By Michael Baadke
Four leaders in stamp and postal history research who have contributed significantly to the world’s store of philatelic knowledge are about to receive one of the field’s top honors.
Cheryl R. Ganz of the United States, Robert Abensur of France, Gustaf Douglas of Sweden and Geoffrey Lewis of Australia have been invited to sign the Roll of Distinguished Philatelists, which was established in 1921 by the Philatelic Congress of Great Britain.
The announcement was made March 31 by Chris King on behalf of the board of election to the Roll of Distinguished Philatelists.
The signing ceremony will take place in northeast England on July 27 during the Philatelic Congress of Great Britain, at the assembly room in Newcastle upon Tyne.
Ganz will join other recent past honorees from the United States including John Hotchner, Steven Walske, Roger Brody, Stephen Schumann, James Mazepa, W. Danforth Walker, Wade E. Saadi and Kees Adema.
After seven years as chief curator at the Smithsonian National Postal Museum in Washington, D.C., Ganz retired in 2014 and was named the museum’s curator of philately emerita. She had worked at the museum since 2005 and stepped into the lead role following the 2007 death of W. Wilson Hulme II.
Ganz was a driving force behind the development of the museum’s extraordinary William H. Gross Stamp Gallery. The gallery opened in 2013 and has been hailed as the largest and most innovative stamp display in the world.
Ganz has served in numerous leadership roles in the stamp hobby and as a board member of several organizations. In the 1990s, her interest in airmail and airship postal history led her to the presidency of the American Air Mail Society and membership on the board of the Federation Internationale des Societes Aerophilatiques.
She has shared her philatelic knowledge and research through award-winning exhibits, speaking engagements, several books and many engaging articles.
Ganz has authored or co-authored books on various philatelic and historic subjects, including Zeppelin Hindenburg: An Illustrated History of LZ-129 with Dan Grossman and Patrick Russell, published last May by the History Press; and Every Stamp Tells a Story: The National Philatelic Collection.
Her article “Women Collecting Airmail” was the cover feature for the April 16 Linn’s Stamp News.
Her exhibit of Hindenburg onboard postmarks won the 2018 single-frame Champion of Champions award at the American Philatelic Society’s Ameristamp Expo in Birmingham, Ala., making her the first woman to win the annual single-frame championship since the award was first given in 2000.
Her many past honors include the 2016 John N. Luff award from the American Philatelic Society for exceptional contributions to philately, and election to the Aerophilatelic Hall of Fame.
She currently serves as vice-chair of the United States Postal Service’s Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee.
Abensur is a recognized authority in the areas of rates and postal regulations, French post offices abroad and maritime post.
His exhibit of “Mail Routes and Rates between France and Foreign Countries by Sail and Steam 1828-1849” won gold with a special prize at World Stamp Show-NY 2016; he previously won large gold at the Notos 2015 international exhibition in Athens, Greece.
His book The Franco-Sardinian Route in International Relations (1818-1851) was published in 2017, and he has also published more than 100 articles in France and other countries.
Abensur has served as president of the Academie de Philatelie in France since 2002, and he was appointed in 2009 to the rank of chevalier dans l’ordre des Art et des Lettres.
Douglas, a leading Swedish industrialist, is a specialist collector of Sweden and Finland. He upgraded his classic Sweden collection in 2013 when he obtained the Treskilling Yellow error of color (Scott 1a), the only known example of the 1855 3-skilling stamp printed in a color other than its normal blue green.
“His monographs are always of the highest standard and he has attained gold and large gold medals in international exhibitions since 1971,” the roll board of election reported.
Douglas gave a presentation of his “Golden Collection of Swedish Philately” before the Royal Philatelic Society London in 2013 and was recognized with the society’s Tilleard medal. He also received the Strandell medal, Sweden’s highest philatelic recognition, in 2014.
Douglas is co-author, with Tomas Bjaringer, of Sweden Number One, published in 2005. He has also written numerous articles and worked as part of the Facit catalog committee. He is currently head patron for the Stockholmia 2019 exhibition.
Lewis served for 15 years as president of the Philatelic Society of New South Wales and has been appointed a member of the Australian Philatelic Order.
His postal history studies have focused on the Spanish Philippines, Cuba, New Orleans, and stampless mail entering Spain.
In 2000, he published The Postal History of the Spanish Philippines 1565-1898 with co-author Donald Peterson of the United States. A fellow of the Royal Philatelic Society London, Lewis was awarded the society’s Tapling medal in 2009.
His book The 1836 Anglo-French Postal Convention was published by the society in 2015, and his exhibit “New Orleans Postal History Stampless Mail” won large gold at World Stamp Show-NY 2016. In all, Lewis has won large gold with five different postal history exhibits in FIP (International Federation of Philately) exhibitions.
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The roll board of election reports that prior to this year’s invitees 380 philatelists from 40 countries have signed the Roll of Distinguished Philatelists.
King George V was the first signatory to sign the roll.
Jane Moubray, a former president of the Royal Philatelic Society London, is chair of the board of election, serving with board members Tomas Bjaringer, Christopher Harman, Alan Huggins, Rolf-Dieter Jaretzky, Robert Odenweller, Christopher King and Raymond Todd.