American Philatelic Society

Hubert Clayton Skinner


Hubert Skinner was a scholar of nineteenth-century United States philately with a special focus on cancellations, stampless mail, Confederate States of America, and New Orleans postal history. Other areas of study included New York foreign mail cancels, Canada cross-border mail, plating of the New Orleans postmaster provisionals and the U.S. 1851 and 1869 issues. His editing and writing in these fields reflect his many years of personal research and study. He contributed significantly to revising the American Stampless Cover Catalog and the New Dietz Confederate Sates Catalog and Handbook. He was co-editor of the latter with Erin R. Gunter and Warren H. Sanders.

Skinner built several outstanding exhibits that garnered national Gold and international Large Gold awards, and he was a frequent competitor in the APS champion of champions exhibitions. He was an accredited APS judge. From 1978 to 1980 he co-edited with Edward Jackson the American Philatelic Congress books. For the U.S. Philatelic Classics Society he was section editor of the 1851–1861 issues for The Chronicle. The USPCS recognized him with the Ashbrook Cup (1991) and the Distinguished Philatelist Award (1992). The Confederate Stamp Alliance bestowed several exhibit awards in addition to the August Dietz Award for research and writing (1979 and 1986) and the Haydn Meyer Award for outstanding service (1999).

His service to local philately included president and board member of the Crescent City Stamp Club and being a driving force in the annual Philatelic Happenings in New Orleans. He served the APS on the board of vice presidents (1973–1977) and as treasurer (1977–1981). Skinner was a trustee of the American Philatelic Research Library for thirty years (1975–2005). He received the John N. Luff award for distinguished philatelic research in 1994. And in 1997 he was elected to the Writers Hall of Fame.

Charles John Peterson


Charlie Peterson will always be identified with philatelic literature. His relentless efforts with FIP and APS brought about the concepts of competitive literature exhibitions and the criteria by which these materials are evaluated. He set high standards in journal quality by editing the APRL's Philatelic Literature Review (1969–1983) and the United States Philatelic Classics Society's Chronicle of the U.S. Classic Postal Issues (1993–2005). He was a mentor to authors and editors and provided a critique service that vastly improved the quality of new works. Although he collected stamps and postal history, his collection of philatelic literature was immense.

Peterson compiled cumulative indices for several major long-run journals including The American Philatelist, Airpost Journal, Aero Philatelist Annals, and the Penny Post. He was twice president of the Writers Unit 30 (1981–1983 and 1991–1995), president of the FIP philatelic literature commission (1973–2000), director of FIP (2000–2008), president of the American Philatelic Research Library (2001–2005) as well as treasurer and a trustee, and a member of the APS board of vice presidents (1999–2001). He served on many APS committees including translation, international, fund-raising, and the accreditation of national exhibitions and judges.

An accredited APS judge and chief judge, Charlie also served on thirty international exhibition juries, often as team leader. He was a director and jury chair of Washington 2006. He received the John N. Luff award of the APS in 1988 for exceptional contributions to philately, and again in 2006 for outstanding services to the APS. In 1991 he signed the Roll of Distinguished Philatelists. Some of his many additional honors include the Lichtenstein award of the Collectors Club of New York (2008), the Lester G. Brookman Cup (2003) and Distinguished Philatelist award (1992) of the U.S. Philatelic Classics Society, and the silver pin for research and literature of the Bund Deutscher Philatelisten.

William H. Bauer


A graduate of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Bill Bauer obtained his Master's Degree from the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Colorado. A stamp collector since childhood, he fell in love with Colorado Postal History, which became his lifetime pursuit as a serious philatelist. He spent his working life as a geologist for the Standard Oil Company (later AMOCO), relocating many times to sites across the country.

Bauer was deeply involved in organized philately and, in the 1970s, most especially with the Crescent City Stamp Club in New Orleans, Louisiana, where he served as president and co-organizer of Nopex, the CCSC's national stamp show. While in New Orleans, Bauer joined with fellow New Orleans collectors Henry Frenkle and Hubert Skinner to be elected as one of the three members of the American Philatelic Society Board of Vice Presidents. In 1981 and 1983, Bauer was twice elected president of the APS. In 1986, he was one of the seven members of the founding council of the newly-organized American Association of Philatelic Exhibitors. He had been one of the original group of APS accredited judges in 1971 when the accreditation program began. He was instrumental in compiling and writing all editions of the APS Manual of Philatelic Judging. He traveled throughout the world judging national and international exhibitions.

