Annual Board Election Underway

Each year, AFDCS members elect four individuals to the Board of Directors for three-year terms, plus others to fill vacancies. This year, sadly, we have two such vacancies, caused by the passings of Doug Kelsey and Tom Peluso.

The four candidates receiving the most votes will win three-year terms. The fifth-place candidate will complete Tom's term (through 2022) and the sixth will complete Doug's term (through 2021).

Four of the nine candidates are incumbents. Read all of the candidate statements here.


Ballots must be postmarked by December 1. The envelope in which you mail your ballot should have your name and membership number on the back. Please do not put anything else in the envelope. Mail you ballot to:

AFDCS Election Committee
℅ Otto Thamasett
6025 Sherborn Lane
Springfield, VA 22152-1643

Wanted: Executive Secretary

UPDATE 10/19/20: We are no longer seeking candidates for the position of Executive Secretary.

The American First Day Cover Society, a stamp collecting organization, is seeking to hire a contractor to fill its executive secretary position. The initial contract period would be for one year, after which it can be renewed.

The person hired as AFDCS executive secretary would manage the day-to-day finances of the Society, including making deposits and paying all operating expenses of the Society; process new membership applications and renewals; mail annual renewal notices to members; acknowledge and process all donations to the Society; answer telephone and email inquiries in a timely manner, or forward them to the appropriate person; prepare the annual report and budget for the officers and board of directors.

He or she would be responsible for maintaining a post office box for the Society and providing membership and donation reports for each issue of the Society's journal, First Days, published six times a year. The person would also provide an updated membership list before each issue to the printer and the webmaster.

The executive secretary would also supervise the Sales Department (although order fulfillment would be handled by someone else), and assist with publicity, including social media. Other duties may be prescribed by the AFDCS president or the board of directors. The position does not require relocation or regular business hours.

Candidates for this position should have modern office computer skills, including proficiency with Microsoft Office and email; some knowledge of bookkeeping; a polished presentation on the telephone and in email; and be a self-starter who can work on deadline without direct supervision. Familiarity with philately and first day covers in particular is not required, but would be an asset.

The American First Day Cover Society is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization, and an affiliate of the American Philatelic Society. It was founded in 1955, and has about 1,150 members worldwide.

PayPal Accepted Here

For the convenience of its members and other collectors, the American First Day Cover Society now accepts PayPal on its website for purchases, including covers, catalogs, handbooks, new memberships and renewals and more.

Secure payment with Visa, MasterCard and American Express cards continues to remain an option.

New Book on 1945 U.N. FDCs

A new book from the American First Day Cover Society shares a collector’s love for the 1945 U.S. stamp that heralded the formation of the United Nations. The Al Raddi Collection of Scott 928 Toward United Nations First Day Covers shows more than 170 different first day covers and related items for the issue commemorating the meeting of delegates from 50 countries toward the end of World War II.

Each of the cachets is shown in color. The listings are divided into material that was intended to travel through the mail system, and those that were not. They are then further divided into those with contemporary cachets — applied no later than one year after the April 25, 1945, first-day — and add-ons. Raddi, from Michigan, invites readers to send information about other cachets that exist for this issue.

The book starts with a brief history of the conference, and then information about the stamp.

The Al Raddi Collection is available as a .pdf download from the AFDCS for $8 ($6 for members) or a printout may be purchased for $15 ($13) postpaid. Either version may be ordered from the AFDCS website at this link.

Really Silent Auction Makes Noise

The Really Silent Auction, the first virtual online auction to benefit the AFDCS, and the replacement for our annual Hospitality Room Silent Auction that was 'lost' when Americover was canceled, was a great success in several ways.

The auction resulted in gross sales of $3,352. There were 76 winning bidders for the 215 auction lots. While there’s no feasible way to determine the total number of bidders, it’s obvious there were many more than the number that participated in past AFDCS live silent auctions held in the Hospitality Suite at Americover. Nevertheless, of that current unknown total, we know that 20 of them were first time HipStamp bidders.

