US Stamps

Nicholas Lombardi wins 2023 Champion of Champions award

Aug 22, 2023, 8 AM
Nicholas Lombardi’s exhibit “The 1903 Two Cent Washington Shield Issue” won the top exhibit prize in the Champion of Champions competition at the 2023 Great American Stamp Show in Cleveland, Ohio. Photographs by Jay Bigalke.

By Jay Bigalke

Nicholas Lombardi was named the Benjamin and Naomi Wishnietsky World Series Champion of Champions award winner at the 2023 Great American Stamp Show Aug. 10-13 in Cleveland, Ohio.

The prestigious award recognizes Lombardi’s 20th-century exhibit, “The 1903 Two Cent Washington Shield Issue,” as the top national exhibit of the past year.

Lombardi’s exhibit was one of 24 qualifying exhibits in the Champion of Champions competition.

Each exhibit qualified by claiming a grand award at an American Philatelic Society-sponsored national stamp show during the past exhibiting cycle, which ran from July 2022 through June 2023. These national shows are called World Series of Philately shows.

All the exhibits were on display at Great American Stamp Show and entered into the competition.

Lombardi’s exhibit qualified after winning the grand award at the 2023 Plymouth Show, part of the World Series of Philately, held April 29-30 in Westland, Mich.

He received his Champion of Champions award at the Great American Stamp Show’s annual celebration banquet on Aug. 12.

Lombardi’s exhibit, as explained in the introduction, expounds on the significance of the 1903 2¢ Washington Shield issue:

“Because this stamp was intended to pay the domestic first class letter rate, more than twenty-two billion Washington Shield stamps were produced between 1903 and 1908 in a variety of formats, some of which such as coils and perfins, came about for the first time. This period was also one which witnessed a number of significant changes in rates and the handling of mail matter, both domestic and foreign. Thus the Washington Shield stamp became one of the pivotal issues of the twentieth century.”

Among the many other top exhibiting awards presented at Great American Stamp Show were the 2023 youth Champion of Champions award to Christina Esbeck for “Cupcakes,” the open competition grand award to Nicholas M. Kirke for “The Evolution of Outbound Foreign Mail Cancelled in New York City 1845-1878,” the single-frame grand award to Jean-Jacques Tillard for “La Surcharge SPM Gothique de 1885,” and the literature grand award to Jay B. Stotts for The United States Fourth Bureau Issue 1922-1938.

Mark Thompson’s exhibit “Women of the Black Heritage Series - From the Fields of Slavery to the Halls of Congress” was chosen as the most popular exhibit at the show.

Jean Wang won the grand award in the American Topical Association’s National Topical Stamp Show for “Blood: A Modern Medicine.”

The ATA was a co-host of the Great American Stamp Show, and its National Topical Stamp Show was part of the event.

The American First Day Cover Society also was a co-host, and its Americover multiframe grand award went to William Kelly for “The Iwo Jima Stamp of 1945 - Its First Days, Cachet Variations & Use.”

For additional information and the complete list of exhibit award winners, visit the APS website.

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