American Philatelic Society

Joseph Britton Leavy

(March 7, 1872 – July 25, 1921) New York City, Washington, D.C.

Leavy is best known as the first “Government Philatelist” of the United States National Museum (Smithsonian Institution). During his eight-year tenure, he built the National Stamp Collection and arranged for its installation and exhibition to the public. He prepared a catalog of the Smithsonian Institution's collection, Catalogue of the Postage Stamps and Stamped Envelopes of the United States and Possessions Issued to January 1, 1919 (1919).

Leavy built several important collections, most notably of Belgium and the Netherlands. He wrote The Postage Stamps of Holland (XIX Century) (1912). Leavy was editor of The American Philatelist in 1918 and 1919.


George Maybee Martin

(June 18, 1906 – February 21, 1994) Spokane, Washington

Martin actively supported organized philately both nationally and in his Pacific Northwest. He served the many stamp clubs that make up the Northwest Federation of Stamp Clubs, which include clubs in the U.S. Pacific Northwest and in Western Canada. He was active in its annual Pacific International Philatelic Exhibition (PIPEX).

For his long service to the area, Martin was named NFSC Distinguished Philatelist in 1962. He was elected to the Washington State Philatelic Hall of Fame in 1966. In June 1986 the Yakima Valley Stamp Club honored him by calling its exhibition MARTINPEX, with a special post office cancel that described him as author, historian, philatelist and philanthropist.

Martin was a specialist collector of U.S. postal cards and edited the first U. S. Postal Card Catalog (1955) for the United Postal Stationery Society. He worked on subsequent editions for the next decade. Martin served the APS in many posts, including the Expert Committee, Recruiting Committee and the Speakers Bureau. He also was an accredited judge, and participated on many juries. He served as APS Counsel (later Senior Counsel) from 1965 until his death.

He was a founding member of American Philatelic Research Library and served as trustee for 14 years, until 1983. He also was a founding member of the APS Writers Unit 30 and served as its president from 1969 to 1973. In 1973, in recognition of his work with young collectors, the Junior Division of the Writers Unit presented him with a special Silver Medal bearing the Writers Unit logo. Martin wore this with pride at many philatelic events. He received the Luff Award in 1974 for Outstanding Service to the Society.


Charles J. Starnes

(April 26, 1912 – November 25, 1993) Michigan

Starnes was a distinguished student of U.S. postal history. His major specialty was on foreign mail usages. He built important collections, mainly of covers, reflecting these interests. One of his most important collections, postal history of the U.S. Department stamps, was stolen and never recovered.

Starnes wrote the seminal work, United States Letter Rates to Foreign Destinations, 1847 to GPU-UPU (1982, revised 1989). From 1975 to 1992 he was editor of the Foreign Mails Section of the Chronicle of the U.S. Classic Postal Issues, writing extensively on this and other subjects. He received the Luff Award in 1986 for Distinguished Philatelic Research.

James H. Baxter

(February 10, 1906 – September 2, 1995) Pennsylvania

Baxter was an active collector and student of postal history, and a life-long editor and printer. He was best-known as an expert on stamp engraving. His articles, “Printing Postage Stamps by Line Engraving,” appeared in The American Philatelist from November 1937 to September 1938 and received the APS Literary Prize in 1938. Baxter revised and expanded the articles into the book Printing Postage Stamps by Line Engraving in 1939. It was reprinted in 1981.

Baxter wrote a stamp column in the Chester (PA) Times, now the Delaware County Daily Times, for many years. He was a technical advisor to the National Philatelic Museum (Philadelphia) during the 1950s and '60s. Baxter edited the Postal History Journal  from 1958 to 1985. He was elected to the APS Writers Unit 30 Hall of Fame in 1986.


Charles C. Cratsenberg

(August 1, 1903 – January 27, 1995) Illinois, Arizona

Cratsenberg was an active collector and strong advocate of philately. He served the APS in many positions, including president in 1957-1961. During that time the APS made the important move of centralizing controls over its many functions to State College, Pa.

