AFDCS 2017 Officers and Chairman

AFDCS Re-elects Officers for 2017, Selects Chairman

The Board of Directors of the American First Day Cover Society, the largest not-for-profit organization in the world specifically for FDC collectors, has re-elected the Society's officers for another one-year term.

The board has also chosen Rick Gibson, pictured left, as its chairman for 2017. He succeeds Todd Ronnei, who is retiring from the board.

Gibson, from Maryland, was first elected to the board in 2015 and manages the AFDCS' annual cachetmakers contest. He collects and exhibits first day covers of the Smoky Bear stamp.

The 2017 AFDCS officers will be Lloyd de Vries of New Jersey, president; Michael Litvak of California, executive vice president; Mark Goodson of Indiana, first vice president; Ralph Nafziger of Oregon, recording secretary; and Ed Mendlowitz of New Jersey, treasurer.

AFDCS officers are not compensated, nor reimbursed for their travel expenses. The Executive Committee, which also includes the executive secretary, immediate past president, editor, membership and education chairs, and the general counsel, conducts business throughout the year and meets annually at Americover, the society's annual show and convention, which in 2017 will be held August 11-13 in Independence, Ohio (suburban Cleveland).

The AFDCS board will also meet at Americover and conduct other business throughout the year.

Board Election Results

AFDCS Elects Four To Its Board

Members of the American First Day Cover Society, the largest not-for-profit organization in the world specifically for FDC collectors, have elected four people to its Board of Directors for three-year terms beginning Jan. 1, 2017.

Here are the vote totals:

Lloyd de Vries, New Jersey 97
Mark Goodson, Indiana 93
Bob Lewin, California 89
Tom Peluso, New York 88
Frank Kohut, Maryland 53

De Vries, Goodson, Lewin and Peluso were elected to the Board. De Vries, Goodson and Lewin are incumbents. Peluso has served on the Board before.

There were 122 ballots submitted, of which 112 were valid.

De Vries is currently president and publicity chair of the AFDCS and previously served as chairman of the board and first vice president. Goodson is the current first vice president and chairs the First Cachets project. Lewin is complaints chairman and serves on the auction committee. Peluso has lent his artistic talents to many AFDCS cachets.

Board chairman Todd Ronnei thanked Elections Committee chair Fred Levantrosser and other members of the Motor City Stamp and Cover Club (AFDCS Chapter #5) for their work in counting the ballots in this year's election, and the Nominating Committee chaired by D.A. Lux for recruiting the candidates.

Four seats on the AFDCS Board of Directors are elected each year for three-year terms, beginning Jan. 1 of the following year. In addition to the 12 elected directors, the president, the editor of the official journal First Days, and the general counsel serve on the board ex officio, if not elected to the board in their own right.

The current board, plus directors who will be seated on Jan. 1, will now vote for the elected officers (president, executive vice president, first vice president, recording secretary, treasurer) and a chairman of the board, to serve one-year terms.

AFDCS directors are not compensated nor reimbursed for their travel expenses. The board meets annually at Americover, the society's annual show and convention, which in 2017 will be held Aug. 11-13 in Independence, Ohio, and conducts business via other means throughout the year.

2016 Court of Honor FDCs



The 2016 American First Day Cover Society Court of Honor cachet showcases the artwork of Bob Emrick of Texas.

Each year, the AFDCS honors a cachet artist or company that has contributed to the hobby over a number of years. This year’s AFDCS covers feature all the 2016 holiday stamps issued by the USPS: Nativity, Florentine Madonna and Child, Holiday Windows, Eid Greetings, Kwanzaa and Diwali.

The series uses the Christmas theme, since the U.S. issues stamps for this subject almost every year. The series began in 1981 and there has been a new Court of Honor FDC every year since then.

The artists are given complete freedom to develop their designs. The AFDCS then reproduces the art on high-quality envelopes, and includes insert cards with a biography and photograph of the artist.

Bob is self taught with no professional training in art. He worked in the printing industry his entire career and was often asked to do illustrations for special events. His first cachet was the 1950s Sporty Cars issue of 2005.Two cachetmakers were his mentors, David Peterman and Julian Pugh. Bob has won numerous awards for his covers in the annual AFDCS Cachetmakers Contest.

The Bob Emrick Court of Honor FDCs may be purchased online by clicking here. Prices start at $5.00.

First Days Awarded Gold

First Days, the official journal of the American First Day Cover Society, received a Gold medal in the 50th annual literature competition at CHICAGOPEX 2016, November 18-20, 2016.

The judges were evaluating the 2015 issues of the magazine, which were edited by Al Starkweather. Starkweather, in his first year as editor of the journal, gave First Days a bold new look that has been well received.