Bidding was very active from the very first day of the auction and continued every day until the last. A number of participants were so pleased with the auction that they have asked when we will be conducting another.

Many thanks go out to Otto Thamasett and Michael Litvak for securing donations, to Foster Miller, Todd Ronnei, and Mark Rosenberg, owner of HipStamp, for publicity, and to the generous donors who contributed all of the interesting auction items. Dave Bennett is deserving of the most thanks for scanning the lots, uploading them onto the HipStamp website, and shipping them to the winning bidders.

APS New Member Special

Click image below for a special offer to become a new member of the American Philatelic Society.


Bid Now in Really Silent Auction

Shhhh! - Hear that??



Because that’s the sound of The Really Silent Auction - the important AFDCS fundraiser taking the place of our annual Hospitality Suite Silent Auction that has been derailed this year with the cancellation of Americover.

The Really Silent Auction, overflowing with premium FDCs from top cachetmakers, is going ‘virtual’ this year — it will be open for bidding all week long on 213 lots go ‘live’ Sunday evening, August 16, and close one week later.

The Ries and Graebner Chapters have done a great job - with the much-appreciated help of all the donors - of finding and offering these desirable covers. All donors are acknowledged at the end of each ‘details’ section for every one of the 213 auction lots.

They can all be viewed starting at 7pm EDT/4pm PDT on the 16th, right up until the last group uploads at 8:30pm. VIEW THE LOTS HERE.

Just as is the custom at the annual Hospitality Suite Silent Auction, all lots have opening bids of $5 with no reserves. And you will still be able to view against whom you are bidding . . but without all the jostling and good-natured elbowing that ensues in the Hospitality Suite!

If you are familiar with HipStamp, you’ll have no problems. If not yet a member, click here to register for free in the upper right hand corner where it says “Sign Up”.

Most lots have a $1 shipping fee. You’ll need a PayPal account to send payment at the end of the auction for any winning bids. (although the payments will be going to my account, all proceeds will be ultimately going to the AFDCS. It was necessary to use my own HipStamp store for the auction for ease of listing and sending out the purchased lots).

If you have ANY questions, please feel free to contact me, Dave Bennett, at, and I will do my best to provide any info you may need. Reach out if you are having any difficulties at all in navigating the HipStamp site.

The Hospitality Suite Silent Auctions have always been a mainstay of AFDCS funding . . . and that continues with The Really Silent Auction!

We hope you will support this event, add some great covers to your collection, and have a great time doing so!

But please — keep the noise down!

July-August First Days Delayed

First Days editor Al Starkweather is currently hospitalized following a fall. He had just completed the July-August issue of the journal at the time he was injured, but had not yet sent it to the printer or the webmaster for posting on the website.

As a result, the July-August issue of First Days is currently delayed. We will update you when additional information is available.

Please accept our apologies for the delay.

Doug Kelsey Passes


AFDCS Executive Secretary Douglas A. Kelsey passed away Tuesday, July 28, in Tucson, Arizona. He had suffered a stroke a month earlier, and was infected by the coronavirus during his recuperation. Doug served the AFDCS as its Executive Director and Executive Secretary for nearly 30 years.

We will miss him, both as our behind-the-scenes leader and guide, and as a friend.

Service Arrangements.

Douglas A. Kelsey: 1949–2020

AFDCS Executive Secretary Douglas A. (Doug) Kelsey, 70, of Tucson, Arizona, died on July 28 after suffering a stroke in mid-June and developing COVID-19 complications in the hospital.

“For nearly 30 years, as volunteers and leaders came and went, Doug was the backbone of the society, guiding us and providing the support that kept this organization running,” said AFDCS President Lloyd A. de Vries. “But more than that, Doug was a friend, and I will miss him personally.”

Kelsey was born September 3, 1949. He served as AFDCS executive director from 1991 until 2011, at which time the position was altered and named executive secretary. He also served many years on the society’s board of directors.

