President's Notes: FEB. 2001

Stamp Show Trifecta: Thanks to a combination of planning and good luck, I was able to score a trifecta of sorts by attending three major stamp shows on three consecutive weekends in January. The string began with the New Orleans Stamp Expo from January 5-7. I just happened to be in town to attend the American Economic Association annual meeting. On the way in from the airport on Friday, I stopped by the show. It was refreshing to meet a whole new group of dealers and material. To a person, the dealers were all extremely kind. I found a few interesting items, including onel will talk about below. The following weekend was Metroexpo here in Northern Virginia.

The third and truly impressive show was ARIPEX 2001. As my notes in the belated November issue mentioned, I tried to organize a KSS meeting, but unfortunately the organizers mixed up the days, and instead of being on Friday, they had it on Saturday, when I was in the bottom of the Grand Canyon! So it is just as well that you did not receive the notice in time. The organizers had the brilliant idea of combining the show with NORDIA 2001 and AmeriStamp Expo 2001. The show opened with a bang--several Native American dances. This was followed by a First Day Ceremony for one of the love stamps that featured a mariachi band. I was able to say hello to APS President, David McCann, on behalf of KSS. The most encouraging thing of all was the hundreds of school children bused in to see the exhibits and participate in activities in the “Youth Corral.” I thanked one of the teachers and learned that the children were in the Fourth Grade. I was able to pick up a copy of the elusive Kim Il-sung with the South Korean flag stamp, as well as the North’s version of the NorthSouth Summit souvenir sheet (I am using it in my presentations on North-South relations). The biggest find of all was a crisp Suwon double circle cancel for $10--for me that now means 14 down and 12 more to go!

In the News: In my last column I forgot to mention that the KSS web site, managed by Harry Penn, was featured in the “Glassine Suffer” column in American Philately. The column had nothing but the highest praise for the site! Thanks to Harry’s efforts to provide Linn ‘s with the latest new issue information; Linn ‘s New Issues column featured the President Kim Nobel Prize stamp. Linn ‘s also reported that South Korea finally gave in to the trend towards self-stick stamps by issuing its own late last year. I am still not a huge fan of them because they can be devilish to soak, but it does allow me to have my institute send out our mass mailings with a colorful self-stick stamp rather than an ugly meter stamp. If only America’s philatelic press could say the same thing! Stamps will become irrelevant in our daily lives if even the people who love them most do not use them.

Yet Another Curious Find: The most interesting find of all at the three shows I attended was a group of Eagle (Falcon is a mistranslation!) stamps I found in New Orleans. The dealer told me that he had received some Eagles that were contained in a UPU presentation book from the turn of the century. On the backs of the stamps were the denominations of each stamp in faint red lettering. Can any of our members tell me why these characters were applied? No one has been able to give me a definitive answer about these definitives, but the best guess so far has been that they were applied by the government for recordkeeping or accounting purposes.

Travels: After New Orleans and Arizona, my next trips are to Wesleyan University in Connecticut on March 2 and Columbia University on March 8. They will be followed by my annual trip to the University of South Carolina to participate in former Amb. Dixie Walker's conference. With any luck, like last year I should be able to visit both Asia and Europe for conferences. I am keeping my fingers crossed that they both work out. I haven't done any serious hiking since the Grand Canyon (20 miles in just over seven hours!), but skiing at Killington (Vermont) next weekend will help me get back into shape.

I would like to wish our members all the best in the Year of the Snake!

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