Staff and Contributors Biographies

David Alderfer, author of the monthly Great Britain column in Linn's Stamp News, began collecting the stamps of Britain in 1978, after purchasing a page of Victoria Jubilee issues at a sidewalk sale. Over the years, his interests extended to the Machin definitive series and, most recently, to Victorian postal history. The classic simplicity, the bright colors, and the numerous variations of paper, gum, perforations, phosphor arrangements, and shapes and sizes of the Machin stamps kept him so involved that he has become an expert in the series. Alderfer says, "Collecting stamps is relaxing, never-ending and fun. A perfectly enjoyable hobby."

Linn's editor Michael Baadke began his journalism career in 1975 as a writer and staff editor for The Michigan Daily in Ann Arbor. He joined Linn's Stamp News as a staff writer in February 1993 and was named senior editor at Linn's in April 1996. In March 2001 he became editor of Scott Stamp Monthly, and was named editor of Linn's in November 2007. Baadke collects stamps of the United States and Denmark, as well as German stamps and postal history. He also maintains a topical collection on the subjects of beer and brewing, and collects stamps and other philatelic objects featuring designs engraved by the artist Czeslaw Slania (1921-2005). Baadke's 392-page book Linn's Complete Stamp Collecting Basics was published by Amos Hobby Publishing in 2004 and is now in its second printing.

Jay Bigalke, associate editor of Linn's, collects United States stamps, first-day covers, ceremony programs, and also used Japanese stamps (including prefectures). He also collects and exhibits the United States Scenic American Landscapes series airmail stamps. Bigalke is a member of the American Philatelic Society, the American First Day Cover Society, the American Ceremony Program Society, and others. He also enjoys traveling to stamp events around the United States and hopes to some day attend an event in each of the 50 states and the U.S. territories.

Lloyd A. de Vries, Modern First Day Covers columnist, collects unusual FDCs, mostly modern, mostly U.S., but the weirder the better. He also produces his own FDCs for selected issues. De Vries has moderated online stamp collecting forums since 1993, and currently hosts the Virtual Stamp Club, at www.virtualstampclub.com. He is presently secretary of the American Philatelic Society, a director of the American First Day Cover Society, a member of the Writers Unit council, president of the Philatelic Computing Study Group and a member of many other stamp-collector societies. De Vries has worked for CBS News for the past 20 years, 17 of them in network radio and the last three at CBSNews.com. In his spare time, he plays trombone and euphonium in community bands, which may explain his partiality toward music-related first-day covers.

John Hotchner, a Linn's writer since 1977 and a contributing editor, is the author (since 1987) of the weekly U.S. Notes column. He collects the United States in depth and worldwide EFOs (errors, freaks and oddities), and exhibits stamp separation methods, U.S. auxiliary markings, the 1934 U.S. and Great Britain Christmas seals, and Hubba Hubba handstamps on Korean War military covers. Hotchner is a national and international stamp show and philatelic literature judge, the founder or cofounder of six ongoing national stamp groups, and an expertiser for U.S. material. He was a 16-year member of the APS board of directors, including serving as the APS president from 1997-99. He is currently vice president of the American Association of Philatelic Exhibitors and a member of the National Postal Museum's Council of Philatelists. He served on the Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committtee from 1998 to 2010. He retired from the U.S. Department of State in May 2008, and is now a consultant on terrorist mobility with the interagency Human Smuggling and Trafficking Center.

Janet Klug is a lifelong stamp collector who has formed several general worldwide collections. She concentrates on the stamps and postal history of South Pacific countries, such as Tonga, Samoa, Australia and New Zealand. Klug is an accredited philatelic judge and former president of American Philatelic Society. She is chairman of the Committee on the Accreditation of National Exhibitions and Judges.

The same aunt who interested Bill McAllister in journalism gave him his first stamp album, a Minkus beginner album in 1952. His interest then and now has remained U.S. stamps, especially first-day covers and programs. He began his pursuit of first-day programs after covering a first-day ceremony for the 1987 Girl Scout stamp in Washington. That ceremony prompted him to write a weekly stamp column that appeared in The Washington Post and other newspapers for 12 years. McAllister joined Linn's as its Washington correspondent in 1996 and has continued his interest in reporting how individual stamps are created and the intense lobbying for their approval. He also enjoys getting behind the scenes of the U.S. Postal Service, one of Washington's biggest federal agencies. To McAllister how the mail moves – or sometimes doesn't move – is almost as interesting as the stamps that the agency produces.

Denise McCarty, senior editor of Linn's, was introduced to the hobby after she joined the staff of Linn's in 1981. Although she doesn't define herself as a serious collector, she has small topical stamp collections of rabbits and rock stars from the Beatles-era onward, and a few pieces of postal history from her hometown of Brookville, Ohio.

Michael Rogers, Linn's Asia columnist, is a noted Asia expert and stamp dealer. He has been a stamp collector since age 7 and a stamp dealer since age 10. Rogers passionately collects Ethiopia and has a 21-volume specialized collection. He also collects Great Britain and is developing an interest in Yemen. He often collects an area to better understand it, then sells the collection as it nears completion and starts over on a new or related area.

Deborah Eve (D.E.) Rubin has been writing puzzles for Linn's since 1988. Like many people, she started collecting worldwide stamps when given an album and some stamps as a childhood present. Although not familiar with the concept of topicals at the time, she rapidly started putting stamps showing horses and related items –– then and now her primary interest –– in a separate album. Rubin discovered over the years that the knowledge she gleans from the worldwide collection was helpful in her schoolwork, from grade school right through graduate school. Gradually, she started focusing on the stamps of just a few countries, primarily the United States, and horses. That quickly became just U.S. stamps and later other topicals. Today she collects only U.S. Love stamps and any others that particularly strike her fancy, and still focuses on her topicals. These include all stamps equine and equestrian, collies, pansies, guppies, archery, Maryland-related stamps; the 1964-65 New York World's Fair, Expo '67 (in Montreal); Disney World in Florida, any stamps or first-day covers issued on the day and month of her birth (from her birth year on). The challenge with topicals, she feels –– especially very narrowly focused topics –– is to first find out what stamps are available, then to locate the stamps. As she gradually has given up her more physical hobbies, she's found stamp collecting to be a way to still participate in them

William F. Sharpe, author of the Computers and Stamps column and the Stamps on the Internet column, has written for Linn's since 1983. He also authored Linn's Guide to Stamp Collecting Software and Collecting on the Internet. He started collecting in the 1940s with a Modern Album. Country interests include the United States and Australia. Topical stamp interests are lighthouses, trolley cars, and, of course, computers on stamps.

Sharpe is a member of the American Philatelic Society and the American Topical Association. He has served as treasurer of the Philatelic Computing Study Group and maintains the web site for the Math Study Unit. Although retired, he teaches computer science courses part-time at a community college and includes relevant stamp images in his syllabus and assignment sheets.

Les Winick, contributing editor of Linn's, specializes in stamps related to the space theme and the gorgeous country of Iceland. He is a qualified national and international judge and a gold-medal exhibitor. Winick served on the American Philatelic Society board of directors, is president of the Collectors Club of Chicago, was awarded top honors by the APS and American Topical Association, and has written several books and monographs on philately. He also is known as the man who blew the whistle on the astronauts who carried mail to the moon, and he found time to direct the largest stamp show ever held in the United States, Ameripex 86.