American Philatelic Society

William Wallace Cleland


Wallace Cleland was a collector, researcher, and author on many U.S. stamps and revenues stamps. His writings included more than 250 articles published by the United States Specialist (publication of the United States Stamp Society) and the Canal Zone Philatelist (published by the Canal Zone Study Group). He served the USSS as its president and was chairman of its board from 1992 through 1997. He was known by many in the hobby as one of the foremost experts in United States plate blocks and tracking plate numbers. He shared that knowledge through his editing of the Durland Standard Plate Number Catalog, starting in 1994. The society honored him in 2006 with the George W. Brett Century of Service Award and in 2009 with induction into the USSS Hall of Fame.

Cleland also was a member of the American Philatelic Society’s Expertizing Service. In 2008 he received the Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum’s Philatelic Achievement Award. At the museum he assisted with its revenue stamps cataloging project. In 2009 the Wisconsin Federation of Stamp Clubs inducted him into its Hall of Fame.

Bernard A. Hennig


Bernard A. “Bud” Hennig dedicated his life to philately for more than sixty years, impacting not only his local Chicago collecting community, but beyond. He was the lead author of the first edition of the American Philatelic Society’s Manual of Philatelic Judging, as well as serving for twelve years on the APS Judges Accreditation Committee.

In the early 1980s Hennig was the president of the Collectors Club of Chicago and the Chicago Philatelic Society. He was the chairman of the AMERIPEX ’86 international philatelic exhibition.

Hennig’s exhibiting expertise included a gold medal-winning exhibit of Danzig at the Fifth International Philatelic Exhibition in 1956 in New York City. He also exhibited material including German Air Mails, German East Africa, Vatican City, and Guatemalan Air Mails.

Hennig was a member of the board of the American Philatelic Research Library from 1975 until 1997. The Bernard A. and Dolores Hennig Room at the American Philatelic Center in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania is named in his honor through a donation fund that was created by him and his wife.

In 1982 he signed Great Britain’s Roll of Distinguished Philatelists. He was elected to membership of the Royal Philatelic Society London in October 1957, was named a Fellow in November 1969, and remained a member until December 2007. In 1982 Hennig was awarded the APS John N. Luff Award for service to the American Philatelic Society. He also received the Smithsonian Institution’s Philatelic Achievement Award in 2008, the Hunt Memorial Award of the German Philatelic Society, the Hans Lagerloef Award from the Society of Philatelic Americans, the Saul Newbury Award from the Chicago Philatelic Society, and the Medal of Honor of the Philatelic Federation of Germany.

Max Kronstein


The area of aerophilately was strongly researched by Dr. Max Kronstein. His knowledge of astrophilately and pioneer rocket mail shaped his focus on the subject for more than seventy years. He exhibited, wrote articles for the Air Post Journal (published by the American Air Mail Society), and published books and catalogs, all in the fields of aerophilately and astrophilately. His works included the books Pioneer Airpost Flights of the World 1830–1935 (published 1978) and Rocket Mail Flights of the World to 1986. His catalog efforts were focused on the early European flight covers and Zepplin covers for the American Air Mail Catalogue. The American Air Mail Society honored Kronstein with induction into its Hall of Fame, and also awarded him with the Walter J. Conrath Memorial Award, the George W. Angers Memorial award, and the first Gatchell Literature Award. He is also a Hall of Fame inductee of the APS Writers Unit # 30.

Richard W. Helbock


Richard W. Helbock was an enthusiastic postal historian since the 1950s, quickly making a name for himself through postal history society memberships, stamp clubs, exhibiting, judging, lecturing, and conducting auctions. He became a stalwart of the postal history field over a span of 40 years authoring more than 25 books, monographs, and CDs on postal history.

