Study Groups


Philatelic Society of Lancaster County

The James Buchanan Chapter #173 of the American Philatelic Society  
Chapter #118 of the American Topical Association  

Study Groups

In the spirit of sharing and at the core of our mission, the Philatelic Society of Lancaster County is pleased to host this page for our regional Study Groups who elect to have the PSLC promote their efforts. The first such group is The Philatelic Gathering, of which our very own Dr. Charles J. DiComo, Lou DiFelice and Dick Colberg are charter members. Contact Charles J. DiComo, PhD if you would like your Study Group spotlighted here.

The Philatelic Gathering

In January 2019, seventeen stamp and postal history collectors, researchers and historians convened at Bill and Patricia Schultz’ home in West Chester, PA to discuss how “To Share our Love of Philately with Others”. Also in attendance was Ellen E. Endslow, the Director of Collections/Curator from the Chester County Historical Society (CCHS). From this initial meeting, “The Philatelic Gathering” was formed to explore and share a myriad of topics. Meetings are held on Saturdays, 10:00 AM-12:00 PM at the CCHS. For more info and to participate, contact Bill Schultz or Dr. Charles J. DiComo.

We are starting to plan for the 2023 Gatherings – so check back for more information. Below are a few of our future speakers and their subjects.

225 N. High Street, West Chester PA, 19380. N.B.: after the meeting, whoever wants to join the group for a luncheon at a nearby restaurant in West Chester is welcome.

Date Lead | Host Description
March 18 Bill Schultz Speakers: Gus Spector on “Philadelphia Hotel Markings”; Kean Spencer on “Stamps of Puerto Rico, from Spanish Dominion through U.S. Possession” and Dr. Charles J. DiComo on “The Providence, R.I. Pre-Mailing Control Marking on the U.S. 3 Cents 1851-57 Stamp.”

April 15 Kean Spencer An open session where all members will share how they got into collecting. All are encouraged to bring your first stamp album/stock book and/or the item(s) you inherited that sparked the interest.

May 20 TBD Speakers: TBD

June 17 TBD Speakers: TBD

July 15 TBD Speakers: TBD

August 19 TBD Speakers: TBD

September 16 TBD Speakers: TBD

October 21 TBD Speakers: TBD

November 18 TBD Speakers: TBD

Topics for the First Three Years of Meetings

N.B. These topics are not cast in stone, but gives an initial place to begin our thinking and planning. As we check one off, we add one to the list… always keeping 27 ideas on the list.

1.  Past, Present & Future of Philately
2.  Why, Why Not Postal History?
3.  Paper Restoration and Why
4.  Use of Research Libraries (CCHS, APRL, etc.)
5.  New, Older Exhibiting Techniques
6.  What About Philatelic Importance
7.  Collecting Topical & Thematic
8.  Postcard Collecting & Exhibiting
9.  Estate Valuation Concerns
10.  Why We Collect (Is it Genetics?)
11.  The Joys & Sorrows of Philately
12.  First Day Cover Collecting & Exhibiting
13.  My Favorite Cover and/or Stamp
14.  Tell A Philatelic (but) Brief Story
15.  The Collector, Dealer Relationships
16.  Writing Philatelic Articles
17.  Revenues & Back of the Book (BOB)
18.  The Bonds & Friendships of Philately
19.  Buying & Selling – Do’s and Don’ts
20.  Postal Routes, Markings & Rates
21.  Transatlantic Mails
22.  Civil War & Patriotic Covers
23.  How Can We Help Each Other
24.  Errors, Freaks & Oddities (EFO)
25.  Forgeries & Expertization
26.  Selecting Subject to Exhibit
27.  What Societies Should I Join?

Archive & Photo Journal

2020-01: The following document has been released to the public domain and is being shared by Ed Siskin. This collection was exhibited in various national stamp shows in the early 1980’s and at AMERIPEX ’86. The collection was sold in Superb Auctions dated April 29, 1989 & September 22, 1989. This exhibit focuses on the Washington-Franklin Series: 1908-1922, one of the most complex and fascinating series of stamp ever issued by the United States, boasting more than 210 major catalog listings. The exhibit shows the evolution of the series with select covers included to illustrate each change. Enjoy!

Washington-Franklin Series of 1908-1922, On Cover and Piece, by Ed Siskin, Released to the Public Domain.