Bauer's love of philatelic literature translated into his devotion to the American Philatelic Research Library where he was a founding member, a trustee for twelve years, and a Daniel Vooys Fellow. While pursuing his interest in Colorado postal history he became a founding supporter of the Rocky Mountain Philatelic Library and the Colorado Postal History Society.

In 1987 Bauer received the John N. Luff Award for outstanding service to the APS, the highest honor given by the APS to living collectors. With close friends, Jim Ozment and Jack Willard, Bauer collaborated in publishing the definitive book, The Post Offices of Colorado, in 1971; a second edition was published in 1989. Prior to his death, Bauer had nearly completed work on an exhaustive history of the Colorado Postal System, the culmination of countless trips to past and present post office sites throughout the state.

Karl Heinz Schimmer M.D.


One of the great authorities on the philately of Mexico, Karl H. Schimmer grew up in Germany where he became an anesthesiologist and, at the end of World War II, a translator for the U.S. Army. Emigrating to the United States in 1953, Schimmer became deeply involved for the rest of his life in Northern California philately.

Beginning in the early 1960s, he developed advanced collections of the stamps and postal history of the 1868 and 1872 issues of Mexico while also focusing on the Hidalgo Medallions, Large Numerals, the Mulitas, the 1899–1903 issues, and Porte de Mar. A life member and past president (1976) of the Mexico-Elmhurst Philatelic Society International (MEPSI), he wrote more than sixty articles and books, the latter including The Postmarks of Mexico 1874–1900 (1977), The Cancellations of Mexico 1856–1874 (1983), and 1895–1899 Mail Transportation Issue of Mexico (1995). Along with co-author John Heath, he wrote the monumental Mexican Maritime Mail: A Postal History from Colonial Times to the 20th Century (1997).

Schimmer received the APS John N. Luff Award for distinguished philatelic research in 1988 and was admitted to the International MEPSI Hall of Fame. Other awards include the MEPSI Distinguished Service Award, the Irwin Heiman Award for Philatelic Research, and the Heinz Messtorff Award for Outstanding Contributions to Mexican Philately. Schimmer was chairman of the MEPSI Expert Committee and its first chairman of the board (1980). He was a member and past president of the Collectors Club of San Francisco, a Fellow of the Royal Philatelic Society, London, and a Deputy Sheriff of the Arizona Philatelic Rangers.

Schimmer also successfully exhibited many philatelic exhibits winning Gold medals at many national and international shows over a 35-year span.

William Lee Welch Jr.


William L. "Bill" Welch edited The American Philatelist from 1985 to 2001, during which time he improved the magazine's design, use of color, and diversity of articles and authors. At Capex 1996 the journal was the first one to receive a Gold medal at a comprehensive FIP exhibition. The honor was repeated at Pacific 97.

Bill was a founding mem­ber and trustee of the American Philatelic Research Library and edited its quarterly journal, Philatelic Literature Review, from 1986 to 2001. With the help of Gini Horn he organized the International Philatelic Libraries Association. He worked for many years with L.N. Williams to revise, update, and publish as a book the formerly serialized Fundamentals of Philately (1909) written by the Williams brothers. Similarly he supervised the editing, serialization, and republication in book form of The Serrane Guide: Stamp Forgeries of the World (1998).

In his own area of Central and South America collecting, Bill Welch co-founded the International Seebeck Study Group and edited its journal The Seebecker. He also founded the Peru Study Circle and edited its journal El Trencito. He helped organize the APS Summer Seminars in Philately and taught several of its courses. Welch was elected to the Writers Hall of Fame in 1995 and received the Luff award for outstanding service to the APS in 2002.

After graduating from Pennsylvania State University he joined the Centre Daily Times daily newspaper where he rose to executive editor and acting general manager before retiring in 1985. Bill Welch was elected mayor of State College in 1994 and served in that office until his death.

