition, to presentations by members illustrating areas of their interest without regard to being serious contenders for the top awards. My sincerest thanks to all of the exhibitors for making this another overflow event, with the frames and the room filled beyond normal capacities (Figure 1).
Lombardi captured the Grand
Award for his
exhibit entitled: The U.S. Three Cent Jackson Stamp of the 1902 Series.
As Nick noted in his summary presentation, the three cent Jackson stamp
was issued as a utility stamp to be used in combination with other
issues of the 1902 Series to make up unusual combination rates. As
such, it saw little use, and makes an excellent choice on which to
build a one frame exhibit. An example of an exceptional use of this
stamp was shown on Nick’s title page. A pair of the three cent Jacksons
was used to pay the six cent due charge on the British post card shown
in Figure 2. At first I was confused by the reason for the due charge
on this card. However, a blow-up of the printed instructions on the
card revealed that the small message space on the front of the card
could only be used for inland messages. Messages to overseas
destinations had to be written on the reverse of the card. The outcome
of the sender’s failure to read the instructions and the arrival
office’s decision to use postage stamps for the amount due is this
marvelous piece of postal history.
Reserve Grand Award went to
Mark Schwartz who continued with his
study of the state of Massachusetts with his exhibit entitled: The
Postal Markings of Newbury and Newburyport, Mass. During the Stampless
Period: 1755 – 1855. The purpose of the exhibit was to illustrate the
postal markings used by the colonial and United States Post Offices in
these two entities on stampless mail until the requirement for the use
of stamps in January 1856. Illustrative of the excellence of Mark’s
exhibit is the cover shown in Figure 3. It is one of four known (one is
in an archive) with the straight line NEWBURY hand stamp of 1775.
It is the only Newbury postmark known after Newburyport was
carved out of Newbury in 1764, as this new and very small town included
the area where the Newbury post office was situated. Originally it was
thought to be a marking from the Goddard Post, it is now recognized as
one of the last group of Royal hand stamps used in the Colonies.
Larry Lyons received an Award of Merit for his
America’s First Stamp Design, The United States City Despatch Post:
August 16, 1842 – November 28, 1846. This exhibit is yet another
example of Larry’s long-standing enchantment with United States Locals
and Carriers. In this study he noted that this stamp was the first
adhesive stamp used in the United States and the first used under
authority of the U. S. Post Office Department. The exhibit began with
the unique August 16, 1842 first day of use of this stamp. The Hon J.
W. Middendorf also won an Award of Merit for his study of Classic
Hawaii. Clearly the judges were impressed by the rarity and quality of
the material in this exhibit. Ambassador Middendorf has supported this
Club activity in past years. We hope that he will not only enter an
exhibit next year, but be able to come to the meeting. I am certain
that there are many younger members who would delight in meeting him.
John Pedneault won an Award of Merit for his
exhibit: The Irishman
Always Writes Home. In the past John has presented numerous exhibits on
the Irish overprints, an area in which he is one of the world’s
experts. This year he decided on a change in approach, and showed one
frame on postal history written to Ireland which was replete with
numerous rarities. My personal favorite was his example of a Ballon
Monte from the Siege of Paris sent home to Ireland. Also, a special
note of thanks to John for once again taking care of the mounting and
dismounting of the exhibits for the evening. The final Award of Merit
went to Roger Brody for his exhibit entitled Jamestown 1907: Essays and
Proofs. After his recent work on ‘In Cahoots’, we were unsure of what
Roger would come up for this year. He finally went with a more
traditional exhibit which featured Essay Drawings, Essay Die Proofs,
Approval Die Proofs and Posthumous Die Proofs to complete the story of
the beautiful Jamestown Issue.
this year’s Friendship Cup
was Ed Mendlowitz with his exhibit
on Early Years as a Cover Collector and Dealer (1953 – 1967). To the
best of my knowledge, this was Ed’s first attempt at a one frame
exhibit, and he clearly caught the attention of the attendees. Ed chose
to do a very personal exhibit telling the viewers about his personal
joy in building a collection of United States Presidential Inauguration
Day Covers. To capture his view of rarity and American history, he
showed the Harry S Truman inauguration cover from April 12, 1945 shown
in Figure 4. It was postmarked at Victory, VT on the appropriate day
and signed by Mr. Truman. The inscription, which notes that Truman was
the 33rd President of the United States, was corrected by Mr. Truman to
the 32nd President, reflecting the fact that Cleveland served two
nonconsecutive terms and Mr. Truman felt that he should not be counted
twice. Malcolm Forbes previously noted that he possessed a document
written by Truman stating this position, and Ed’s inauguration card
confirms this view.
Member Keith Stupell enjoys the J. W. Scott exhibit.
most unusual exhibit in this
year’s competition was presented by
one J. W. Scott and it was entitled: 20th Century United States Gems
and Rarities. This exhibit highlighted a number of ‘rarities’ that have
yet to receive catalog recognition. Keith Stupell is shown in Figure 5
enjoying one of the pages in this exhibit. My eye was caught by
pages 2, 3 and 4 of the exhibit which show the unreported no-capsule,
double capsule and reversed capsule varieties of the of the 1962
Mercury Capsule stamp. This exhibit continued in this fashion for the
full frame and provided a delightful ending to one of our most
successful One Frame Exhibitions. Thank you Mr. J. W. Scott! As usual,
awards will be presented at next May’s Awards Banquet.
Edward Grabowski, President
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