Dollar-Sign Stamps by Charles Snee
For five glorious days, I attended the American Philatelic Society’s Summer Seminar on Philately held June 24-29 in Bellefonte, Pa. This annual gathering serves up a delightful blend of education, history and philatelic camaraderie.
For my third summer seminar (I had attended twice before, in 2002 and 2010), I took dealer Irv Miller’s entertaining and informative course “How To Detect Damaged, Altered and Repaired Stamps.”
Miller provided excellent hands-on experiences to help his students spot problems such as thins, regumming, repaired tears, reperforations and so on.
My preparation for summer seminar commenced weeks before I arrived, when I gathered materials needed for my course and determined which electives and other events to attend.
Another task to complete was sending in a few items from my collection for the seminar auction held June 26.
Because of a bit of procrastination on my part, I sent my lots via Express Mail to ensure they would arrive in time for inclusion in the auction.
I used a pair of $2 Jenny Invert souvenir sheets (Scott 4806) to satisfy most of the required $24.70 postage. Internal APS docketing at lower left indicates that I was “seller 24” in the auction.
Among the many highlights of this year’s summer seminar was participating in the first-day ceremony for the three Statue of Freedom stamps held June 27 at the American Philatelic Center. Both the APS and the American Philatelic Research Library call the center home.
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In mid-May, Scott English, APS executive director, asked if I would speak at the ceremony for these attractive dollar-denominated stamps.
It was the first time I’d been invited to be an official participant at such an event. “Sign me up!” I replied.
It was an honor to assist with the unveiling of the stamp designs and share some of my boyhood collecting memories with an audience of fellow philatelic enthusiasts.
Following the conclusion of the ceremony (and the obligatory photos), my fellow participants and I gathered at a table to autograph programs and other assorted memorabilia.
Most attendees first visited the U.S. Postal Service booth, set up inside the American Philatelic Center lobby, to buy Statue of Freedom stamps and affix them to the inside of the program, before having them canceled with their respective first-day postmarks.
As each attendee moved past our table, we added our autographs to the left-hand page of the program.
You can see the final result in the second illustration, which pictures a two-page ceremony program opened out to show the three Statue of Freedom stamps properly affixed and canceled at right, along with autographs of the five ceremony participants on the left page.
Such items always find a place of honor in my collection — particularly when the stamps are pleasing to the eye.
To share stories about dollar-denominated U.S. postage stamps and postal history, write to Dollar-Sign Stamps, Box 4129, Sidney, OH 45365; or email firstname.lastname@example.org.