Since 1969, Helbock was the publisher of LaPosta: A Journal of American Postal History. He also served as editor of the American Philatelic Congress Book from 1999 to 2005, the Military Postal History Society Bulletin, and The Alaska Philatelist. Among Helbock’s most significant honors, he received theDistinguished Philatelist Award from the U.S. PhilatelicClassics Society in 1991 and a similar accolade from the Northwest Federation of Stamp Clubs in 2003. In 2007, he was awarded the American Air Mail Society L.B. Gatchell literature award for his four-part series, “Reaching Out to the Islands.”

Helbock grew up in Portland, Oregon, and was a 1960 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. After earning his master’s and doctorate degrees from the University of Pittsburgh, he became a geography professor, first at the University of Pittsburgh, then at New Mexico State University. In the 1960s, he began corresponding with Chuck Whittlesey, an Oregon collector who specialized in postal history, and in 1969 he began publishing LaPosta. When he returned to live in Portland in 1980, he devoted his full time to LaPosta and other postal history publications, living and publishing in a woodsy house near the Tualatin River.

Helbock published and co-authored two books that deal with Oregon and Washington postal history: Chuck Whittlesey, Oregon Postmarks, a Catalog of 19th Century Usage, and Tim Boardman’s Washington Post Offices. In the 1990s, Helbock emigrated to Australia and continued to publish from there. A celebration of Bill’s life was held June 5, 2011, and his ashes were placed under a fig tree in Australia.

Maynard Sundman


That we have a vibrant hobby of stamp collecting in the 21st century is due in large part to the life of Maynard Sundman. He was the founder and chief executive officer of Littleton Stamp Company in 1945, and 30 years later purchased Mystic Stamp Company. He applied his amazing understanding of how to whet readers’ appetites for stamp collecting by placing creative ads on matchbook covers, in comic books, in Sunday supplements and on the radio. Maynard’s name — the Mystic name — is synonymous with the most creative outreach venture to new collectors our hobby has ever seen.

Maynard caught the stamp collecting bug in grade school, and soon began selling stamps to his grade school classmates. By the time he reached high school his dream was to become a fulltime stamp collector. After his Army service in World War II, this dream became a reality and for more than 60 years he led the hobby in creative outreach programs.
He widely expanded the practice of shipping stamps (and later, coins) “on approval,” trusting prospective customers either to buy the stamps or to send them back. Over the years, he sent hundreds of millions of dollars worth of stamps to a very diverse bunch of customers from all over the United States. He had a unique and major impact on the hobby based on his acute understanding of the mail order world.

He was a Life Member of the American Philatelic Society, and received his 50-year medal in 2004. In 2002, the Smithsonian National Postal Museum established the Maynard Sundman lecture series. The annual philatelic lecture features talks by renowned stamp collectors on a variety of topics. In 1995, to celebrate the success of his 50 years in the stamp and coin business, a book telling Sundman’s life story of serving collectors, A Decent Boldness: The Life Achievement of Maynard Sundman at Littleton Stamp and Coin Company, was published.

Lester E. Winick


Lester E. Winick of Chicago, was an accomplished author, exhibitor, judge, and show executive. He is perhaps best known as the executive director of the highly successful U.S. International Ameripex exhibition held in 1986 in Chicago. It was the largest philatelic event held in the United States up until that time. He continued to serve as an exhibition consultant afterwards.

His column, “The Insider,” ran more than 25 years in Linn’s Stamp News, and he never missed a deadline. He conveyed current news, not only praising noteworthy people and events, but also constructive criticism of philatelic organizations. Winick authored a stamp column in the Chicago Tribune for six years that was widely syndicated. Among his books were many editions of The White Ace Postage Stamp Identifier (1952–1992), Space Stamps (1966), Iceland: A Bibliography (1978), and Soviet Space Catalog (1978).

Winick was an international commissioner, judge, and exhibitor. His displays of Iceland airmail and space topics won major awards both nationally and internationally. Leadership positions included president of the Illinois Federation of Stamp Clubs, president of the Collectors Club of Chicago, president of the Salm Foundation, and director at large of the American Philatelic Society. He served as president of the Space Topics Study Group of the American Topical Association and was named Distinguished Topical Philatelist by ATA in 1978.