Charless Hahn


Charless Hahn was a highly respected collector, exhibitor, and philatelic writer. His major accomplishment, and possibly a record at that, was to write the weekly stamp column in the Chicago Sun Times for forty-five years. As an 11 year old collector and working with his father, Charless entered the stamp dealing business during the recession in the 1930s with the catch phrase “C. Hahn for stamps.” The young entrepreneur took out advertisements in Linn’s Weekly Stamp News and continued to do so for more than sixty years.

Hahn developed a number of advanced collections and exhibits. He created gold medal exhibits of Scottish locals and their cancellations and also the Mulreadies. He also maintained an outstanding reference collection on British postal markings. Another gold exhibit focused on freight money letters of the United States and resulted in his articles on this subject in the U.S. Philatelic Classics Society’s Chronicle. His extensive philatelic knowledge stimulated Hahn to write frequent letters to the editor to correct information.

For a brief time, Hahn was editor of The American Philatelist and Weekly Philatelic Gossip. For many years, he contributed an annual philatelic article in the World Book Encyclopedia Yearbook. He was active in organized philately and was in charge of press relations for AMERIPEX 86, held in Chicago. Hahn served as president of the Collectors Club of Chicago from 1980 to 1984. He also was named the first chairman of its Committee on Publications, setting high standards for printing and publishing handbooks that continue to this day. Hahn co authored, with Ritchie Bodily and Christopher Jarvis, the CCC’s first book, British Pictorial Envelopes of the 19th Century (1984).


Louis K. Robbins


Louis K. Robbins, known only as “Lou” throughout our hobby, became deeply involved in philately as a teenager, and maintained that passion throughout his nearly 100 years of life. A world-renowned collector, with a passion and specialty for worldwide special delivery material, he started collecting stamps in 1926 at age 14. While still in high school in New York City, he started working as a volunteer at the Collectors Club library on weekends. He was befriended by, and worked with, two famed New York dealers, Herman “Toasty” Toaspern and Irwin Heiman. He worked with both until the war broke out, when he enlisted in the army. All of his life he claimed “Toasty” as his mentor and teacher.

His knowledge of stamps and philatelic literature grew dramatically as he entered adulthood. After the war he joined his brother Phil in a wholesale business supplying the stamp trade. In time he became a lot describer, manager of an approval business, an auction agent, and finally opened his own auction firm.

He went on to become the leading auction dealer in philatelic literature of his day. Writing in 1975, he noted:

Greater philatelic knowledge brings greater satisfaction to the collector, as well as added value to a collection. More than one informed collector or dealer has made a worthwhile find as a consequence of learning about some variety from a handbook or periodical article.

These words are taken from the introduction of his very first sale of philatelic literature in 1975; such specialized sales continued through 1986. They summarize and symbolize Lou Robbins’ lifetime passion for promoting the writing, publication, and distribution of articles, books, and journals for the stamp collecting hobby. He served for a time as one of the editors of the Scott Catalogues, and always applied his energy and resources for the betterment of the hobby. He always had time to talk with anyone who approached him in want of information he had stored in his head.

Robbins served as a consultant to, and trustee of, The Philatelic Foundation, and at his death held the prestigious title of “Honorary Member” of the Collectors Club (NY).

For more than eighty-five years, “Lou” loved, talked about, and promoted every aspect of stamp collecting. He was our mentor and teacher.


Frederick Burton "Bud" Sellers


Bud Sellers was a major force in national and international organized philately, devoting more than fifty years to serving the hobby. He joined the Collectors Club of New York in 1947 and served in several offices, including four terms as president and a total of twenty-one years on the board of governors. He assembled one the finest collections of Haiti, and his exhibits won national gold and international large gold medals. He wrote extensively on Haiti philately, was published in the major journals, and served as president of the Haiti Philatelic Society.

Bud served twenty-two years on the American Philatelic Society’s board of directors in various offices including twice as president (1985–1989 and 1991–1993). He was founding chairman of the APS speakers bureau. He received the APS Luff award twice — for exceptional contributions to philately (1983) and for outstanding service to the American Philatelic Society (1998). In 1991 he was elected to the Writers Unit Hall of Fame.