Congratulations, Al!

Ries Chapter Donates $500

The Claude C. Ries Southern California Chapter #48 of the American First Day Cover Society has made a $500 donation to the Society’s Publication Fund.

The Publication Fund directly supports the Society’s full color and award-winning journal, First Days.

The Ries Chapter is the largest chapter in the AFDCS. With a current membership of 70, the organization is one of the most active chapters in the AFDCS. Over 30 of the chapter members are cachetmakers, who produce their own cacheted FDCs on a regular basis for sale and/or trade.

“The AFDCS appreciates their continued annual support,” said AFDCS Executive Secretary Doug Kelsey.

Interested members can donate to the Publication Fund online.

Garry L. Camolli, 1942-2016

Garry L. Camolli, 74, of Lake Worth, Florida, passed away Saturday, October 8, 2016, after battle with leukemia, AML (Acute myeloid leukemia).

Garry was a long time member of the AFDCS and proprietor and managing partner of Aquila Stamps and Aquila Cachets a large eBay store which he managed until his death.

Aquila Stamps on eBay will continue, however Aquila Cachets will not be produced in the future.

Garry was born in Lowville, New York on August 31, 1942 to Louis R. and Belva (Williams) Camolli. He is survived by a friend, Peter Lazar of Lake Worth, Florida and one brother, Wayne Camolli of Lake Worth, Florida.

Garry graduated from Syracuse University in 1964 and from Drew Theological Seminary, Madison NJ in 1967; receiving a Master of Divinity and became a minister with the then Troy Conference of the United Methodist Church. After retiring from the ministry he moved to Florida where he entered the graphic arts business; retiring from Globe Communications in 2002 as Vice President of Production.

As per Garry’s wishes, Rites of Cremation have been accorded and there will be no formal services at this time.

The family urges his member friends to donate to the American First Day Cover Society in his memory.

Americover 2017 Returns to Ohio


Show Hotel Rate Once Again Around $100

The American First Day Cover Society, the world's biggest non-profit organization of FDC collectors, has chosen Independence, Ohio, a Cleveland suburb, for its 2017 show and convention.ES_exterior001_712x342_FitToBoxSmallDimension_Center

Americover 2017 will be held at the Embassy Suites by Hilton Cleveland-Rockside August 11-13, 2017. The hotel’s address is 5800 Rockside Woods Boulevard, Independence, Ohio 44131, less than two miles from the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

The official hotel rate for the stamp show will be $102, good from Wednesday through Sunday nights. Parking is free, as are a free cooked-to-order breakfast, evening reception, and in-room Wi-Fi service. There is also a complimentary shuttle to the airport and to other attractions within three miles of the hotel.

Although Americovers run for three days, there will be a special tour on the preceding Thursday and a post-show dinner event Sunday evening.

Americover 2006 and Americover 2013 were held at the same hotel, which asked the AFDCS to return in 2017.

“I'm glad to be back in the Buckeye State," said Americover 2017 chair Chris Lazaroff. "Northeast Ohio is the home of the 'Hall of Fame' corridor, with the Rock 'n Roll, Inventors and Football Halls, all less than an hour from our convention location. We'll be using this as the theme for the show."

All Americovers are World Series of Philately shows dedicated to first day covers and the fun of stamp collecting. Locations move around the country: the 2016 show was held in Falls Church, Va., near Washington, D.C. Other recent shows have been held in Somerset, N.J., Oak Brook, Ill., Irvine, Calif., and Indianapolis, Ind.

Lazaroff Cited for Service to AFDCS

Chris Lazaroff (left) accepts the Distinguished Service Award from Alan Warren

The American First Day Cover Society has named Chris Lazaroff as the 2016 recipient of its Distinguished Service Award.

The Distinguished Service Award (DSA) is presented in recognition of outstanding service to the AFDCS. The award is presented from time to time and is not given each year. The award recognizes those individuals who have truly contributed an outstanding effort on behalf of the society. Only living AFDCS members in good standing and who have not previously received the DSA are eligible to receive the award.

The following, composed by Alan Warren, was read at the presentation of the award at the AFDCS membership meeting on Sunday, August 21, at Americover:

Our honoree collects cachets of Scott Numbers 957, 1018, 1134, 1135, C56, and UXC145. I am sure all of you can picture these numbers in your mind so you know what stamps we are talking about! He is also a cachetmaker and has won Earl Planty awards in several categories and also been runner-up.

Several years ago he chaired a committee that worked with the United States Postal Service in the murky waters of licensing and developed a pamphlet for copyright holders when they are in discussion for stamp selection.