Winick received the Chicago Philatelic Society’s Saul Newbury award in 1982 and the APS Luff award for exceptional contributions to philately in 1997.

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Robert Markovits


Robert Markovits, a lawyer by profession, was an internationally recognized researcher, collector, exhibitor and writer on numerous philatelic subjects, particularly back of the book material, notably, U.S. and worldwide special delivery, U.S. officials and U.S. postal stationery.

Markovits’ service to organized philately is recognized by his contributions to several philatelic organizations, especially the United States Stamp Society.p>

Perhaps his most notable contribution to the hobby was his research and writing about special delivery stamps. Markovits started collecting postage due and special delivery plate blocks under the tutelage of Louis K. Robbins, who with his brother, Phil, and W. Parsons Todd, were early special delivery specialists.

From 1963 through 1969, Markovits wrote extensively for The Bureau Specialist in a column called the “Numbers Game,” contributing more than 50 articles. He published a checklist for special delivery plate numbers with Morris “M.X.” Weiss, and worked on the pricing for several of the early Durland Standard Plate Number Catalogs.

Markovits received the Hopkinson Memorial Literature Award in 1960 for his “The United States Special Delivery Issues,” research and commentary on special delivery plate numbers. His research has also been published in many other important philatelic journals. In 1989, he received the Best Article Award in for his three-part article on the Taylor 5-cent issue of 1875 and its reissue on soft paper in the Collectors Club Philatelist. His pamphlet on the 10-cent registry stamp of 1911 detailed his collection and is the definitive work on this stand-alone issue. Markovits also collected and issued the Brazer proof price lists to make this research available to collectors. Two articles on special delivery issues have appeared in the Congress Book.

Among his many eclectic philatelic interests was the Westervelt-Chester, New York local issue, the subject of an extensive article in the Locals and Carriers Journal. Other back of the book material he collected, researched, and wrote about include the airmail City of New York issue of 1948 and several specialized classic issues of U.S. postal stationery. He made available an outstanding bibliography of the U.S. special delivery system along with numerous articles and exhibit pages on his website, (no longer active).

In addition to his contributions to philatelic literature, he was a prolific exhibitor of “back of the book” material. In 1962, Markovits received the Hopkinson Trophy for his exhibit “The 1895 Special Delivery Issue.” He won three international large gold medals for his special delivery classic period collection, 1885 to 1901, which was shown in the Championship Class in 2011 in Delhi, India. His exhibit of the 1908 Helmet of Mercury stamp, his favorite, won the Collectors Club single-frame competition in 2006.

His collection of “U.S. Official Stamps, 1873–1884” won the 1999 APS Champion of Champions Award. This exhibit, which featured the $2 State Department stamp on a package front, received four international large gold medals, culminating in a showing in the Championship Class in France.

Markovits was a governor and trustee of the Collectors Club, serving for more than six years as program chairman and as a member of its Editorial Board.

Markovits’ generosity was shared by a stamp collector who offered comments on an online memorial, who noted that Markovits sent him a couple of covers shortly before he died. “That this world-renowned philatelist would take the time to send this material to a complete stranger, but a stranger he knew was interested in [a specific] subject . . . leaves me practically speechless,” the collector wrote. “Generosity of spirit seems almost inadequate to describe his actions, which I think I can safely assume was something routine to him.”

Barbara Mueller


Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be.” Many of us are fortunate to have someone like this in our lives that have pushed, coached, and cheered us to better things.

The stamp collecting world this past November lost someone who embodied that for so many people individually and the hobby at large, Barbara Mueller.

Barbara joined the American Philatelic Society in 1944, not just as a dedicated collector, but one who loved to share knowledge with others. In 1956, Barbara authored Common Sense Philately, a book that made the hobby accessible to collectors just beginning their journey or those who needed some encouragement along the way. That same year, Barbara earned the Luff Award, the highest recognition for a member of the APS, for Distinguished Philatelic Research.

One could have easily stopped or slowed down, but Barbara not only kept going, her impact to individual collectors and the hobby continued to grow with it.

