Vote Now in Board Election

The annual election for members of the board of directors of the American First Day Cover Society is now underway.

AFDCS members will elect four candidates for 2020-2022 three-year terms on the board. Five candidates are seeking election: David Peterman, Jim Tatum, James Hogg, Tom Peluso and Lloyd de Vries.

The ballot appears in the September/October 2019 issue of First Days, official journal of the AFDCS. Alternatively, you may download and print the ballot to cast your votes. Click this link to access the ballot and candidate statements.

All ballots must be postmarked by December 1, 2019, and and should be mailed to the AFDCS Election Committee at the address found on the ballot.

The board meets in person once each year, in a meeting at the annual AFDCS show and convention, and throughout the year via mail and e-mail. Members of the board of directors are not compensated nor reimbursed for their expenses.

Vote Now in Show Name Change Poll

The annual convention of the American First Day Cover Society will now be held in conjunction with the American Philatelic Society and the American Topical Association. So, what should be the name of the show? Register your opinion!


AFDCS Office Closed

The AFDCS Central Office in Tucson is temporarily closed. Emails and phone messages to the office will not be returned during this time.

The Central Office will re-open on Monday, September 9 and regular operations will resume at that time.

Thanks for your understanding.

APS Seeks Name for Joint Show

Americover is history. The 2019 show held in St. Louis was the last show to be sponsored solely by the American First Day Cover Society.

Beginning in 2020, the annual American Philatelic Society stamp convention will be a joint show with the American Topical Association and the American First Day Cover Society. In the past, the annual show has been called StampShow, StampShow / National Topical Stamp Show, StampShow/NTSS, and other variations on these themes. The APS is seeking helpful suggestions to create a new and permanent name for the yearly show.

The APS will be collecting responses until Thursday, September 12, 2019 at 11:59 p.m. After this date, the APS will prepare a poll to vote on the top name suggestions.

To submit a suggestion, click this link.

Multiple suggestions for the new name are welcome.

Four Receive Service Award

The American First Day Cover Society has presented one of its highest honors, the Distinguished Service Award, to four members: Dave Bennett of California, Rollin Berger of Virginia, Kerry Heffner of Nebraska, and Mark Goodson of Indiana.

is a talented cachet artist who gives freely of his talents to the AFDCS and its Claude C. Ries Chapter in Southern California. The former professional animator also is vice president of the Ries Chapter and is chair of the Auction Committee, which produces auctions each year in different venues.
’s service to the AFDCS goes back more than 35 years. He has been the Society’s secretary as well as president and editor for the Robert C. Graebner Chapter, in the Washington, DC, area. He chairs the Court of Honor first day cover program, and personally arranges for the production of the cachets. In addition, he is the auctioneer for the live auctions each year at Americover.
has served as exhibits chairman of Americover, the AFDCS's annual show and convention, for more than a decade. In addition to managing the exhibit entries, he has created some of the most creative and unique awards in philatelic exhibiting.
chairs the AFDCS board of directors and also its Philip H. Ward Award committee, given for the best in first day cover literature. Before becoming chairman of the board, he served on the Board and was also First Vice President. He assists with the AFDCS Archives, and is a key contributor to research into when cachetmakers have started production.

Americover 2019 Exhibit Awards

Dr. James Hering of Ohio received the Claude C. Ries Chapter Grand Award at Americover 2019 for his exhibit The Two Cent Hardings. The Harding exhibit started out a number of years ago as a single frame and has continually expanded and improved. As the Americover Grand, the exhibit becomes eligible for the Champion of Champions competition at the APS Stampshow-Americover-NTSS 2020 in Hartford, Connecticut.

The Richard B. Thompson Reserve Grand Award went to Charles J. O'Brien III of Georgia for Sesquicentennial Exposition Commemorative Issue of 1926. O’Brien is regular winner of top exhibit awards at Americover.

For the second consecutive year, the Curtis B. Patterson Best in Show Single Frame Award and a Large Vermeil went to Ronald J. Klimley of Florida for Hand-Crafted FDCs of the Sandy Hook Lighthouse Stamp.