He has worked closely with USPS personnel to the point that he has organized first day of issue and first day of sale ceremonies. He should know about such matters—he has attended over 200 first day ceremonies! In fact with all this first day activity it is amazing that he also has a full-time job. For those of you interested in carboxymethyl cellulose, hydrocolloids, or the use of titanium dioxide in coatings for linerboard, he is your Go-To guy.

He has served AFDCS as president, a member of the executive committee, a member of the board of directors, and as Americover Chairman. He recently achieved a goal that he set for himself 34 years ago—that of attending a first day ceremony in every one of the 50 states. The AFDCS is pleased to bestow its Distinguished Service Award on Chris Lazaroff.

Klimley Takes Americover Grand

Ronald J. Klimley (right) received the Claude C. Ries Chapter Grand Award at Americover 2016 for his exhibit The 1964 New York World’s Fair Commemorative. By receiving the Grand Award, Klimley’s exhibit becomes eligible for the Champion of Champions competition at the 2017 APS Stampshow.

The Reserve Grand and the Richard B. Thompson Award went to Anthony Dewey for The 3¢ Connecticut Tercentenary Issue of 1935 and its First Day Covers. Best single frame exhibit and the Curtis B. Patterson Award went to Harlan Stone for 1948 Stone First-Day Covers to Foreign Destinations. Tony Dewey scored again with the Marge Finger Award for most popular exhibit with The 1991 “F” Tulip Stamps and their First Day Covers.

A complete palmares can be downloaded by clicking here. Congratulations to all exhibitors!

The AFDCS thanks the jury of Chief Judge Elizabeth Hisey, Darrell Ertzberger, Peter Martin, Hal Vogel and Steven Zwillinger.

First Day at Americover

Due to the persistence of Americover Chairman Chris Lazaroff, Americover will host a First Day of Issue ceremony for the first time since 2013.

The U.S. Postal Service will issue the Patriotic Spiral First-Class Forever stamp in booklets of 10 for consumers and self-adhesive coils of 10,000 for businesses. The booklet stamp will be issued Friday, August 19 at the show, while the coil version will be issued in Kansas City on the same day.

This festive and energetic stamp design features 50 blue and red stars spiraling around a central gold star on a white background. The idea for the design was to illustrate a community of stars protectively orbiting a central star that in an abstract sense stands for our nation's steadfast idealism and hope for a more perfect union. Antonio Alcalá of Alexandria, VA, served as art director for the project with art and typography by Polygraph, a Washington, DC, design firm.

The first day ceremony for the booklet stamp will be held on Friday, August 19 at 11am in the Tickets Lounge room of the Fairview Park Marriott. The ceremony is free and open to the public.

Show Cachet and Cancels


The theme of Americover 2016, to be held August 19, 20 and 21 in Falls Church, Virginia, is National Park Service Centennial.

In conjunction with the show theme, the show cachet (above) and special postmarks will feature Yosemite, Yellowstone, and the Great Smoky Mountains. The postmark designs, shown below, will differ each day.


Another show postmark will be offered for the dedication ceremony for the Soda Fountain Favorites stamps on Sunday, August 21.


Paul Johnson, who designed the AFDCS Court of Honor cover for 2014, created the cachet and all four postmarks.

A set of four show covers is $10 and will be available at the show.

Can’t make it to the show? Order a set of convention covers online. Click here, then scroll down to the bottom to purchase a set of convention covers and/or a show program bearing stamps postmarked with all four of the show postmarks.

Americover 2016 Tour Set

Group Will Attend Special Sundman Lecture On Parks

The American First Day Cover Society’s pre-Americover tour will include special presentations at the National Postal Museum.

Americover 2016 will be held in Falls Church, Va., August 19-21, just outside Washington, D.C. On the way to the museum, the bus will drop participants off at the National Mall for several hours to see whichever monuments and museums they choose.

NPM exterior
At the NPM, former National Park Service interpretive planner Paul Lee will present a special Sundman lecture, "Parks, Postmarks, and Postmasters: Post Offices Within The National Park System.” The program combines real-life drama and human interest.This year is the centennial of the National Park Service.

The Maynard Sundman lecture series at the Museum features talks by authors and expert philatelists on stamps and stamp collecting. Lee has worked at parks in the U.S., American Samoa and Northern Mariana Islands.

After lunch, NPM Chief Curator Daniel Piazza will give a guided tour of “Trailblazing: 100 Years of Our National Parks,” followed by a tour of the rest of the facility. Members of the group will have a chance to see their own cachets in the Owney the Postal Dog FDC exhibit.