“Barbara is, and was, in a class by herself. Period,” former APS Vice President Steven Rod said. “What a role model! What a source of inspiration! What passion! What commitment! What fun! What laughter! What scholarship!”

In 2007, the United States Stamp Society began sponsoring the Barbara R. Mueller Award to recognize the best article published each year in The American Philatelist. The aim of the award is to encourage our members to embrace that same love of research and sharing knowledge by promoting new research or previous works with new and interesting ideas that are relevant to today’s collectors.

The tributes to Barbara are a reflection of the meaningful life she lived and the generous spirit of sharing her passion with others. Our hobby is at its best when we can take what we know and share it with others, and hopefully, all of us can take a moment to do just that this year.

Mueller’s later publications range from those for beginners to highly specialized works, such as “John E. Javit, American Engraver and Printer,” which received the McCoy award for the best article in the American Philatelic Congress Book, 1995.

Mueller formed a number of research collections to support her writings, including an outstanding collection of Pomeroy’s Express labels.

Her many awards and memberships included the United States Stamp Society (Hall of Fame induction in 2006); the Postal History and Markings Committee and the Essays-Proof Committee; contributor and editor (1972 through 1977) of The United States Specialist; editor (1986–1990) of the annual American Philatelic Congress Book; editor (1963–1993) of the Essay Proof Journal; recipient of the Alfred F. Lichtenstein Memorial Award of the Collectors Club of New York, and the Smithsonian Philatelic Achievement Award from the Smithsonian National Postal Museum.

Irwin Weinberg


Irwin Weinberg, who spent much of his adult life in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, was a stamp enthusiast with a high brand of integrity and a flair for the dramatic.

Weinberg traveled the globe during his career and he owned in his lifetime, several (as many as 11 one source noted) U.S. inverted Jennys, the 24-cent upside-down biplane U.S. airmail stamp of 1918. Only 100 of the error stamps reached public hands. After his death, Weinberg’s collection sold in four separate auctions for more than $4 million.

But nothing brought more fame to Weinberg than a single stamp.

For a decade, Weinberg — a near lifelong collector and longtime stamp dealer — was the face of the world’s most valuable stamp, the One-cent Magenta of British Guiana of 1856, which as of today has only had nine owners.

Weinberg knew about the one-of-a-kind rarity as a child. In 1970, it came up for sale and Weinberg convinced eight friends — all businessmen and no philatelists among them — to join with him to purchase the stamp in 1970 for a then-record price of $280,000. (He convinced his colleagues that the stamp would be a good hedge against inflation.)

Weinberg grabbed the national and world spotlight now and then with the stamp in tow. Once, he hired an armor car to take him to the airport with the stamp safely tucked inside a briefcase, which he attached to his wrist with handcuffs.

In the most famous (perhaps infamous) incident with the stamp, Weinberg traveled in 1978 to Ottawa, Canada with the stamp, which was inside the briefcase and attached to his wrist with handcuffs, which is son had purchased. After Weinberg met reporters in Canada, we started to unlock with handcuffs with its key, which promptly broke inside.

Pins and other devices couldn’t open the cuffs, nor could a firefighter’s saw. Eventually a police officer’s key popped the cuffs off.

People magazine helped spread the story and Weinberg himself appeared on such television shows as To Tell the Truth and the Mike Douglas Show to tell the story about the stamp.

“I was trying to introduce it to the world and maybe find a buyer,” Weinberg said, according to reporter James Barron, who wrote a recent book about the Magenta and wrote the stamp dealer’s obituary for The New York Times.

In 1980, Weinberg attracted a buyer, John E. du Pont, who paid $935,000 for the stamp and died in prison still as the owner. In 2014, the stamp was sold in an estate sale for $9.5 million.

Weinberg published his Miner’s Stamp News (he operated out of a building known for years as the Miners Bank Building) for more than 70 years and in 2009 was inducted into the American Stamp Dealers Association Hall of Fame. He was on the board of the National Postal Museum.