A complete palmares is available here. Congratulations to all exhibitors!

The AFDCS thanks the jury of Chief Judge Frederick Lawrence, Robert Hohertz, Jerry Miller, Allison Cusick and David Ball.

Calle Designs Show Cachet


The theme of Americover 2019, to be held July 26-28 in St. Louis, Missouri, is Moon Landing 50th Anniversary.

It’s only fitting that the show cachet is original artwork by Chris Calle. The Calle name is synonymous with art depicting the Apollo moon missions. Paul Calle, Chris’s father, designed the 10¢ 1969 airmail stamp celebrating the Apollo 11 moon mission (Scott C76). Chris designed the 1989 20th anniversary stamp (Scott 2419), and Paul and Chris teamed up to design the 1994 25th anniversary stamps (Scott 2841 and 2842).

Covers will be available at the show, with three different daily postmarks. A fourth postmark will also be available for the dedication of the new Moon Landing stamps. (See blog post below for postmark designs.) A set of four show covers will be $10.

If you can’t make it to the show, covers are available for purchase online. Click on this link to make your purchase.

Mohler Covers Offered at Show


Portions of one of the most significant collections of first day covers ever assembled will be offered for sale at Americover 2019, the annual show and convention of the American First Day Cover Society.

The show is being held July 26-28 at the Renaissance St. Louis Airport Hotel (9801 Natural Bridge Road in St. Louis). The FDCs will be at the booth of Weisz Stamps & Covers. Proprietor Doug Weisz (right) is assisting the H.R. Harmer auction firm with getting Eldon Mohler's vast collection of cacheted first day covers ready for sale. Some of the material will be sold at a series of auctions beginning in the fall, but Weisz will have nearly two hundred boxes of covers from the collection at his booth at Americover 2019.

"I'm focusing on bringing covers under $25 or so," Weisz said. The issues range from the 1920s to the present. They include thousands of Babe Ruth and other baseball issues.

"Eldon has spent 40 years building a remarkable collection," Weisz said. "He focused on 400 issues in particular, but his interest in specific cachetmakers means there will be covers for many more issues" among those offered for sale.

Weisz also points out that much of the Planty and Mellone cachet catalogues are based on Mohler's collection. That means if a collector or exhibitor has been unable to find a listed cover, it may now be offered for sale, either by Weisz at Americover or by Harmer at auction.

He will also have thousands of non-first-day hand-painted Art Cover Exchange covers from the Mohler collection.

He is just one of the dealers and cachetmakers with booths at Americover 2019. The annual celebration of first day covers by the American First Day Cover Society also includes a pre-show tour on Thursday, a "reveal" of the results of the annual AFDCS cachet contest, a dedication ceremony for the Moon Landing 50th anniversary stamps, four pictorial postmarks, a World Series of Philately exhibition emphasizing FDCs, meetings, seminars and more.

Americover Show Cancels

The theme of Americover 2019, to be held July 26, 27 and 28 in St. Louis, Missouri, is Moon Landing 50th Anniversary.

In conjunction with the show theme, three special postmarks below will be available on each day of the show:

cancel 26 (2)

cancel 27

cancel 28 (2)

In addition to the three cancels above, a fourth cancel will be available on Friday, July 26, for the dedication of the USPS Moon Landing 50th Anniversary stamps:


Pete McClure, who designs cachets for the AFDCS Cachetmakers Series, created all four postmarks.

A set of three show covers AND a cover for the stamps dedication 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 three of the show postmarks.

Beat the Americover Ticket Increases

There’s still time to get tickets to Americover events at the early bird rates. But prices will go up on Monday, July 1.

Americover 2019 — sponsored by the American First Day Cover Society — will feature a World Series of Philately exhibition, well-known dealers, meetings and seminars, but also social events that celebrate first day cover collecting.

