Tie for 2022 Writing Award

Two works tied for first place in the American First Day Cover Society’s Philip H. Ward, Jr., Memorial Award for Excellence in First Day Cover Literature published in 2022. One recipient was Henry Scheuer, for his two-part article “How the Earliest Collectors Sought Out First Days” in The American Philatelist in November and December 2022. This article also won the 2023 United States Stamp Society’s Barbara R. Mueller Award.
The other winner was a book, The Connecticut Tercentenary Issue of 1935, by Peter J. LaPlaca and Anthony F. Dewey. Included in the book is a complete catalogue of all known cachets for the issue, Sc. 772.
The runner-up work was the article "Earliest Documented Uses of the Large Bank Note Stamps" by Ralph Nafziger, which appeared in the November 2022 issue of The Chronicle, journal of the U.S. Philatelic Classics Society.
Although all articles in First Days, the official journal of the AFDCS, are automatically considered for this award, "I find it interesting that none of these works was published in our journal, " said AFDCS president Lloyd A. de Vries. "Their publication in media not specifically about first day covers shows, in my opinion, the wider acceptance that FDCs are gaining."
A complete list of past winners can be found on this page.
Philip Henry Ward, Jr., began servicing first day covers in 1909. Although an electrical engineer by trade, he wrote on new issues for The American Philatelist, Mekeel’s Weekly Stamp News and The Weekly Philatelic Gazette in the early 20th century.

Board Candidates Announced

Candidates for the annual election for members of the board of directors of the American First Day Cover Society have been announced.

AFDCS members will elect four candidates for 2024-2026 three-year terms on the board. The candidates seeking election are Eric Wile, Jeff Hayward, Foster Miller and Patrick Morgan. Miller is a current director seeking reelecton, while Wile, Hayward and Morgan are seeking to join the board for the first time.

Candidate statements and the ballot will be sent by first-class mail to all AFDCS members this fall. All members are encouraged to vote.

The board meets in person once each year, in a meeting preceding Americover, the society's annual show and convention, now part of the Great American Stamp Show. The board also meets as necessary via video conference. Members of the board of directors are not compensated nor reimbursed for their expenses.

De Vries to Receive APS Luff Award

From the APS:

Since 1940, the Luff Award has been the most prestigious award that the American Philatelic Society can bestow upon living philatelists. The Luff Award was established in memory of John N. Luff, APS president from 1907 to 1909, who was considered the most prominent American philatelist of his era.

The APS Luff Awards are available annually for Distinguished Philatelic Research, Exceptional Contributions to Philately, and Outstanding Service to the American Philatelic Society.

The 2023 recipient For Exceptional Contributions to Philately is AFDCS President Lloyd A. de Vries.

Lloyd A. de Vries writes the first day cover column for Linn's Stamp News (since 1997) and before that for Stamps (1986-89) and Stamp Collector (1989-97). For 20 years, de Vries produced a weekly radio feature on stamp collecting for CBS News. He has operated online stamp collecting forums since 1993, which collectively became The Virtual Stamp Club, and moderates the VSC and American First Day Cover Society Facebook groups, as well as the online Americover page.

De Vries has also written about first day covers and other subjects for First Days, Stamps, Stamp Collector, Global Stamp News, Brookman Times, and the USPS website Beyond the Perf.

Since 2010, de Vries has been president of the AFDCS while also serving in various other posts. He is the president of the APS Writers Unit #30, and a member of many other stamp societies, including the American Philatelic Society (since 1982). He served on the APS Board (1997-2005) as a director-at-large and secretary. He received the Nicholas G. Carter Volunteer Recognition Award (national) in 2009, the AFDCS Distinguished Service Award in 2008, and last year was named a Most Influential Philatelist by Linn's Stamp News.

De Vries has produced Dragon Cards first day cachets since 1983.

Lloyd is married with two sons, two daughters-in-law, and three grandchildren. He plays trombone, bass trombone and euphonium in several community musical ensembles. He retired in 2020 after a 44-year career in journalism (radio, television, internet) with CBS, ABC and others, most of it at the network level. As a freelance radio journalist, his sports coverage included the World Series, Preakness Stakes and even an event at the White House.

Lloyd’s response to the award.

Americover Volunteers Wanted

The AFDCS is seeking members to volunteer for Great American Stamp Show.

The available slots are:

  • Thursday, Aug, 10 - 10 am-12 pm and 12-2 pm
  • Friday, Aug. 11 - 10 am-12 pm
  • Saturday, Aug. 12 - 10 am-12 pm and 12-2 pm

COVER PREPARATION: Thursday, August 10 and Friday, August 11: 10 am-12 pm

Please let Americover volunteer coordinator Ralph Nafziger — nafziger@peak.org — know by August 4 if you can help, and if so, when and for which duty.