In addition to stamps, Weinberg was a proponent of human rights and met longtime hero Nelson Mandela at the White House. He was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Laws from Dickinson School of Law.

Information from the New York Times, Linn’s Stamp News, The Citizens’ Voice of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, and contributed to this report.

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Charles A. Fricke


Charles A. Fricke was a longtime collector of postal stationery who received the 1981 APS Luff award for distinguished philatelic research, was inducted into the APS Writers Unit hall of fame in 1989, and was honored in 2016 with the APS Charles J. Peterson philatelic literature life achievement award.

Fricke conducted research and authored seminal works on the first postal card issues of the United States. His detailed study of the subject plates and master die proofs resulted in renumbering all the proofs (normal, trial color and trial color card proofs) listed by Brazer in the Essay Proof Journal.

Over many years Charles Fricke authored over 1,000 articles that appeared in many journals. These items focus on some aspect of postal card or postcard use including rates, auxiliary markings, routes, cancellations, interesting points of origin or destination, varieties, advertising cards, first day items, novelty cards, paid reply cards, earliest known use, and other stationery items like stamped envelopes and wrappers, as well as many divergent subjects in the field of philately.

Fricke’s articles have appeared in over 35 philatelic journals and publications and five newspapers including Linn’s Stamp News, Pennsylvania Postal Historian, Stamp Collector, American Philatelist, U.S. Stamp News, U.S. Stamps & Postal History, Scott Stamp Monthly, Postal Stationery, Airpost Journal, Philatelic Freemason, The Seebecker, American Philatelic Congress Book, New Jersey Postal History, North Carolina Postal History Society Newsletter, Collectors Club Philatelist, S.P.A. Journal, Chesstamp Review, and Mekeel’s & Stamps among others.

For decades – as attested to by his perennial ads in such publications as The American Philatelist, Mekeel’s, STAMPS Magazine, Weekly Philatelic Gossip and Chambers Stamp JournalMax Ohlman (1881-1957) maintained offices at 116 Nassau Street—in the famed Stamp Center building.

In March 1912, Mekeel’s ran an editorial suggesting to the dealer community that a national organization of stamp dealers be formed. Finally, on December 15, 1914, the charter of the American Stamp Dealers Association was adopted. Max Ohlman was elected the first president of the Association – being sworn in at the beginning of 1915.

Ohlman was a close friend of Franklin Roosevelt and sponsored him for membership in the APS.

Jacques C. Schiff


Jacques C. Schiff was a pioneer in the realm of Error, Freak and Oddity philately; featuring this collecting area in his auctions since he began in the business in the 1960s. Over 50 years, his nearly 340 auction catalogs are a virtual chronicle of what exists in U.S. EFOs. In addition, he wrote long-running columns on EFOs in the philatelic press, and was a frequent visitor to the security printing plants that produced U.S. stamps to assure that he knew the cause of errors and that they were genuine.

His firm made a specialty of bringing newly discovered errors to market, getting them certified, and making sure that, when justified, they got catalog listings. The $1 Candleholder “CIA” Invert is a good example. He was a scholar in printing technology, and counted among his friends and contacts many principals in the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, and the late George Brett. He served as a mentor to Steven Datz, John Hotchner, and Jim Kloetzel, among others.

For many years, Schiff was well-known on the show scene as a sometimes retail dealer, but more often a booth-holder to be available to current and potential customers, and as a popular lecturer on how auctions work, and “How to protect yourself from buying doctored stamps.”

William R. Weiss


William R. Weiss established Weiss Philatelics and Weiss Auctions in 1972, and later expanded into Weiss Expertizing Services. He was a 48-year American Philatelic Society member and a very well known exhibitor and author of several books including The Foreign Mail Cancellations of New York City, 1870-1878, The United States 15c Stamp of 1870-1890, The Catalog of Union Civil War Patriotic Covers, Confederate States General Issue Stamps Used Adversity Covers, 1861-1865 and Collecting United States Covers and Postal History. Weiss authored numerous articles in various philatelic publications and served as an instructor for the APS Summer Seminar.

