Auctions

Donna Houseman

APS donates half a million stamps; Regency-Superior demise causes heartache

June 20, 2017 09:00 AM

  • Israel issued a 2.20-shekel stamp in 2003 to commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day (Scott 1514). The American Philatelic Society has donated 500,000 canceled stamps to a Massachusetts school for art projects related to Holocaust education.

Editor’s Insights — By Donna Houseman

Hearing that half a million stamps are being given to students who will cut up and essentially destroy many of them can strike horror in the hearts of stamp collectors.

Stamps are to be cherished, treasured, and above all else, protected.

As stamp collectors, we go to great lengths to protect our stamps. We sometimes buy albums and stamp mounts that are more costly than the stamps themselves to make certain that our stamps have the safest environment in which to reside.

So when we hear that the nation’s top stamp society, the American Philatelic Society, gave thousands of stamps to schoolchildren for the purpose of cutting the stamps and slathering glue on them, we shake our heads and ask, “What are the APS leaders thinking?”

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In a story on Linns.com, we reported that the APS donated 500,000 canceled postage stamps to Foxborough Regional Charter School for use in its Holocaust Stamps Project.

APS executive director Scott English delivered 16 boxes of United States and worldwide stamps to the school in Foxborough, Mass., southwest of Boston.

Thousands of the stamps are being trimmed and shaped to create 18 collages.

Describing one project, the charter school’s website explained: “The students spent nearly every day for five months counting, placing and gluing the hundreds of domestic and international stamps to fit the outlined design created especially for them.”

The school has a goal of collecting 11 million stamps, with each stamp intended to honor the lives of “six million Jews and five million other victims [of] intolerance who perished during the Holocaust.”

In answer to the question, “What are the APS leaders thinking,” they likely believe that to expose children to stamps in any way possible is a good thing.

Let’s face it, kids today, in this world of emails, electronic banking, and social media, might go through life without ever seeing a postage stamp.

If cutting and pasting stamps to create collages exposes children to stamps and teaches them a profound history lesson, a few thousand stamps might be a small price to pay for introducing children to stamps.

Regency-Superior

Two letters in this week’s Letters to Linn’s point out the heartbreaking impact the closing of Regency-Superior Auctions has had not only on the auction house’s owners, David and Penney Kols, but also on collectors who consigned material to the company’s auctions.

The closing has been devastating to some collectors who consigned stamps that ultimately were sold by Regency-Superior but for which the consignor received no payment.

A reader sent to Linn’s an email that he received from the Kols’ attorney, David M. Dare of Herren, Dare & Streett in St. Louis, Mo.

In the email, Dare states, “Regency has ceased operations and does not have any assets. Their senior secured lender has taken possession of all of its collateral and is liquidating all of the assets to pay down Regency’s debt to that bank.

“The most likely scenario is that the senior secured lender will take a substantial, million dollar plus, loss on its loan to Regency. There are other lenders with a security interest in the assets of Regency who will probably receive nothing. …”

The unfortunate consignors likely spent many years of their lives building treasured collections. They consigned the collections to a respected auction house, with the expectation to receive fair compensation for the items that were sold.

Instead, their stamps have gone on to new owners who paid for their purchases, and the consignors are left with nothing.

It is a tragic set of circumstances for the Kols family, who are struggling with David’s ongoing health problems, but also for collectors who consigned their prize possessions and received nothing in return.

Linn’s will continue to follow this story, but bankruptcy proceedings can last for many years, and the consignors whose stamps were sold will likely never be made whole.