US Stamps

APS board meeting report: slightly behind budget, new education initiatives and director, Boston 2026 stamp issue coming

Mar 21, 2024, 2 PM

By Jay Bigalke

On March 19, the board of the American Philatelic Society met virtually to give an update on the organization. In attendance were approximately 60 people, in addition to the APS board and its staff.

The topics discussed included the 2024 budget, membership, the new digital magazine StampEd, education, the philatelic estate of Alfred F. “Al” Kugel (1930-2022), the hall of fame, and general society updates.

In his executive director’s report, Scott English detailed the 2024 budget activity for the first couple of months of the year. He reported an operating loss of about $6,400 so far this year, but said that was better than budget by $2,360.

According to English’s report, the general budget is lagging by $17,000 and circuit sales by $7,400. He said that January wasn’t a good month for circuit sales, but added that they were stronger in February.

Internet stamp sales have been doing well to start the year at $10,300 better than budget. Also, membership income is $4,100 ahead of budget (not due to new members, but savings on expenses).

The current membership count of the APS is 25,629, with 228 new member applications. Digital memberships are at 3,053, with 127 new member applications.

English said that new membership applications were not quite what he expected. The APS is continuing to promote digital membership, but people appear to want a print magazine, he added.

Next on the agenda was the new digital-only publication StampEd, which launched in February. The first issue had 5,760 people read it, and 630 copies of the issue were downloaded.

The APS has received $14,470 in fundraising for StampEd this year, and advertising revenue for the first issue was $3,450. English noted that the ad revenue was higher than expected, and the society has $20,000 budgeted for the year for expected advertising income.

The society plans to continue to promote StampEd through awareness campaigns, the Virtual Stampex show and various community-building events.

Discussed next was an online learning platform and education initiatives. The platform is called Learning without Limits, and according to the APS, it will always be available “not limited by location, time or physical abilities.”

Also, it was revealed that the APS has a new education director, Shaun McMurtrie, who has been an APS member since 2014.

McMurtrie replaces Eric Spielvogel in that role. After the meeting, Linn’s asked English about Spielvogel’s departure. English declined to provide a comment about the personnel change.

The new education initiatives being planned will hit four goals according to English: no limits, consistent, education 365 (days of the year) and relevant.

The APS said it has a new donor for its new online learning platform, with more information to be announced at a later event. The target audiences for the platform are beginners, intermediate and community.

“All I’m asking folks to do is be patient with us and so that we can restart our education mission in a different way,” English said. “And then be able to start backfilling live events to go in behind that.”

An update was provided on the Kugel estate, which was reported in the March 25 issue of Linn’s. The first sale is slated to be conducted in June by Cherrystone Auctions.

After English’s report, the board entertained a request for a waiver of the three-person limit for inductees into the APS hall of fame with a request to allow four inductees this year. That motion was approved unanimously.

A revised joint investment policy, which had already been discussed at great length by the joint finance committee, was brought to a vote. That proposal was also approved unanimously.

English then gave some general updates on the society, including the announcement of a new tenant, Pennsylvania Highlands Community College, at the Match Factory complex that houses the APS and the American Philatelic Research Library.

At the end of 2021, the vacant tenant space was 60 percent. English was happy to report that now the available space is only 22 percent.

Among the updates about the Great American Stamp Show to be held Aug. 15-18 in Hartford, Conn., was that although all the hotel blocks are full, rooms were still available at one of the properties. Details can be found online on the APS website.

English reported that the U.S. Philatelic Classics Society and the Royal Philatelic Society London are planning a joint exhibition of 100 frames to be shown at the Great American Stamp Show in 2025 in Schaumburg, Ill. The show dates are Aug. 14-17.

At the end of the Zoom meeting, APS president Cheryl Ganz asked if there were any additional items. Boston 2026 Expo president Yamil H. Kouri Jr. came on camera and revealed that the United States Postal Service is planning to issue a stamp for Boston 2026 at the 2025 Great American Stamp Show.

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