Hand Painted Cachets Online Seminar

Bob Lewin will continue his history of the hand-painted FDC cachet, in a free online seminar sponsored by the American First Day Cover Society. It's Sunday, August 1, 5 p.m. Pacific Time. (That's 8 pm in the East.) Preregistration is not required.

Click here to go to the Zoom seminar.

Carol Gordon Book Out Soon


On July 15, the Claude C. Ries Chapter of the AFDCS will publish Carol Gordon - Unconventional Cachetmaker. The 275-page book, with over 650 scans of Gordon’s work, also contains an extensive biography of the artist, an exploration of her thought processes and design choices, and a critical essay discussing her significance as one of the premier cachetmakers of the 20th century.

The book will be available for $45 postpaid. It will also be available for in-person purchase at Great American Stamp Show at a reduced price of $40. The Ries Chapter will donate a portion of the sale proceeds to the AFDCS.


2021 Show Confirmed

Great American Stamp Show: Chicago 2021
Statement from Scott D. English, APS Executive Director

2021 chi-logo

Let’s Do This!

In March, we announced that we were moving into the next planning phase for the Great American Stamp Show. To make the show financially viable for both dealers and the American Philatelic Society, we needed to meet specific benchmarks. I am pleased to announce we’ve completed those benchmarks, and the Great American Stamp Show will happen.

We called on our philatelic community to make plans to attend, and the response has been overwhelming! Good news and bad news: Our hotel blocks are filled for both the Embassy Suites and the DoubleTree hotel. If you haven’t booked your room yet, we will get additional rooms for those planning to attend.

To the collectors, exhibitors, societies, and dealers who made commitments to attend the show: You made this possible. On behalf of the American Philatelic Society, American Topical Society, and the American First Day Cover Society, thank you for rising to the occasion!

I would like to thank the APS Board of Directors for their faith in our fantastic team here at the APS. There have been so many developments over the past three months, and they’ve proven agile and responsive. Thank you to our partners at the American Topical Association and the American First Day Cover Society for their trust and support throughout this process. We promise to deliver a show to remember. Thanks to our partners at American Stamp Dealers Association, especially our old friend and colleague, Dana Guyer, for rallying the dealers.

Most importantly, I want to thank Wendy Masorti and Sarah Myers, our Shows team, for their tireless work in planning the show, responding at all hours to questions and concerns, and getting us across the goal line. It’s hard to believe this, the first show for both of them! Thanks to Ken Martin, our experienced hand at stamp shows, for his guidance and support to our rookie team.

To the dealers who have not committed to the show, look at the overwhelming response so far. We’re all planning to come to Chicago to support our dealer community after the challenging year. You will not want to miss this show!

The COVID pandemic has challenged all of us in the hobby, and we have emerged stronger from it. The response over the past two months is more proof of that. We’re not out of the woods just yet, so be vigilant, be safe, and be in Chicago in August for the Great American Stamp Show!

Show Details:
Dates: August 12-15, 2021
Location: Donald E. Stephens Convention Center, Rosemont, Illinois
Hosts: American Philatelic Society, American Topical Association, and American First Day Cover Society
Sponsor: United States Postal Service

To get more information and register for the event, go to the APS website at stamps.org/GASS.

Board Candidates Sought


Nominations are now being accepted for candidates in the next election for the AFDCS Board of Directors. Each year, four candidates are elected to three-year terms.

Michael Litvak has been appointed to chair the 2021 Nominating Committee. Mark Goodson and Bob Lewin are the other members of the committee.

Interested candidates may nominate themselves, or be nominated, by contacting Litvak: michael.litvak4@gmail.com or at 1866 Loma Vista Street, Pasadena, CA 91104-4005. Candidates must be members in good standing, and, if nominated by someone else, must indicate that they are interested and willing to serve on the board.

There are no term limits. The incumbents whose terms expire at the end of 2021 are Cynthia Scott, Lorraine Bailey, Michael Lake, and Ralph Nafziger. Those elected in the next election will begin serving January 1, 2022, although they will be asked to vote before then for officers and a chairman of the board, all of whom serve one-year terms.

Members of the Board of Directors are expected to attend the board’s annual meeting, usually held the evening before the convention, and participate in between-meeting discussions and votes, often conducted online. Candidates are expected to submit a short election statement or biography and a good quality “headshot” photograph to Litvak by August 1.

The Board of Directors consists of the 12 elected directors, and, ex officio, the president, editor and general counsel. Directors do not receive any compensation for serving on the board.

Laffert Cachet Seminar Online

The Amazing Cachets of George H. Laffert


A Zoom seminar by collector Robert Lewin
May 16, 2021 8PM EDT/5PM PDT

Starting with a brief overview of the development of both the hand painted cover and the cacheted first day cover, the program will focus on the work of George Laffert, a pioneer producing beautiful covers from 1930 – 1941.


Or, the meeting ID is 959 3561 0121 and the passcode is 616395.

Nominations for 2020 Ward Award

Nominations will be accepted through May 15 for the Philip H. Ward Award for Excellence in First Day Cover Literature, presented annually by the American First Day Cover Society. All works published in 2020 are eligible.

All articles published in First Days, the AFDCS journal, are automatically considered. Others may be submitted to the Ward Award Committee chair, Mark Goodson, 315 East Dewey Street, Ellettsville, IN 47429-1901, bgdsn@comcast.net, either as clippings or .pdf scans of the articles as published.