Editor Miller is New Exec Secretary

Martin Kent Miller Is New AFDCS Executive Secretary

The American First Day Cover Society has chosen Martin Kent Miller as its new Executive Secretary and contracted with his firm The Image Forge to manage the AFDCS Central Office. The new address is P.O. Box 27, Greer, SC 29652-0027. The office telephone number remains (540) 940-1629 and the email address still is afdcs@afdcs.org.

Miller, 55, succeeds David Lorms, who became Executive Secretary in November 2020 and resigned to pursue other interests. Miller has been married for 33 years to Jennifer Miller, the executive director of the American Topical Association. They have three children and one granddaughter.

He currently edits First Days, the official journal of the AFDCS; Topical Time (American Topical Association), The United States Specialist (United States Stamp Society), The Philatelic Exhibitor (American Association of Philatelic Exhibitors), and the Pennsylvania Postal Historian (Pennsylvania Postal History Society). He is a past editor of The American Philatelist (American Philatelic Society) and was chief content officer of the APS.

Miller holds a BFA in Computer Graphic Design from Harding University. He created The Image Forge firm in 2003 so that he could work in design, graphics, printing, marketing, and communications, all in one job. 

For the first time, he will have a cachetmakers bourse table at Great American Stamp Show 2023, for his new Philatelic Press line of cachets and stamp art. He also collects Fluegel cachets and FDCs of the 1934 National Parks issue, as well as Bohemia and Moravia (Czechoslovakia in World War II). His exhibit of the latter, Böhmen und Mähren: Nazi Propaganda in World War II Czechoslovakia, will be his first competitive exhibit. His major topical interests are emus on stamps and Albrecht Dürer, and the postal history of the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.

The AFDCS Central Office process membership and other records, coordinates activities and handles other administrative tasks. Miller and The Image Forge are also charged with providing the AFDCS with a new integrated records system and website. 

"I see the job as an opportunity to make a contribution to one area of philately that I truly love, FDCs and cachet making," he says. "While I enjoy editing, my professional experience is in integrated communications. This gives me an opportunity to make a bigger contribution."

Central Office Relocates

The Central Office of the AFDCS has moved. The new U.S. mail address for the Society is:

American First Day Cover Society
PO Box 27
Greer, SC 29652-0027

Martin Kent Miller is the new Executive Secretary, succeeding David Lorms.

There is no change to the Society email address (afdcs@afdcs.org) or the phone number, (540) 940-1629.

USPS to Present at GASS/Americover

Collectors to Hear from USPS Brass At AFDCS GASS 2023 Seminars

The American First Day Cover Society has arranged for two seminars at Great American Stamp Show 2023 featuring top philately-related officials of the U.S. Postal Service. GASS will be held August 10-13 at the Huntington Convention Center in Cleveland, Ohio.

Lisa Bobb-Semple, acting director of USPS Stamp Services, which chooses and designs stamps and stationery, will speak Thursday, August 10, at 1p.m. She will be joined by Shawn Quinn, Manager of Stamp Development, and Michael Henry, Senior Stamp Development Specialist. For the second seminar, top managers from USPS Stamp Fulfillment Services —Teri Basinger, its overall manager; Linda Houghtaling, Senior Operations Manager; Betty Brown, manager of stamp production; and Dave Mapel, Cancellation Services supervisor — will speak on Friday, August 11, also at 1p.m. All stamps are distributed to post offices and sold through SFS, and cancellations are applied to first day covers there.

The U.S. is issuing two sets of stamps during GASS: "Life Magnified" on Thursday and "Thinking Of You" on Friday. In addition, the United Nations, Faroe Islands and Marshall Islands will issue stamps at the show.

The seminars are free and open to the public. Admission to Great American Stamp Show is also free. More details are available on the APS website.

The AFDCS is a co-sponsor of the show, along with the American Philatelic Society and American Topical Association. Other AFDCS seminars will be held, along with the society's annual meetings, and the results of the annual cachet contest will be announced. Further information on the show is on the Americover 2023 page.

Show Hotels Sold Out

Great American Stamp Show 2023, of which the AFDCS’s Americover is a part, is shaping up to be one heck of a show. The first and second blocks of hotel rooms have sold out. The dealer bourse is sold out. Both of these indicate very good attendance at the show. 

If you’re planning to attend but have not yet reserved a room, the APS has some hotel alternatives on its website.

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