Cratsenberg also served as an officer in many philatelic organizations in his home areas. He was president of the Trans Mississippi Philatelic Society and held office in both the Iowa and Illinois Federations of Stamp Clubs. He was elected to the Arizona State Philatelic Hall of Fame in 1962.

Cratsenberg was one of the "Committee of Five" who led the APS effort to put the notorous forger Raoul Ch. De Thuin out of business. The story of their successful operation is presented in the APS publication, The Yucatan Affair (1974, reprinted 1980). He was one of the founders of the APS Writers Unit 30 and served as its president. He received the Luff Award in 1961 for Outstanding Service to the Society.


Dr. Gordon H. Torrey

(December 4, 1919 – March 28, 1995) Maryland

Dr. Torrey was a world-famous expert on and collector of the stamps and postal history of the Middle East, Imperial Russia and the Ottoman Empire. His collections won numerous medals and he served on the expert committees of both the APS and the Society of Philatelic Americans.

Torrey was elected vice-president of the Rossica Society of Russian Philately in 1968, became president-pro tem in 1972, and president from 1974 until 1992. He then served on the society's Board of Governors until his death. He wrote numerous articles for the society journal, Rossica.

He was an active participant in Washington, D.C. philately, serving as an officer of the local clubs. He was on the board of the annual NAPEX exhibition during the 1960s and 1970s. Torrey was also on the Board of Directors for SIPEX, the Sixth International Philatelic Exhibition, held in Washington, D.C. in 1966.

Joseph M. Clary

(January 18, 1905 – August 8, 1996) San Francisco

Clary was an active member and officer of the APS and a strong supporter of California philately. He held various elected positions in the APS, including director-at-large, over a span of 35 years (1955-1989). In his tenure as vice president (1957-1961), he oversaw the relocation of the Sales Division to State College, Pa.

Clary held offices and participated in the activities of San Francisco Bay Area stamp clubs and their exhibitions. He was a founder of the California Collectors Club in 1937. He was a director of the WESTPEX exhibition from its beginning in 1960, and was aptly known as “Mr. WESTPEX.”

From 1961 to 1979, Clary was chairman of the APS Convention Committee. Under his chairmanship, the APS decided to independently organize and arrange its own yearly conventions and exhibitions, under the name STaMpsHOW. The first such exhibition was the 91st APS Convention, held in 1977 in San Francisco. Clary was chairman of that show. In 1964, he received the Luff Award for Outstanding Service to the Society.


Pandelis J. Drossos

(May 4, 1900 – May 10, 1996) Greece

Drosses was known as "the Ambassador of Greek Philately." He was a world famous dealer, writer, and exhibitor of the stamps and postal history of Greece.

Drossos wrote his first philatelic article in 1920, won his first international medal in 1930 and became a full-time dealer in 1932. Throughout his career, he wrote prolifically on Greek and related stamps, and on Greek social and postal history. He was a commissioner for Greece for many international exhibitions from 1938 to 1970.


Jacques Minkus

(December 15, 1901 – September 17, 1996) New York City

Minkus was called “ the merchant prince of stamp collecting.” Postmaster General Arthur E. Summerfield called him “the man who brought stamps to Main Street.” He emigrated to the United States in 1929. In 1931 he established a counter stamp department in Gimbel's department store in Manhattan. He expanded his realm over the next 30 years, operating 38 department store stamp shops nation-wide by the 1960s.

In 1953 Minkus published his first New American Stamp Catalog and in 1955 the Minkus New World Wide Stamp Catalog. He published over one hundred different stamp albums. Minkus sold his business in 1966.

In 1966 the American Stamp Dealers Association presented Minkus with its Service to Philately Award. He received the Luff Award in 1993 for Exceptional Contributions to Philately.