Other offices that Bud Sellers held included founder director of the American Academy of Philately, director and vice president of the American Philatelic Congress, trustee of the Philatelic Foundation, and director of the Postal History Foundation. In addition to being an accredited national chief judge and an FIP judge, he was president of INTERPHIL 76 in Philadelphia and president of the jury of PACIFIC 97 in San Francisco. In 1988 he was nominated by the APS and elected vice president of FIP, a position that he held for twelve years.

Bud was a fellow of both the Royal Philatelic Society London and the Royal Philatelic Society of Canada. He received the Collectors Club’s Lichtenstein award in 1977 for distinguished service to the hobby, and then went on to give three more decades of leadership and service. He was invited to sign the Roll of Distinguished Philatelists in 1986.

Bernard Bertram Durkin Harmer


Bernard Harmer was a pioneer in the philatelic auction business and a scion of the legendary auction firm established by his father Henry Revell Harmer. He entered the family business during the Depression. Following his volunteer work in the London Fire Service in World War II he moved to the United States and headed up the firm’s New York office for thirty-seven years. During his employment both in London and the United States, he was involved with major sales of Arthur Hind, Hans Lagerloef, Alfred H. Caspary, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Maurice Burrus, Louis Grunin, John R. Boker, Louise Boyd Dale and Alfred F. Lichtenstein among many other famous properties.

As the Harmer firm continued to expand, Bernard took on additional responsibility for offices in San Francisco, Australia, and Switzerland. In 1982 he decided to turn the New York operation over to his son Keith and daughter Alison, and returned to England as chairman and managing director of Harmers of London Stamp Auctions Ltd. In 1991 the London business was sold and Bernard retired. In 2004 he returned to the United States to live. Bernard collected a somewhat obscure aspect of Victorian postal stationery so that he would not be seen as competing with his customers. He also collected Barbados, Granada, and SCADTA. He served on the board of governors of the Collectors Club of New York, was an advisor to the Philatelic Foundation’s expert committee, and was a member of the board of directors of INTERPHIL 76, the international exhibition held in Philadelphia. He was awarded the Philatelic Foundation’s Mortimer Neinken medal in 1990 for meritorious service to philately.

Bernard Harmer’s dapper appearance and keen wit were his trademarks. He was intent on developing strong bonds through personal attention to his major clients, resulting in a level of trust and confidence that brought these collectors back to his firm when it came time to sell, either by private treaty or at auction. Together with his older brother Cyril and other family members, Bernard continued to build the business to become the twentieth century’s best-known philatelic auction house.


Roger Glenn Schnell


As an author, exhibitor, judge and commissioner, Dr. Roger G. Schnell of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida was recognized nationally as well as internationally for his major achievements in philately. Over the years he collected, and in many cases exhibited, a broad range of topics including Norway, Danish West Indies, German offices abroad, Bolivia, Haiti, Iceland, Isle of Man, Pan-Pacific Clipper mail, SCADTA, OAT, and many others. He exhibited at more than forty international exhibitions and more than eighty national shows in the United States. His Danish West Indies display won the Champion of Champions in 1989 and the Grand Prix National at NORWEX 97 in Oslo. He won Scandinavian Collectors Club’s National Award, the Joanna Sliski Taylor Memorial bowl, in 1994 for DWI postal stationery, and again in 2006 for his classic Iceland.

Roger was an ardent student of philatelic research and its literature. He wrote more than forty philatelic articles and became a trustee of the American Philatelic Research Library, where he served as Secretary for three years and was vice president at the time of his passing. He initiated APRL’s Vooys Fellowship program.

His interest in Scandinavian philately is reflected in his chairing the Danish West Indies Study Group of SCC for fifteen years, serving as editor of its newsletter at the same time. He was vice president of the Scandinavian Collectors Club (1991) and served as president (1992–1994). In recent months he donated considerable quantities of philatelic material to SCC. The items have been turned over to the SCC Mart for evaluation as to the best way to utilize Roger’s generosity.

