Largest U.S. national stamp show Aug. 20-23 in Grand Rapids, Mich.

Apr 28, 2021, 5 AM

The American Philatelic Society will present Stampshow, the nation’s largest annual postage stamp event, Thursday, Aug. 20, through Sunday, Aug. 23, in Grand Rapids, Mich. at the DeVos Place Convention Center, 303 Monroe Ave. NW.

The show will offer a bourse of more than 120 dealers, many meetings and seminars, and more than 15,000 pages of collectors’ exhibits.

The Champion of Champions exhibition gathers the grand-award winners from the national-level World Series of Philately shows over the past year to vie for the title of 2015 Champion of Champions.

Show hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free.

The United States Postal Service, Marshall Islands Postal Service Authority, and United Nations Postal Administration will issue new stamps during special first-day ceremonies at Stampshow.

The ceremony for the two U.S. World Stamp Show – NY 2016 forever stamps will start at 11 a.m. Thursday.

At 12:30 .p.m. Thursday, UNPA will host a first-day ceremony for its UNICEF — End Violence Against Children stamps.

At an 11 a.m. ceremony Friday, the Marshall Islands will issue the final pane of stamps in its five-year series marking the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II.

At each of these first-day ceremonies, a free ceremony program or cover will be provided to attendees, and ceremony dignitaries will be available to provide autographs.

In addition, U.S. Postal Service Acting Director of Stamp Services Mary-Anne Penner will host a first-ever public forum at the show at 11 a.m. Friday.

Three of America’s rarest postal items, including the 1918 Jenny Invert (Scott C3a), a pane of 50 of the 1962 Dag Hammarskjold Invert (1203a), and the earliest-known U.S. presidential “Free Frank”, by George Washington, will be on display at the show.

In addition to these rarities, there will be more than 900 exhibit frames displaying competitive and educational stamps, and philatelic materials.

A special display presented by the U.S. Postal Service Museum in Marshall, Mich., will feature antique mail vehicles, including a circa 1900 rural mail sleigh, a 1931 Model A mail truck, a 1950 city carrier bicycle, and a 20th-century city delivery cart.

The more than 120 domestic and international dealers with booths at the show will buy and sell stamps and other philatelic items ranging in price from a penny to tens of thousands of dollars.

Harmer-Schau Auction Galleries Inc. and Regency-Superior will conduct live auctions over the course of the four days.

For the bargain hunter, several special booths at Stampshow will sell all items for $1 or less. At Stamps by the Bucket, youth (under age 16) will be able to pick through thousands of stamps, filling a bucket for only $1, while adults pay $5 for a bucket.

The popular “Stamps In your Attic” program,  a free service available each day of the show, will assist individuals with identification and evaluation of philatelic items.

Stamp designer Chris Calle has created the official APS Stampshow cachet for 2015. Calle is credited with designing more than 200 worldwide postage stamps, including at least 25 for the USPS. Calle will be available for autographs at the APS booth.

Calle also will teach one of the dozens of seminars available for free to the public throughout the weekend. Called “Stamp & Cover Design,” this event will be held at 4 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 22.

A number of other artists will be present with their original work at the cachetmakers’ bourse on Saturday from noon to 5:00 p.m.

A few of the other featured speakers at Stampshow include: Janet Klug, APS past president, at the Tiffany Dinner at 6:30 p.m. Thursday (reservations required); Daniel Piazza, curator of philately at the National Postal Museum, providing a preview of the museum’s “Freedom Just Around the Corner” exhibit at 2 p.m. Friday; and Fred Levantrosser of the Peninsular State Philatelic Society speaking about Michigan postal history at 1 p.m. Sunday.

Youth can learn about collecting, compete for prizes, design stamps, play games, and find items for their stamp collections in the youth area.

Adults interested in learning more about the basics of collecting can attend “Stamp Collecting 101” on Saturday from 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. This beginner course introduces collectors to the tools and techniques involved in handling, preserving and storing a collection. The cost is $20 ($15 for APS members) and includes a starter collecting kit.

Local museums in Grand Rapids will host the following special philatelic exhibits concurrent with Stampshow: the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library and Museum, with selections from the president’s collection; the Grand Rapids Public Library, with the Alexander Calder commemorative stamp collection; and the Grand Rapids Public Museum, with “Collecting A-Z” featuring “S is for Stamps.”

An anticipated 5,000 people from throughout the United States and abroad are expected to attend the show.

APS Stampshow is sponsored by the United States Postal Service, and is hosted by the American Philatelic Society. Complete event details are available at the APS website, or by writing the American Philatelic Society at 100 Match Factory Place, Bellefonte, PA 16823. Additional questions may be directed to 814-933-3803, extension 217.