It has been quite a year. We began 2021 with great trepidation. The health situation, worldwide, was difficult. None of us had been vaccinated and we had yet to learn what a variant was. Nevertheless, as a club we persevered. We held 24 Zoom programs, connecting all of us at home with each other and our great hobby. With the return of some in person shows, we had a presence at three major stamps shows, and provided four programs. Finally, too, we were able to hold an open house at our clubhouse on 22 E 35th Street. Many of you recognized these efforts and we saw growth in membership we hadn’t seen in decades.
As we now look forward to 2022, we expect a return to a new normal. A careful normal, a responsible normal. It is unlikely we will return to the normal of February 2020. Our program schedule for the year is set. We will have 26 programs in the coming year and of these, 7 will be live from the club house. Every one of our programs will be streamed live to everyone. This allows so many of our members who do not live close to our clubhouse to enjoy their membership and connect with members through our programming. We are also looking forward to a single-frame competition to be held at the clubhouse, a Governors Open House in December, and an extremely special Lichtenstein dinner to be held on May 4th at the Harvard Club. We fully expect 2022 to be a very special year of accomplishment and your Board of Governors is very excited about the year to come. We are also very conscious that the threat of COVID remains, but it is our expectation that we will truly learn to live and find ways to connect and enjoy our hobby together responsibly as we return to a new normal.
On other fronts, perhaps a brief word of update is in order regarding the marketing of our premise at 22 E35th and our exploration of Manhattan real estate. As we write this, we can report that the building marketing has been active. A great deal of interest has been demonstrated and number of potential buyers have viewed the building. From this, there are a number of interested potential buyers and we are hopeful we will receiving meaningful offers. Transactions of this nature are more complicated than those we may be familiar with in residential real estate. Typically, architects and lawyers have to be engaged to survey the site and advise on fit out and zoning. All of this takes time. We are confident that our efforts will yield offers worth our consideration.
While the building has been marketed, we have also explored potential new sites for our club, and we remain confident that a suitable site can be found and at a price that will be financially responsible and represent an upgrade above and beyond our current circumstances. Geographically, we are limiting ourselves to the same general vicinity of our current club house. Specifically, we will stay within the same general area in Midtown, that is between Penn Station and Grand Central Terminal. In this way, we will ensure that visitors will be within a short walk of either of those terminals. Viewing properties, we know we can find a suitable new home for our club. Please also rest assured, we would not make any form of commitment on a new location until the status of 22 E 35th is clear and close to definitive.
Before we finish this letter, it is with pride that we point out that this issue is volume 100 number 1. This is the one-hundredth anniversary of this journal! It is time to pause and recognize the contribution that this journal has made to philately over the course of the past century. One of my favorite treats is to randomly select an issue for the past, download this issue and immerse in a portal to the past. It’s great fun and there are innumerable delights in store. I invite you to do the same. But, we need to do more than read articles printed in the past, we also have to support this journal by making contributions. Certainly, we welcome your efforts to provide major articles, but it need not necessarily be a major article. In our last issue we introduced a new series, “Essential Elements” and we urge you to contribute.
In the very first issue of this journal, Vol 1 No 1, the editor, H. L. Lindquist wrote “A few months ago a small group of loyal members met to decide upon the future of the Collectors Club.” Nothing has actually changed, our focus and attention remain on the future of this Club and we trust that one hundred years from today that our successors will thank us for our efforts today.