The Club recognized him with its Frederick A. Brofos award for writing (2002), the Carl E. Pelander award for service to the Club (1997), elected him an honorary life member (2011), and named its library, held at the Rocky Mountain Philatelic Library in Denver, the Roger G. Schnell SCC Library. For the American Philatelic Society Roger served on the board of vice presidents, was past chairman of the planning and development committee, and represented APS on the FIP traditional philately commission where he was also secretary for several years. He received the John N. Luff award for outstanding services to the APS in 2011.

Roger Schnell was president of the American Philatelic Congress 1995–1999 and was president of Germany Philatelic Society chapter 24 for ten years. He served as a director of WASHINGTON 2006. He was elected a fellow of the Royal Philatelic Society London in 1998 and signed the Roll of Distinguished Philatelists in 2006.

Dr. Schnell studied medicine at the University of Florida and the University of Indiana, and served his residency in neurology at the Mayo Clinic. As a board-certified neurologist he had his own practice in Ft. Lauderdale for more than forty years. One of his specialized areas was magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), a diagnostic tool used to study body tissue. He was one of the first to install MRI procedures in an out-patient facility and wrote a number of technical articles on the subject. He was a fellow of the American Academy of Neurology, served as an expert witness, and taught neurology.

Roger Schnell is survived by his wife of fifty-two years Katherine, daughter Susan, son John, and four grandchildren.


Herman Toaspern


Herman Toaspern, known to all as “Toasty,” was a native New Yorker born in 1893, who went on to became one of Nassau Street’s leading auctioneers and stamp dealers by the time he reached the age of thirty. At age twenty, he was an active participant in the 1913 New York International Exhibition (IPEX) and was apprenticing with J. Murray Bartels during the show. By this time, he was already writing for various philatelic publications. For the 1926 IPEX he was a member of the show’s Board of Directors and played a key role in the event’s success.

He conducted stamp auctions, starting in 1924, using the offices of the Collectors Club. By 1930 he had held eighteen auctions, each with very active participation from well-known collectors. He had developed a reputation for being accurate and honest and had come to be well respected. Many classic covers are still seen with his “Herman Toaspern” rubber stamp on the reverse. The caricature cartoons of “Toasty” were a major feature of his advertising in philatelic publications in the 1920s and 1930s.

He was an early member, and officer of the ASDA, which had recently been formed. He was an associate editor of the recently developed Scott U.S. Specialized Catalogue.

In 1934 he relocated to 116 Nassau Street where his business enjoyed great popularity. Sadly, he passed away at age forty-three in 1936 from pneumonia. Prior to his passing, he penned numerous articles in The American Philatelist and STAMPS. His obituary in STAMPS recalls his great sense of humor and passion for the hobby, and his founding of the Hot Stove League, a group of Collectors Club members who gathered regularly to talk philately.

His everlasting legacy to our hobby is that stamp collecting is fun, and that auctions conducted with great integrity help build and grow the hobby.

Earl Panero Lopez Apfelbaum


Earl Apfelbaum, together with his father Maurice, established a part-time business to meet the needs of stamp collectors and turned it into an international firm that continues to this day. Earl and his father decided to convert their sideline into a full-time enterprise in 1930 and opened their shop in Philadelphia. Earl often made road trips to sell his stock to collectors in other towns and cities up and down the east coast while his father tended to the main shop.

Despite the Depression the fledgling business survived, and even the economic climate caused by World War II did not prevent the business from growing. Later the firm began mail sales and public auctions before these marketing methods were adopted by many of their competitors. In the 1950s Earl’s son Martin joined the firm and revamped the retail business with a self-service stamp shop that attracted hundreds of collectors every week. Both the retail and public auction operations brought international recognition and, by 1969, the company had a staff of more than twenty people.

Despite the hectic day-to-day operations of a major business, Earl found time to write and take part in organized philately. In the 1960s he began a popular column in Linn’s Weekly Stamp News known as “Apfelbaum’s Corner” that continued for two decades. A number of the columns were collected and published in book form in 1983. He was a founding member of the American Philatelic Congress and eventually contributed seven papers to the Congress books. He served the American Philatelic Society as secretary and vice president, and was president of the American Academy of Philately.