The show will be held July 26-28 in Saint Louis at the Renaissance St. Louis Airport Hotel, but the fun starts the day before, with not just one but two events.
  • The American Philatelic Society is offering an On-The-Road Course: “Introduction to Seaposts: Ship Letters, Packet Mail, Paquebots and More.” Register for the course here.
  • The AFDCS on Thursday the 25th is offering a tour of Saint Louis attractions, with a trip to the top of the Gateway Arch and the updated museum on the ground, a visit to the Old Courthouse, where the Dred Scott slavery-citizenship case began, and a one-hour cruise on the Mississippi River.
There are fees for the APS course and the AFDCS tour.

Friday night, the winners of the AFDCS cachet contest for 2018 issues will be announced at the President’s Banquet, with the winning FDCs projected onto a screen as they are announced.

Saturday features the cachetmakers bourse in the late afternoon and evening. The latter is followed by a food event that includes a Burger Bar and Santa Fe cheesecake brownies. A souvenir cover designed by a well-known burger buff is included in tickets for the meal.

The fun continues at Americover even after the show closes: A post-show dinner will be held at a local restaurant unique to the Saint Louis area.

Purchase your Americover event tickets here. As noted above, ticket prices increase on July 1, so order now.

The show hotel rate at the Renaissance is just $104 — a bargain for a top-of-the-line Marriott hotel — good for July 21 through August 1. Make your hotel reservation here.

See you at the show!

Heffner to Receive APS Award

Longtime AFDCS member Kerry Heffner of Omaha, Nebraska has been selected as the 2019 recipient of the Nicholas G. Carter Volunteer Recognition Award by the Board of Directors of the American Philatelic Society.

The award, named for former APS President Nick Carter, honors those individuals who give so much of their time, talent, and energy to benefit stamp collecting and the APS. The Board selected Kerry in the category of Local Service.

Part of Kerry’s service to philately is his role as Exhibits Chair for Americover, which he has held for many years. The exhibits chair for any show is a challenging and time-intensive position, but more so for Americover, as the show is held in a different location each year. Americover exhibitors are especially appreciative of Kerry’s dedication and creativity in hand crafting philatelic-themed exhibit awards each year.

Kerry will receive the Carter Award at the General Membership Meeting during APS StampShow/National Topical Stamp Show. This year the meeting will be on Saturday, August 3 at the show, which (conveniently for him) is being held at the CHI Health Center in Omaha.

Congratulations, Kerry!

AFDCS 2019 Officers Elected

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 elected officers for one-year terms.

At the same time, the Board also re-elected Mark Goodson of Indiana for its chairman.

The 2019 AFDCS officers will be Lloyd de Vries of New Jersey, president; Michael Litvak of California, executive vice president; Jim Hogg of Florida, first vice president; Ralph Nafziger of Oregon, recording secretary; and Mark Thompson of Tennessee, treasurer. This will be Thompson’s first term as treasurer; he also serves as advertising manager for First Days, the official journal of the AFDCS, and will continue to do so, and has been a member of the board for two years.

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 each year at Americover, the society's annual show and convention, which in 2019 will be held July 26-28 in Saint Louis, Mo.

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

Alan Warren to Sign RDP

Alan Warren, a charter member of the AFDCS, is one of the four persons elected to sign the Roll of Distinguished Philatelists (RDP) at the annual meeting of the Board of Election on March 21.

Also elected were Prakob Chirakiti of Thailand, Guy Dutau of France, and Hany Salam of Egypt.

The roll, which recognizes achievements in research and publication, was instituted in Harrograte, England, in May 1921, when thirty-nine honorees signed their names. King George V (1865–1936) was the first signatory.

This year’s signing ceremony will take place in Stockholm, Sweden, on May 31 at Stockholmia 2019. Attendance at the ceremony is open to all.

Warren is a previous recipient of the John N. Luff, Alfred F. Lichtenstein, and Charles J. Peterson awards.

There are currently eighty-four living honorees from twenty-five countries spread over six continents. More details on the RDP can be found by clicking this link.

Americover Exhibit Jury Named

Frederick P. Lawrence of Arizona will head the exhibits jury at Americover 2019, a World Series of Philately show that will be held July 26-28 in Saint Louis.

He will be joined by Robert D. Hohertz of Minnesota, Jerry H. Miller of Illlinois, Allison Cusick of Pennsylvania and David S. Ball of Massachusetts.

