By Jay Bigalke
The American Philatelic Society and American Philatelic Research Library boards held a telephonic joint meeting Nov. 14. APS board of vice presidents member Patricia “Trish” Kaufmann and APRL president Steve Zwillinger called the meeting to order.
The meeting lasted slightly less than one hour and included farewells to APS expertizing director Mercer Bristow and librarian Tara Murray, budget discussions, and other items.
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APS president Mitchell “Mick” Zais did not preside over the meeting. As reported in Linn’s Oct. 23 issue, Zais was nominated for the role of deputy secretary of education by President Donald J. Trump. Zais’ confirmation hearing before the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee meeting was held Nov. 15. If confirmed at a later date by the Senate, he will resign from the APS board. APS executive director Scott English explains that because Zais is a presidential appointee, the “Ethics in Government Act has been interpreted to prohibit him from serving on any boards.”
Society attorney Kathleen Yurchak reported on two items. The first is the pending litigation of APS member Donald D. Price’s request to have a substantial donation returned. During her last report to the board, Yurchak stated, that the APS had appealed the earlier decision and that the matter is moving through court with a status conference scheduled for Nov. 15.
The second item centered on the Regency-Superior auction house and David Kols. Yurchak said, “As you know the auction house has closed down, and that’s not the end of the story. Many of our members have consignments with Regency or are owed money because of sales that have previously occurred.
“I have reported to members on the status of that and will do anything I can to help them. However, it appears that Regency is terribly underwater, and there is some significant secured loans and their financial reporting appears to be very problematic.
“So as I said I would be happy to report further to the members, if there are any questions, but it doesn’t look good in terms of making members whole if I had to speculate on that.”
A copy of the letter to the APS that Yurchak prepared was posted to the APS website in early November.
APS chief operating officer Ken Martin shared that UN Expo 17, which took place Oct. 27-28 in Bellefonte, Pa., was considered a success. The show did not lose money and had successful exhibits and seminars.
Martin reported that Ameristamp Expo 2018 in Birmingham is in need of dealers for the show. The show has approximately 25 dealers so far and is is hoped that there will be at least 15 more.
APS executive director Scott English shared in his report that as of Sept. 30 the APS has a $118,000 surplus on the year. He noted a major contributor to this surplus were stronger numbers in circuit sales and internet sales.
English revealed that the shows and exhibitions department was behind budget by $14,000 on the year and expressed his concern at the historical performance of the Ameristamp show that “has been a consistent revenue loss for the APS for years.”
He also indicated that the shows manager position, previously held by Megan Orient, will be eliminated and that Ken Martin, along with Kathleen Edwards, will continue to manage shows.
On the membership front, the society reported having 29,437 members, 1,110 fewer than the same time last year. They continue to prospect members from the World Stamp Show-NY 2016 mailing list and other sources.
For the Campaign for Philately fundraiser, a total of $357,000 has been raised to date. This is an increase over the previous year of $76,000, with a major contributor to the increase being the stamp soiree dinner in Richmond. A similar dinner is planned for Stampshow 2018 in Columbus, Ohio.
English reported an APS website redesign is tentatively scheduled to be unveiled by late February, with a possible walkthrough at the Ameristamp Expo 2018 show.
The APS also conducted a dealer survey this year and recently posted a document detailing the results on the APS website.
English also shared that Mercer Bristow, director of expertizing, will retire Dec. 31. Tom Horn will step into that role starting Dec. 6 to provide a transition.
The American First Day Cover Society and the APS are in negotiations to co-host Stampshow 2020 in Hartford, Conn. English said the societies hope to have something to announce by Ameristamp Expo in February.
APS treasurer Bruce Marsden indicated a unanimous adoption of the budget.
He noted one wrinkle in the numbers relates to cashflow of the APRL. The repayment of one of the loans “is more rapid,” Marsden indicated, and changes were suggested. Rick Banks provided a detailed look at the specific ways the boards are going to address this situation. One of these items included a suspension of interest payments on the $550,000 loan between APRL and APS. The loan was created to address an unexpected expense for a fire suppression system during the construction of the APRL library space that opened in October 2016. The interest from that loan will continue to be reported.
APRL treasurer Ken Nilsestuen shared that “the process has been pretty thorough before the finance committee meeting,” and he said he supports the budget.
Both boards approved the budget unanimously.