"This tour gives our members both a chance to explore some of Washington’s most famous sites and to attend a private tour and lecture at the National Postal Museum,” said Chris Lazaroff, chair of Americover 2016.

The price, which covers bus transportation and a box lunch provided by Donald Sundman of Mystic Stamp Company, is $50 per person if purchased before July 1st, and $55 after that date. Click this link to purchase tickets online, or use the insert in the March-April issue of First Days to purchase by mail. (Note: the tour of Hillwood described in the insert has been dropped.)

There is also a Sunday evening event involving dinner; this year, it will be at P.J. Skiddoos, a local restaurant favorite.

There is a special Americover room rate of $99 at the Falls Church Marriott Fairview Park Hotel, which includes Wednesday and Sunday nights. There also will be two bourses (commercial dealers and cachetmakers) at the show, a banquet, meetings, a youth table, a hospitality suite, live and silent auctions, seminars, a dedication ceremony on Sunday for the Soda Fountain Favorites stamps, and a forum by a postal official involved with first day covers.

2016 Show Jury Named

Exhibits Jury Set for Americover 2016

Elizabeth Hisey of Florida will head the exhibits jury at Americover 2016, a World Series of Philately show that will be held Aug. 19-21 in Falls Church, Va.

Hisey will be assisted by Darrell Ertzberger and Peter Martin, both of Virginia, Hal Vogel of New Jersey, and Steven Zwillinger of Maryland.

Click this link to download the prospectus and entry form. The deadline for entering the Americover 2016 exhibition is June 1, 2016, or whenever the 160 available frames fill up, as happens most years.

The emphasis at Americover is on First Day Cover exhibits, and about three-fourths of each exhibit should consist of FDCs and related material. (Ship cancellation exhibits and polar philately exhibits will be exempt from the FDC requirement this year.) All three divisions (Postal, Illustrated Mail and Display) of the General class of exhibits will be accepted, as well as One-Frame and Youth exhibits.

Hisey is vice president of the American Association of Philatelic Exhibitors, co-founder and current treasurer of Women Exhibitors, and a member of the American Philatelic Society’s Committee on the Accreditation of National Exhibitions and Judges (CANEJ) and the Smithsonian National Postal Museum’s Council of Philatelists.

Ertzberger is also a member of CANEJ, a bureau member of the International Federation of Philately’s Commission for Thematic Philately, and has been active in running NAPEX, the World Series of Philately show in the Washington, D.C. area.

Martin is a former chair of Americover, former editor of First Days, the journal of the American First Day Cover Society (which sponsors Americover), and currently the editor and publisher of La Posta, the journal of American postal history.

Vogel is a recognized world authority on polar history and polar philately and received the first doctorate awarded in polar studies. The author of the landmark reference book Essence of Polar Philately, he is currently vice president of the American Society of Polar Philatelists, which is convening at Americover 2016.

Zwillinger has compiled first day cover catalogs for Aden, Burma, pre-Independence India, and British Somaliland, and is a columnist for The Philatelic Exhibitor and the American Stamp Dealer & Collector. He has also served on the boards of the APS and NAPEX.

As a WSP show, the winner of the Grand Award at Americover 2016 will be part of the Champion of Champions competition at Stampshow 2017. Jane King Fohn, winner of the 2015 Grand with " The 9-cent Alamo Stamp and Its First Day Covers," will represent Americover this summer in Portland, Oregon.

The Americover Grand prize is again a crystal pyramid provided by the AFDCS' Claude C. Ries Chapter.

In addition, if six or more competitive single-frame exhibits are entered, the Curtis B. Patterson Award recipient for the best single-frame exhibit will be invited to enter the APS Single-Frame Champion of Champions competition at AmeriStamp Expo in 2017.

Besides its Grand and Reserve Grand awards, Americover offers special awards from both the AFDCS and other philatelic societies, including ones for best exhibits of foreign FDCs, topical FDCs, pre-1931 FDCs, best exhibits by a novice and a youth, and best single-frame exhibit.

The three-day World Series of Philately show will be held at the Falls Church Marriott Fairview Park, and there is a special Americover room rate of $99. The discount code is ACVACVA.

In addition to the Polar Philatelists, the AFDCS and Universal Ship Cancellation Society are also holding their conventions at Americover 2016. There also will be two bourses (commercial dealers and cachetmakers), a banquet, seminars, a youth table, two hospitality suites each night, live and silent auctions, a pre-show tour of the area, a post-show evening dinner event, and possibly a U.S. first day ceremony. A forum by a postal official involved with first day covers is also on the schedule.

Unlike other WSP shows, Americover's exhibit awards are not presented at its banquet (which is held Friday night), but at the AFDCS Business Meeting Saturday morning.

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