The prospectus can be downloaded here or obtained by regular mail from Kerry Heffner, 17656 K Street, Omaha, NE 68135-3491, or e-mail at The deadline for entering the Americover 2019 exhibition is June 1, 2019, or whenever the 160 available frames fill up.

The emphasis at Americover is on First Day Cover exhibits, and about three-fourths of each exhibit should consist of FDCs and related material.

Lawrence has been a collector and exhibitor of Scouts and Scouting on stamps since 1960, and is an international-level judge

Hohertz is president of the American Revenue Association and has been writing lately about the Prexies (Presidential Series of 1938). He reports he is “currently working on an ambitious first day cover exhibit.”

Miller has won nine grand awards with different exhibits at WSP exhibitions and is director of the American Association of Philatelic Exhibitors’ Exhibit Critique Service.

Cusick began seriously collecting first day covers nearly 50 years ago, and has served the AFDCS as president and in other capacities. He is a past winner of the society’s Distinguished Service Award and was just appointed chair of the DSA committee.

Ball is the U.S. delegate to the International Federation of Philately for Astrophilately (space- and astronomy-related material). He is also president of the Northeastern Federation of Stamp Clubs and a past executive director of the Spellman Museum of Stamps and Postal History.

As a WSP show, the winner of the Grand Award at Americover 2019 will be part of the Champion of Champions competition at StampShow 2020. Charles J. O’Brien, III, winner of the 2018 Grand with Frank Lloyd Wright-First Days and Usage of the Two Cent Issue, will represent Americover this summer in Omaha, Nebraska.

The Americover Grand prize is again a crystal pyramid provided by the AFDCS' Claude C. Ries Chapter. {The 2017 version, shown on the right, is essentially the same as will be awarded in 2019.)

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 Saint Louis Stamp Expo in March 2020.

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, and pre-1931 FDCs, best exhibits by a novice and a youth, and best single-frame exhibit.

New Auction Thank You Cover

The AFDCS Auction Committee is proud to present the new Auction “Thank You” Cover #9, created by the award-winning cachetmaker, Dave Bennett. As you can see, the cover is a pop-up FDC for the 2018 set of ten Hot Wheels stamps. The cachet features caricatures of the seven Auction Committee members driving their favorite Hot Wheels car. Each FDC is serviced with one of the stamps tied to the cover with a Digital Color Postmark.

For a donation of material to the AFDCS auctions with a minimum value of $50, the donor is rewarded with one of these “Thank You” covers. Since this is a new “Thank You” cover, all donors, past and present, are eligible to receive one of them. If you have received any, or all, of the previous eight “Thank You” covers, we know that you will want to acquire this new one. So, put together a bunch of quality covers, and mail them to

Dave Bennett
14418 Miranda St
Van Nuys, CA 91401

If you’re a first time donor, consider making a worthy contribution to the AFDCS auctions to support the only philatelic organization devoted to the collecting of First Day Covers and related material.

We are in great need of large quantities or collections of less common material. If you are considering sending a large shipment, please contact Michael first at


New Edition of C76 FDC Catalog



Just in time for the 50th anniversary of the historic event, the newly-revised edition of the first day cover catalog for Sc. C76 Moon Landing has 160 more items than the previous (2016) edition, thanks to the work of David S. Zubatsky and Bill Pry.

Published by the American First Day Cover Society, it may be purchased and downloaded by clicking this link. The price is $30 for members or $35 for non-members. Printed copies (unbound pages) are $37 and $42, respectively, and may be ordered online or from AFDCS Sales, Post Office Box 44, Annapolis Junction, MD 20701-0044.

The original 1975 edition, by Monte Eiserman and Harry L. Anderson, contained black-and-white illustrations of 205 FDCs, history of the designing and production of the stamp, the first day activities, plate number information, postmarks, and descriptions of the three first day ceremonies.

Now, nearly all the 1,372 illustrations are in color. The catalog includes a section, "Paul Calle: Putting His Stamp On The Moon,” about the artist who designed the stamp.