Kelsey began collecting in 1960 and exhibiting in 1962. His wide collecting interests included first day covers, meter stamps, airmails, postal stationery, revenues, and Brazil and Australia.

In 2002 he won the Americover grand award for his 1962 Project Mercury first day covers. He received the society’s Glenn Michel special recognition award in 2001, its Distinguished Service Award in 2007, and was named AFDCS Honorary Life Member 21 in 2008. In 2012 Kelsey was honored by the American Philatelic Society with its Nicholas Carter Volunteer Award for national promotion and service. He was an accredited APS judge.

Kelsey held offices in several organizations including executive director of the American Topical Association, vice president and director of the United States Philatelic Classics Society, treasurer of the St. Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Philatelic Society, president of the Machine Cancel Society, executive director of the Postal History Foundation, and secretary-treasurer of the Meter Stamp Society.

Kelsey has authored several hundred articles, columns, catalogues, and monographs, including the United States Meter Stamps First Days and Earliest Known Uses, published by the AFDCS in 1996. For fourteen years he authored a column for Linn’s Stamp News and was former editor of the Postal History Foundation’s Heliograph.

Following seven years’ service in the United States Air Force, Kelsey was an executive for Coca-Cola Bottling, where he was responsible for sales, distribution, advertising, and special projects. He then served as executive director of American Outback—a non-profit organization devoted to the preservation of American wildlife and wilderness. Before joining AFDCS he was executive director of the Postal History Foundation for four years. He was also executive director of the Tucson Association of Executives from 1999 until his death.


Central Office Closed

The AFDCS Central Office is currently closed. We are unable to answer the telephone or regular mail at this time. The general email address has been redirected and should be responsive. However, we cannot retrieve messages prior to July 14 at this time.

Order fulfillment for items ordered on the website is not affected.

We apologize for the inconvenience.

New Elvis Catalog Available


Gary Dickinson's comprehensive cachet catalog on the two U.S. Elvis Presley stamps — really, four stamps — is now available from the AFDCS in our Marketplace section. It details almost 1,000 known cachets from the 1993 and 2015 issues, as well as documenting the stamps themselves.

Members can download a copy in .pdf format for $15, nonmembers for $17, or collectors can obtain a printout of the catalog for $23 (members) or $25 (nonmembers).


Register for Virtual Show

Registration (free) is now open for the Virtual Stamp Show extravaganza next month, sponsored by the American Philatelic Society, American Topical Association and American First Day Cover Society.  The show runs from Monday, August 17 through Saturday, August 22.


One of the show events is the Innovation stamps first-day ceremony on Thursday, August 20th, which will be hosted by the AFDCS.

Additional information about show events, including AFDCS meetings, will be forthcoming.

Board Candidates Sought

Nominations are now being accepted for candidates in the next election for the society's board of directors. Each year, four candidates are elected to three-year terms. This year, however, a fifth director will be chosen, to fill out the remaining two years in the term of the late Tom Peluso.

Michael Litvak has been appointed to chair the 2021 Nominating Committee. Al Starkweather and Mark Goodson are the other members of the panel.

Interested members may nominate themselves, or be nominated, by contacting Litvak: 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 2020 are Gary Denis, Ron Klimley, Foster Miller and Mark Thompson. Those elected in the next election will begin serving January 1, 2021, although they will be asked to vote before then for officers and a chairman of the board, all of whom serve one-year terms.

Directors (members of the board) 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 (email). Candidates are expected to submit a short election statement or biography and a good-quality "headshot" photograph to First Days by August 1st.

The board 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.

Get Ready for the Silent Auction

Silent Auction Teaser

The loss of this year’s Americover gathering and its attendant festivities is going to leave a big hole in the summer calendar for many AFDCSers.

But we think we have a way to plug part of that hole! Planning is already underway to hold a virtual edition of the ever-popular Hospitality Room SILENT AUCTION. This one will be REALLY silent!

The online stamp marketplace HipStamp has agreed to let us stage our auction on their website in late August! Instead of crowding around four closely-spaced frames in a tiny room, this year you can bid from the comfort of your home! You can bring your own snacks!