The Ward Award is presented each year at Americover, the annual convention of the AFDCS, which will be held August 12-15, 2021, as part of Great American Stamp Show in Rosemont, Ill. A complete list of past winners can be found at afdcs.org/ward.

Past works honored by the AFDCS reflect a wide variety of sources: Last year’s winner, "Which Items Franked with 1913 Parcel Post Stamps Are Authentic U.S. First Day Covers?” by Ken Lawrence was originally published in American Philatelist. The 2018 award was bestowed for a bibliographic series by David Zubatsky in First Days. The 2015 citation went to a book, Dorothy Knapp: Philately and Family, by Douglas Weisz.

The award is named in honor of Philip H. Ward (1890-1963), the distinguished Philadelphia stamp collector, dealer and journalist who was a pioneer in the field of first day covers. The award was instituted by the AFDCS in 1964.

2021 Show Is A Go!


Today, the American Philatelic Society (APS) announced the kickoff for the Great American Stamp Show 2021. The show will take place at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, Illinois from August 12-15, 2021. The APS, the American First Day Cover Society (AFDCS) and the American Topical Association (ATA) are joint sponsors of the show.

“We’ve waited patiently for some good news out of Illinois and Governor J.B. Pritzker delivered it last week,” said Scott English, Executive Director of the American Philatelic Society.

Visit our 2021 Show page for more information.

2021 Convention Update

The Great American Stamp Show is scheduled to be held August 12-15, 2021, at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, Illinois. The American Philatelic Society, the AFDCS and the American Topical Association (ATA) are again co-sponsors of the show this year. Since 2018, the APS and ATA have jointly-sponsored the show, with the AFDCS joining in 2020. The partnership has been an overwhelming success. Although the pandemic forced us to cancel GASS in 2020, the APS, ATA, and AFDCS put together the Virtual Stamp Show.

Whether the pandemic will allow us to have an in-person show this year is still up in the air. For an update, visit our 2021 show page.

Super Bowl Streak Will Continue

Long-time AFDCS member Don Crisman will be in the stands for next weekend's Super Bowl, one of only two or three people who have attended every Super Bowl since the first. The 84-year-old Kennebunk, Maine resident (AFDCS #403) will be accompanied by his daughter, a medical technician who has been working COVID-19 vaccination clinics. They are shown in the photo below from the Portland Press-Herald. The Associated Press also ran a story, which AFDCS member Allison Cusick spotted in The Trib, a suburban Pittsburgh paper.

The Portland story is at at this link and requires a subscription, BUT if you click on "I'll watch a video" the full print story appears after the commercial for the paper.

He'll have to sit ten rows away from the other every-Super-Bowl fans.

Don is a past Executive Vice President of the AFDCS in the 1980s and was instrumental in having the Streetcars stamps (Sc. 2059-62) issued at the Seashore Trolley Museum in Maine.


Exhibiting Coordinator Named

Ronnei To Coordinate Exhibit Efforts for FDC Society

The American First Day Cover Society has chosen Todd Ronnei, a gold-medal exhibitor himself, to coordinate its exhibiting programs and promote FDC exhibiting.

Ronnei was awarded the Reserve Grand and a Large Gold medal for his U.S. Winston Churchill (Sc. 1264) exhibit at the AFDCS's Americover 2018 and at Minnesota Stamp Expo in 2018. He has a number of other FDC exhibits, including the 1967 Urban Planning stamp (Sc. 1333) and 1970 Fort Snelling stamp (Sc. 1409), and is the Exhibit Chair for Minnesota Stamp Expo, a World Series of Philately show.

Ronnei and his family live in a Minneapolis suburb. He has been the AFDCS.org webmaster for a number of years and also served on its board of directors, five years as its chairman.

The AFDCS presents unique awards in special categories at its Americover shows, created by Kerry Heffner, and Randy Smith distributes a general AFDCS award to shows upon request. "Todd will pull together these efforts, while adding others and encouraging more FDC collectors to try their hand at exhibiting," said AFDCS president Lloyd A. de Vries.

The AFDCS, a 501(c)(3) educational not-for-profit organization, also recently reorganized its Education Department and is putting more emphasis on those programs. (See previous post below.)

New Education Chair Named

McIntosh To Lead AFDCS Educational Activities

Kris McIntosh is the new chair of the Education Department of the American First Day Cover Society. The retired high school social studies teacher in Fort Worth, Texas, schools has already been demonstrating FDCs as teaching aids, both online and at social studies teachers' conventions. This new position will expand upon her advocacy of covers in education.

The department also includes youth activities, audio-visual programs, and online programming. Gary Denis, the previous Education Chair, continues as chair of the Publications Committee. The AFDCS earns its not-for-profit status as a 501(c)(3) organization for its educational activities.

As Education Chair, McIntosh will have a seat on the society's Executive Committee. She was also just elected, separately, to her first term on the AFDCS Board of Directors.

McIntosh lives in a recreational vehicle, and spends the year traveling through several western states. She is a member of the Fred Sawyer North Texas Chapter of the AFDCS, and collects and exhibits the 1936 Susan B. Anthony (Sc. 784) and the 1948 Progress of Women (Sc. 959) issues.

The AFDCS’s publications include handbooks, catalogues, directories, and its award-winning journal First Days. The society also produces some FDCs, advocates for first day cover collecting and exhibiting, and is a co-sponsor of the big national stamp collecting show each summer. The Great American Stamp Show is currently scheduled for August 12-15 in the Chicago area.

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