US Stamps

APS fiscal strength continues, executive director tells board

Feb 4, 2020, 4 PM
A review of current finances and a discussion regarding future plans were among the topics on the agenda of a meeting of the American Philatelic Society board of directors held Feb. 4 via telephone.

By Michael Baadke

The American Philatelic Society board of directors conducted a meeting by telephone Feb. 4 to discuss the society’s current finances and its plans for the future.

The nearly hour-long meeting included multiple reports from APS executive director Scott D. English.

English began by introducing Jeff Krantweiss, who is joining the APS staff as chief administrative officer. Krantweiss is replacing the retiring Rick Banks, who joined the staff in 2004 as controller and director of internal operations.

Krantweiss spent nearly 13 years as controller of a software company, leaving last year when the company decided to relocate.

The fiscal news relayed by English was upbeat. The society retired more than $1.8 million in bank debt last year, with less than $2 million ($1,959,000) in debt remaining.

The operating budgets for the APS and its sister organization, the American Philatelic Research Library, ended the year better than expected, with the APS surplus at $78,000 better than projected, and the APRL deficit coming in at $81,000 better than expected.

“Our cash balances for both organizations remain very strong,” English told the board.

And while the recently discontinued winter show for the society has historically lost money, the 2019 show in Mesa, Ariz., finished $9,000 better than budget.

The 2019 summer show in Omaha, Neb., also performed well, with a $22,000 surplus, or $17,000 better than budget.

Stamp circuit mail sales also continue to be cash positive.

English noted that some areas have performed less strongly, including revenue generation from the society’s monthly magazine the American Philatelist, the American Philatelic Expertizing Service, the society’s website and Internet sales through its APS StampStore, which lost $30,000.

The stamp sales platform is about to undergo some changes, English explained, including a new StampStore interface that will be live by April 1, and fee restructuring.

“The changes will improve sales experience and provide more options to sell on the site,” English said in a written report provided to the board.

APS membership numbers declined again in 2019, with a loss of 868 members for the year, ending at 28,009.

The number reflects 511 more members than projected at the beginning of the year, and English spelled out three initiatives designed to bolster those membership numbers.

The 2020 Challenge is an offering of three free life memberships in a competition to recruit 2,020 APS members during 2020.

In an effort to stem losses during the first year of membership, a restructuring of dues for new members who apply between July and September will tack on dues for a full year of membership along with the first partial year.

Beginning April 1, the APS will introduce a digital-only membership for applicants under the age of 30 at $25 a year, in an effort to bring in more younger members.

“We have more members over 90 than we do under 40,” English told the board.

After relating that many of the society’s longest-tenured members joined when they were relatively young, English said, “We’re trying to find ways to encourage younger participation again.”

The board passed a resolution to honor APRL technical services coordinator Betsy Gamble, who is retiring at the end of this month after nearly 16 years on the staff.

Among other society business, the board voted to rename its annual dealer award to the John Walter Scott dealer of the year award.

Scott (1845-1919) was a prominent stamp dealer who served as APS president from 1917 until his death two years later. He was also the founder of the Scott catalog line, which is part of Amos Media Co., which also publishes Linn’s Stamp News. Scott was admitted into the APS hall of fame in 1941.

“This is a really nice change, to give it … in memory of a very prestigious past president of the APS, John Walter Scott,” said board member Peter P. McCann, who is also a former APS president.

Near the end of the meeting, English outlined plans to review various APS policies for possible revision, including standing resolutions, bylaws and the operating agreement between the APS and the APRL.

English will review these matters with the participation of relevant board members and committees, including the society attorney and the APS and APRL treasurers.

Recommendations will then be presented to the board at future meetings.

The next scheduled APS board meeting will take place April 23 in Burlingame, Calif., prior to the start of the Westpex stamp show and exhibition.

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