Donations are arriving daily to make this one of the best Silent Auctions ever. Details will be forthcoming as to where to find the auction online, but if you are not already a member of HipStamp, you should really check out their millions of stamp and cover offerings at

The auction is tentatively scheduled to begin on August 16 and close on the evening of Sunday, August 23. Stay tuned for all the ins and outs of how bidding will be handled. This will be a bountiful, terrific and fun auction — and no face masks required!

GASS/Americover 2020 Canceled

Logo 300 copy

The Great American Stamp Show, scheduled for August 20-23 in Hartford, Connecticut, has been canceled. It would have been the largest stamp show of the year in the United States, and was sponsored by the American Philatelic Society, American Topical Association and the American First Day Cover Society.

Based on current information from the State of Connecticut, the show would either be canceled due to its size or require aggressive mitigation as an indoor activity.


Thompson Weathers the Storm

AFDCS Treasurer Mark Thompson and his wife Linda are fine after the devastating tornadoes in central Tennessee, but a big tree fell on their house in East Nashville, crushing the two dormers. (Mark’s home office was up there.) The tree also ruptured the gas line, so power is cut in the neighborhood to any homes that might have still had it. East Nashville was one of the harder- hit areas of the city.

Some of his collection may be damaged by the rain, but he believes his gold-medal exhibit is fine.

Tom Peluso Passes

Tom Peluso of West Hempstead, NY, a longtime member of the AFDCS Board of Directors and producer of Therome Cachets, passed away February 10, 2020, after a short battle with liver cancer, at the age of 72. He had recently been reelected to the Board and had frequently lent his artistic talents to the AFDCS. He and his wife Carol, also pictured here at Americover 2015, were regulars at the AFDCS’s annual show.

A full obituary will appear in an upcoming issue of First Days.


FDC Exhbits Win Big at SESE

First day cover exhibits ruled at the Southeastern Stamp Expo, January 31 - February 2, 2020, held in Peachtree Corners, Georgia (site of Americover 2018).

Charles J. O'Brien, III took the Multi-frame Grand Award for his Frank Lloyd Wright First Days & Usages of the Two Cent Definitive Issue. This is a must see exhibit, He even has a full deck of 100 panes of the stamp INSIDE the exhibit frame.

In addition, in what is apparently a first outside of Americover, first day cover exhibits took three of the four APS Awards of Excellence:
  • Kris McIntosh 1900-1940 for The 3 Cent Susan B. Anthony Issue, which also won a Large Gold
  • Charles J. O'Brien 1940-1980 for his Frank Lloyd Wright exhibit, which also won a Large Gold
  • Mark Thompson 1980-present for Women in the Black Heritage Series - From Fields of Slavery to the Halls of Congress, which also won a Large Vermeil
Kris McIntosh also received a Vermeil for The 3 Cent Progress of Women Issue.

I had a non-competitive exhibit on A Selection of First Day Covers for the United States 50th Anniversary Woman Suffrage Stamp.

-Foster Miller

Cynthia Scott is Board Chair

The Board of Directors of the American First Day Cover Society has elected officers for one-year terms, and chosen Cynthia Scott of Indiana as its chair.

The 2020 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.

Scott has been AFDCS first vice president and show chair, as well as a member of the board of directors. She has produced Anon E. Mouse Cachets for occasional issues since October 1981, and is also a member of the American Philatelic Society, American Association of Philatelic Exhibitors and Women Exhibitors.

The former Master Sergeant also served for more than 30 years in the U.S. Air Force. She is about to leave her position as Registrar Services representative at Indiana University-Purdue University after 12 years, but is currently taking courses. “I love being a student so much that I am now pursuing my second bachelor's degree, this one a BA in English,” she says.

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 the society's annual convention, which in 2020 will be held August 20-23 at Great American Stamp Show in Hartford, Conn.

The AFDCS board will also meet at the convention and conduct other business throughout the year, under Scott's direction.

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