Edward Boker Sterling 

(September 9, 1851 – November 29, 1925) Trenton, NJ

Sterling was a pioneer collector and student of U.S. stamps, most notably postal stationery and revenues. He became a collector in 1874 and published the first of a series of important catalogs of U.S. stamps in 1877. His fifth edition in 1888 became the standard reference work for U.S. revenues.

Sterling sold his collection of U.S. revenues to Hiram E. Deats in 1888 for $7000, an astonishing price for such material at that time. He then became a stamp dealer, making several important purchases of revenue material. The most important was the records and archives of Butler and Carpenter, Philadelphia security printers and engravers of both private and government revenue stamps for the U.S. Treasury Department. It contained essays, proofs and much collateral material and documents of U.S. Government issues and the private die proprietary stamps known as “match and medicine stamps.” He sold this material to Deats.

In 1890, Sterling and Deats made an incredible purchase from the U.S. Treasury of 213 tons (seven boxcar loads) of  “useless” material (obsolete documents) that contained numerous copies of  “Special Tax” stamps, mostly for liquor and tobacco products. Many of these stamps were uncancelled and had never before reached the hands of collectors. When the Government realized what it had sold, it seized and eventually destroyed nearly all of the material remaining in the hands of Sterling and Deats.

Leo August

(March 2, 1914 – December 4, 1997) New Jersey

August is a legendary figure in first day cover collecting. He and his older brother Samuel became stamp dealers in 1933 as the Washington Stamp Exchange in Newark, N.J. In 1939 their firm, Washington Press, created White Ace Albums and Art Craft cachets. During the next half-century they sold more first day covers and cachets than any other company.

In 1955, Leo August helped found the American First Day Cover Society, providing both moral and financial support during its formative years. In 1958, the Augusts established an annual first day cover award “for furthering the interests of the hobby.” In 1980 the AFDCS bestowed Honorary Life Memberships on both brothers. The Leo and Samuel August Memorial Award for best topical FDC exhibit is presented annually by the AFDCS.

August was a generous benefactor to the National Postal Museum in Washington, D.C. and established a number of exhibitor awards for national and local stamp shows. In his will, he made a large bequest to the American Philatelic Research Library. He received the Luff Award in 1990 for Outstanding Contributions to Philately and was named Man of the Year in 1997 by the ASDA.


Calvin Waters Christian

(September 8, 1905 – January 14, 1997) California

Christian was a noted collector, student and writer on the the U.S. 1861 series. He wrote extensively about U.S. grilled stamps, most notably a three-part series in The American Philatelist (1983) and a four-part series in the Bulletin (1986-1988) of the Philatelic Foundation.

“Bert” built an award-winning collection of the 1861 one-cent Franklin stamp. His extensive research and unpublished data were used and acknowledged by Don L. Evans “with contributions from C.W. ‘Bert’ Christian” in his book, The United States 1¢ Franklin 1861-1867 (1990).

Christian was an active member of many stamp clubs, most notably the U.S. Philatelic Classics Society. He was a vice-president, director and served as its president from 1988-1990. He was contributing editor for the 1861-1869 period for the Chronicle of U.S. Classic Postal Issues from 1973 to 1992. The USPCS awarded him its Chase and Brookman cups, and named him a Distinguished Philatelist. He received the Luff Award in 1993 for Distinguished Philatelic Research.


Robson Lowe

(January 7, 1905 – August 19, 1997) London

John Henry Robson Lowe was one of the most celebrated philatelists of his time. He established his stamp-dealing business in 1920, and became a stamp auctioneer in the 1930s. His company was the first to recognize postal history as a specialist category and he held regular postal history auctions from 1939.

“Robbie” was a serious student and collector of U.S. Carriers and Locals, both the genuine stamps and their numerous imitations and forgeries. He wrote extensively on them and supported the research and publications of other students, notably Elliott Perry and Donald Patton.

Among his many books was the Robson Lowe Encyclopedia of British Empire Stamps published in six volumes between 1948 and 1990. He received the Crawford Medal in 1974 for Encyclopaedia of British Empire Postage Stamps, Vol. V.

