By Michael Baadke
The American Philatelic Society board of directors has approved a change that signals the end of Ameristamp Expo, the APS stamp show and exhibition that has hosted the society’s winter board meeting and general membership meeting for the past 20 years.
The board convened in a general session conducted by telephone on April 17.
As reported in the March 12 Linn’s Stamp News, a proposal to end the society’s annual winter show was discussed during the February 2018 Ameristamp Expo in Birmingham, Ala. Although board members appeared reluctant to continue the Ameristamp Expo show series, they also deferred making a definitive decision to end it.
APS executive director Scott English told the board at the February meeting, “We need to end the winter show,” citing financial losses the society suffered in 13 of the previous 19 winter shows.
With no decision from the board one way or another, English informed the board in Birmingham that he did not plan to search for a venue for the full show in 2020.
Plans are already underway to hold what will be the last Ameristamp Expo, Feb. 15-17, 2019, in Mesa, Ariz.
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During this week’s telephone meeting, English sought to resolve the issue once and for all by proposing a way forward.
His suggestion: to change the name of the society’s annual January-to-April meeting to “spring meeting” rather than “winter meeting” and hold an in-person board meeting and general membership meeting as part of a locally organized show that operates during the months of January through April.
Benefits of this change, English said, include allowing the board to continue to meet in person at least twice yearly, and providing APS members with an opportunity to meet the board and staff with the same frequency.
The plan also promotes the hobby, according to English, “by bringing the national organization to different geographical locations on an annual basis.”
Discussion in the April 17 meeting included a suggestion by APS vice president Jeff Shapiro that the time span for eligible local meetings be expanded through May rather than April.
Shapiro also serves as treasurer of the Northeastern Federation of Stamp Clubs, which sponsors the Boston-area Philatelic show in early May. The board agreed to Shapiro’s suggestion.
Still unresolved is the fate of the single-frame Champion of Champions competition held each year during the annual APS winter show.
The single-frame exhibitors from the past year who have won the grand award at a national show compete in the Champion of Champions competition to select one winner as the year’s top exhibitor in that category. That exhibition and competition has been taking place annually at Ameristamp Expo.
English explained that the future of the single-frame championship will be decided by the American Association of Philatelic Exhibitors.
“That is something they’re working on,” English told the APS board.
English will now begin the process of finding a show that will agree to host the society and fulfill its need for facilities to hold a board meeting and a general membership meeting.
“I will generate a letter out to all of the show organizers and give them a deadline to respond back to us so that we can make a decision for 2020,” English said. He added that he would make note that the society expects to take this same action for future spring meetings, so if a show is not selected for 2020, it still could be up for consideration at a later date.
The board also discussed upcoming nominations for president of the International Federation of Philately (FIP). Nominations are closing June 1, and the board took no action after discussing the situation.
In other business, the board agreed to revise language in an APS bylaw regarding the suspension of a member charged with a crime.
The new language, approved by the board, reinforces an existing practice that previously was not clearly spelled out. The executive director in certain circumstances will suspend a member in writing pending resolution of a criminal charge, and will notify the board of vice presidents, which may then choose to take additional action.