"The 1969 First Man on the Moon stamp is the most iconic space related stamp ever issued," says stamp designer Chris Calle, Paul’s son. "As a collector of the C76 issue this is a most welcome catalogue for space collectors worldwide."

APS Course Before Americover 2019


An American Philatelic Society "On The Road" series seminar, "Introduction To Seaposts: Ship Letters, Packet Mail, Paquebots And More," will be offered the day before the start of Americover 2019. The annual show and convention of the American First Day Cover Society will be held July 26-28 at the Renaissance Saint Louis Airport Hotel. The course will take place on July 25 at the same venue.

The program will explore the many aspects of how mail was transported across the oceans, while examining the “four pillars” of postal history: rates, routes, means, and marks. More information available via this link.

Gary Wayne Loew, author of the forthcoming book Mastering Postal History, will be the instructor for "Seaposts." He has written dozens of articles on postal history for such publications as The Collectors Club Philatelist and Philatelic Literature Review, as well as a regular column for Kelleher's Stamp Collector's Quarterly. He is a member of both the APS and the AFDCS.

The cost of the course is $45 for APS members, $95 for nonmembers. The deadline for registering is June 30. Register for the course on the APS website.

The special Americover 2019 hotel room rate of $104 is also good for the nights before and after the "Seaposts" seminar. The show also includes a dealer bourse, cachetmakers bourse, World Series of Philatelic exhibits, other seminars, meetings, auctions, a U.S. stamp ceremony, and a nightly hospitality suite. Non-collecting spouses may find of interest the pre-Americover 2019 tour of Saint Louis tourist attractions, which will be held at the same time as the "Seaposts" course.

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 that began January 1, 2019.

Here are the vote totals:

Cynthia Scott
Ralph Nafziger
Doug Kelsey
Lorraine Bailey
Jim Tatum Jr.
James Hogg

Scott, Nafziger, Kelsey and Bailey were elected to the Board. Nafziger, Kelsey and Bailey are incumbents. Scott has served on the Board before.

There were 155 ballots submitted, of which 152 were valid. There were also write-in votes for D.A. Lux, Eric Wile and Mark Thompson (who is already on the Board).

Scott is a past Americover show chair. Nafziger is currently Recording Secretary, while Kelsey is Executive Secretary. Bailey is a past AFDCS Sales chair.

Board chairman Mark Goodson thanked Elections Committee chair Otto Thamasett and committee members Neal Parr and Foster Miller, all members of the Robert C. Graebner Chapter of the AFDCS, 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.

He also thanked retiring Director Allison Cusick for his many years of service on the AFDCS Board. Cusick, by the way, will now chair the Distinguished Service Award committee, a post which may only be held by a past DSA winner.

Four seats on the AFDCS Board of Directors are elected each year for three-year terms, beginning Jan. 1. 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 whose terms expired on December 31, 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 2019 will be held July 26-28 in Saint Louis, and conducts business via other means throughout the year.

Cachetmakers Contest Open


Entries are now being accepted in the American First Day Cover Society's annual cachetmakers contest, where the best FDC designs from the previous year will be chosen in 18 categories.

The entry deadline to submit covers produced in 2018 is Friday, April 19, 2019. Those entering covers must be members of the AFDCS. (Youth cachetmakers need only be related to an AFDCS member.)

The entry fee for adults is $5 if the cover is donated to the Society, or $10 if the cachetmaker wants the FDC returned. Youth entries are $2.


A cachet is the artwork on a first day cover envelope that complements the new stamp. These designs can be as simple as a few words of text or as complicated as an oil painting or mosaic. Typically, the media used in the entries to an AFDCS cachetmakers contest range from colored pencils and markers to acrylic paints, woodblock prints and movable parts.

The categories include hand-painted with no mass production of any kind; hand-colored; computer-produced; one-color; event (not first-day) covers; Rookie of the Year and two age groups for young cachetmakers. There is also the top award, which cites what the three judges feel is the best cachet submitted in the entire contest, regardless of the media used. Last year’s top cachet by Argineh Zadoorian is pictured above.

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