During his 80 years in philately, he sold stamps, built collections, wrote articles, edited journals, published books, spoke extensively and received nearly every honor given by organized philately. Lowe was inducted into the APS Writers Unit 30 Hall of Fame in 1980 and received the Luff Award in 1980 for Exceptional Contributions to Philately. He received the Lindenberg Medal in 1981. In 1991, the Royal Philatelic Society London made him an Honorary Member, the first ever for a stamp dealer.

Dorothy B. Blaney

(June 29, 1921 – May 12, 1998) Pennsylvania

Blaney was a leading activist in promoting programs that encouraged young future philatelists. When the U.S. Postal Service started the Ben Franklin School Program in 1976, Blaney, postmaster of Perryopolis, Pa. from 1972 to 1984, became one of the most active postmasters in supporting the program. She personally started over 700 stamp clubs in Pittsburgh, Pa. area schools. She served as an advisor to the USPS on how to improve the program and how to inspire USPS personnel and teachers to get involved.

After her retirement, she became the educational director for AMERIPEX 86, World Stamp Expo 89, and World Columbian Stamp Expo 92. Blaney spoke at over 1,000 workshops for junior collectors, parents, teachers, and Postal Service colleagues. She served as chair of the APS Youth Activities Committee and was the author of Tips for Promoting Youth Philately. In 1995 she received the Ernest Kehr award for these many accomplishments.


Charles Henry Coster

(July 22, 1852 – March 13, 1900) New York City

Coster was one of the first students of philately in America. Beginning in the 1860s as a teenager, he built the most important collections of his time of U.S. Carriers and Locals, postal stationery and forgeries.

He wrote a seminal book, The United States Locals and Their History (1877), published by J. W. Scott. It was reprinted by Scott in 1879, and in 1912-1914 in the United Stamp Company Herald. Coster expanded and improved his original work and it was published by the Belgian dealer J.-B. Moens in two parts (1882, 1885) under the title Les Postes Prives des États-Unis d'Amerique.

Coster wrote extensively on other topics during the 1870s and 1880s, most notably on U.S. Postmaster Provisionals, U.S. Special Printings of 1876, and postal stationery. He was the only American to present a paper at the Congrès International des Timbrophiles in Paris in 1878: “Les Timbres Semi-officiels ou Provisoires des États-Unis” for which he received a gold medal. Coster was America's most prolific philatelic writer of that era.


Dr. Robert Laurenson Dashiell Davidson

(January 11, 1909 – June 20, 1998) Missouri

Dr. Davidson was a distinguished philatelist who served the APS and the APRL in many areas. He served the APS as a director (1971-1976), chaired the Literature Committee for many years, and was the APS Historian. In that capacity he wrote a history for the APS centenary celebration in 1986. Davidson was an original trustee of the American Philatelic Resesarch Library and later served as its president.

“Larry” was an active member of the U.S.Philatelic Classics Society, writing for and editing its journal, The Chronicle of U.S. Classic Postal Issues. He was active in the philatelic activities of local societies in St. Louis and elsewhere in Missouri. He was also a Distinguished Philatelic Lecturer for the Smithsonian Institution. In 1985 he received the Luff Award for Outstanding Service to Philately.


John E. Foxworth Jr.

(April 6, 1932 – February 25, 1998) Michigan

Foxworth was one of philately's leading advocates in the late 20th century. He joined APS in 1960, and was an active member serving in many elective positions: director (1969-1973); secretary (1973-1977) and president (1977-1981).

Foxworth was a founder of the American Philatelic Research Library, and served as trustee (1969-1981) and as president (1985-1995). He was a founder and first president (1976-1977) of the Council of Philatelic Organizations. Foxworth was president (1976-1977) of the APS Writers Unit.

Foxworth served on the Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee of the U.S. Postal Service from 1984-1990. He received the Luff Award in 1983 for Outstanding Service to the Society.

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