Earl’s engaging style as revealed in his columns was reinforced by his outstanding speaking abilities. He was in great demand by clubs, societies, and other philatelic events to be guest speaker where he seldom used notes, drawing instead on his knowledge, experience, and endless anecdotes. He also recognized that most collectors used printed albums but were shunned by exhibitions where the awards went to those who prepared their own display pages. He then announced that his firm now offered the Maurice Apfelbaum award for the best exhibit on printed pages. Hundreds of these medals were used at regional and national shows around the country.

Earl helped organize the National Philatelic Museum in Philadelphia, which flourished for many years, and later was merged into the Cardinal Spellman Museum. He received the SEPAD national merit award in 1963 and the APS John N. Luff award for exceptional contributions to philately in 1962. The Apfelbaum dynasty continues to this day as Earl’s grandchildren operate the legendary firm.


Richard B. Graham


Richard Graham was a highly regarded postal history expert, researcher, and author. He brought attention to the vast field of nineteenth-century United States and Confederate States postal history and helped popularize these areas for collectors. He wrote approximately 1,000 articles and columns that appeared in philatelic press between 1960 and 2012. He was a vital force with the United States Philatelic Classics Society and its journal, The Chronicle, where he served as associate editor and then editor of its 1861–1869 section.

He also chaired the USPCS publications planning committee for more than twenty years and helped produce several books. For many years he wrote a column on U.S. postal history for Linn’s Stamp News. Approximately sixty of these columns were reprinted in his book United States Postal History Sampler (1992). His articles have also appeared in The American Philatelist, the Confederate Philatelist, the Postal History Journal, the American Philatelic Congress books, and elsewhere.

The USPCS recognized Graham’s work with the Elliot Perry Cup (1965), the Carroll Chase Cup (1969), the Stanley B. Ashbrook Cup (1975), the Susan M. McDonald award (2005), and he was twice recipient of the Lester G. Brookman Cup for service to the society (1979, 1994). In 1989 he was honored with the society’s Distinguished Philatelist award. Richard Graham was elected to the Writers Hall of Fame in 1991 and received the APS Luff award for distinguished philatelic research in 1992. He also was recognized by the Confederate Stamp Alliance with the Dietz award for distinguished service in Confederate philatelic research and writing.


David Lee Straight


In a short life, David L. Straight accomplished more in philately than many do in a many decades-long career. David was a prolific writer and researcher. He published more than 250 articles ranging from pneumatic mail, to the history of the Registered Mail system, to the disgraceful treatment of E. G. Lewis by the Post Office Department, to extreme back-of-the-book topics. He had made acquaintances within the U.S. Postal Service who gave him access to more information about Post Office forms than has ever been published.

A librarian by training and vocation, David retired at the age of 55 to write full time. He was constantly researching some esoteric subject, whether at the Yale Library, the Library of Congress, the National Postal Museum, or the Postal Service archives. His research notes fill many file cabinets. His articles appeared in The American Philatelist, The American Stamp Dealer & Collector, Stamp Collector, Confluence (devoted to Missouri history), and countless others.

David was quite vocal about making technology work for philately, at the same time realizing that files must be constantly upgraded to new technologies to keep them viable. He was one of the organizers of the Winton F. Blount Symposium on postal history and the impetus behind Volunteer Work Week at APS Headquarters, He was also the driving force behind the Philatelic Union Catalog, the Philatelic Librarians Roundtable, and Stamp Camp USA, serving as its first Chairman.

David was a long-time member of the board of the American Philatelic Society, a trustee of the American Philatelic Research Library, a vice president of the Postal History Society, presented several topics at Summer Seminar, and served several terms as an officer of the Greater Mound City Stamp Club, APS Chapter 4, and Webster Groves Stamp Club (all three in Saint Louis). He spent more than fifteen years on the Board of St. Louis Stamp Expo, filling more shoes than many realized. David was also curator of the Hawaii exhibit that was one of the opening exhibits when the William H. Gross Gallery opened at the National Postal Museum in 2013.

Straight was honored in 2011 by becoming a Fellow of the Royal Philatelic Society London and was presented the Elizabeth Pope Award for Lifetime Contributions to Philately by Saint Louis Stamp Expo.

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