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Thomas J. Alexancer


Thomas J. Alexander (APS Life Member) was President of the U.S. Philatelic Classics Society, a consultant to The Philatelic Foundation and served for many years as the Chairman of the Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum Council of Philatelists in Washington, D.C. He was the author in 1979 of Simpson’s U.S Postal Markings, 1851–1861 and wrote numerous articles and books on philately and postal history. Mr. Alexander had a long-standing partnership with the Smithsonian and wrote the United States 1847 Cover Census and The Travers Papers: United States Postal History and Postage Stamps: Official Records. His many philatelic awards and honors include the 1986 Luff Distinguished Philatelic Research Award of the APS, the 2004 Smithsonian Institution Philatelic Achievement Award and the 2007 Alfred F. Lichtenstein Medal of the Collectors Club of New York.

Jerome Husak


Jerome Husak (APS Life Member) The visionary founder of the American Topical Association (ATA), second-largest philatelic organization in the U.S., Jerome Husak was a teenager in Milwaukee in 1949 when he first hit upon the idea of a society for topical collectors. He later wrote, “There must be others like myself. Why don’t we get together and share our information through a united body of topical collectors?” Thus the ATA was born.

“Who knows,” Jerry thought, “perhaps as many as 200 topical collectors might come together.” Within five months of its founding, the ATA had 408 members. In its 68 years, it has had close to 60,000 members from more than 100 countries. In his history of the ATA, Jerry wrote “The early days were not easy. Many people had to be convinced that topicals deserve a place in philately.” When the ATA affiliated with the American Philatelic Society in 1987, it became its largest affiliate. The Thematic Award at APS StampShow is named for Jerry — ATA member #1 and the first recipient of the ATA’s Distinguished Topical Philatelist award. He worked full time for the ATA, until 1977 as editor of its journal, Topical Time, and as executive secretary until 1984. When Jerry retired from the association’s Board of Directors in 2008, he was awarded the honorary title of Director Emeritus. In 2012, the ATA Board designated May 25 as an “annual National Topical Stamp Collecting Day, promoting topical stamp collecting as a vital dimension of the future of philately and honoring topical philately visionary and ATA founder Jerry Husak on his birthday.”

Michael Mellone


Michael Mellone helped establish independent shows for first day cover collecting, and wrote and published the catalogs that made it possible to identify and systematically collect cachets. For nearly two decades, Mike guided the annual shows and conventions of the American First Day Cover Society (AFDCS). He and his promoter partner Steve Ritzer produced two of the society’s first stand-alone conventions in the “modern” era, in 1986 in Morristown, New Jersey, and in 1988 at the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim, California. Until these shows, the AFDCS was a guest at someone else’s party. Space for FDC exhibits and dealer booths was limited. The hosts even controlled the events the AFDCS could hold. Along the way, Mellone and friends invented the cachetmakers’ bourse, where the people who design FDCs could sell their wares at a reduced price for tables. Earl Planty, a business professor, was the first to catalog different cachets for early FDCs, identifying them, assigning a catalog number and a value. Mellone, however — as they say in football — “took the ball and ran with it.” First, he added photos of the cachets to make identification easier. Instead of parsing a written description, collectors could compare what they had to the pictures. He also expanded Planty’s listings significantly, adding dozens of newly identified cachets. Then Mellone added issues, first for the 1930s and eventually for nearly every issue through the 1960s. The first Mellone Photo-Encyclopedia appeared in 1976. Also helping increase the interest in FDCs was his pocket catalog, first titled Discovering the Fun in First Day Covers, with a license from Scott Publishing Co. to use its catalog numbers. After a few years, the pocket catalog became the Scott Catalogue of U.S. First Day Covers, with introductory material on collecting, identifying and valuing FDCs that Mellone had written. Mellone’s F.D.C. Publishing Company also produced books and catalogs on other FDC-related subjects, encouraging research and scholarship within the specialty.

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