2019-11-16: Twenty-two members and guests were in attendance for the final Gathering of the club’s inaugural year. Alan Warren served as host. Dr. Charles DiComo spoke about the membership update and the list of 2020 meeting dates that are now posted on the website. Alan read the minutes of the October meeting that Jean Woods had recorded. Bill Schultz gave an update on donations.
The first speaker was Richard Colberg who described the anxiety that, both collectors as well as those who inherited collections and are not collectors, experience when they want to sell a collection—they feel that dealers and auction houses may take advantage of them. He listed steps that should be taken for disposal of collections that may be general or specialized, or beginner’s type. He differentiated between catalog value and fair market value. Sales can be via collector-to-collector, club auctions, APS sales circuit books, dealers, auction houses, eBay or Delcampe online auctions, or APS StampStore. Appraisals are needed in general in order to take advantage for tax purposes.
Gene Fricks was the second speaker on “Direct Mail Promotion.” This is the largest volume generated in the field of advertising. Early advertising was carried out with newsletters, newspapers, book lists, etc. Illustrated envelopes were then used to urge the recipient to open the envelope. Gene described the Mulready envelopes and use of woodcuts for early illustrated mail. These evolved into multi-color lithography, patriotic covers first used during the Civil War, and those bearing images of political candidates, farm equipment, tea companies, schools and colleges, etc. America adopted the technology developed in Germany for multicolored illustrations on advertising covers, followed by Canada and then the rest of the world. The phrase “Direct Mail Advertising” was introduced in 1905. Gene included an extensive bibliography of sources in this field. About 15 members then adjourned to the Iron Hill Brewery for lunch. Write-up: A. Warren; Photo’s: Dr. DiComo. View the Agenda PDF Mini-Icon HERE.
PDF Mini-Icon Direct Mail Promotion, by Gene Fricks (8MB).


2019-10-19: Our October meeting was hosted by Robert Rufe with 20+ members and guests present. Ellen Endslow of the CCHS reminded us to continue voting online for the opportunity to obtain funds to help the Society undertake much-needed roof repairs. Charles DiComo announced 34 members were in the Gathering and a new addition, Dr. Paul Petersen of the Philatelic Society of Lancaster County joined today, making the total 35. In Alan Warren’s stead, Charles also read the minutes from the September 21 meeting. This was followed by our two excellent speakers, with Kean Spencer leading off with two frames of U.S. Possessions, including Puerto Rico, Cuba, Guam, Philippines, Hawaii, Ryukyu Islands and Canal Zone. Kean showed off many of the key stamps which completes these series. Next Robert Rufe walked us through a presentation (available below) of the exciting new listings in the 2020 Scott Specialized Catalog of the 1928 Fourth Bureau Stamps printed on Booklet Paper. This has been a decade long effort by Bob and we congratulate him. After a brief Q&A on current copyright law with respect to digital images of prior-owned collections and use in the public domain, the Gathering retired to the Iron Hill Brewery to continue the dynamic discussion.
PDF Mini-Icon 1928 Fourth Bureaus on Special Booklet Paper, by Robert G. Rufe, Governor, U.S Stamp Society, 2019.


2019-09-21: Our September meeting was hosted by Bill Schultz with 18 members and guests present. Ellen Enslow of the CCHS advised us that effective September 24 we could vote online for an opportunity to obtain funds to help the Society undertake needed roof repairs. Charles DiComo announced 33 members were in the Gathering and a new one, Jean Woods from the Brandywine Valley Stamp Club joined today, making the total 34. Alan Warren read the minutes from the August 17 meeting. Tom Geiger spoke about “U.S. Private Perforations” using his 1-cent Franklin Sc. #314 imperf issue as the basis. This was his Part 2 presentation as he spoke about the Sc. #300 stamp itself in May. He also had a Schermack vending machine on display. Alan Warren presented a program about the U.S. 1933 Byrd Antarctic stamp—pre-production essays and die proofs, printing anomalies, first day covers, and non-first day uses of the stamp. In the open discussion session, Alan mentioned the “philatelic crime” that was committed when collectors and exhibitors sell their collections, and their years of research notes or page write-ups are lost. He urged everyone to prepare PDFs of their collections with notes or their exhibits and to place them with philatelic libraries such as the American Philatelic Research Library. This way other collectors can benefit from your studies. Several other philatelic sites that displayed exhibits were also mentioned. The Gathering retired to the Iron Hill Brewery for lunch. Write-up: A. Warren; Photo’s: C. DiComo. Click for Agenda.
PDF Mini-Icon The U.S. 1933 Byrd Antarctic Issue, by Alan Warren, RDP, 2019.
PDF Mini-Icon “The Benjamin Franklin U.S. One Cent Green Stamp: The Private Perforation Story”, by Thomas Geiger, 2019.


2019-08-17: Our sixth meeting was hosted by Bill Schultz. 17 members and guests were present and coffee and donuts were supplied by Bill DeWitt. Ron Majors (pictured at left) spoke on two topics.
First he pointed out his interest in the cents decimal issues of Canada that he collects. He then launched into a display of mourning covers. The width of the black border decreases with time from the date of death. He showed cross-border covers from Canada to the USA and also destinations overseas including Ireland and England. His second subject was the early turned covers of Canada. The method helped save money and also was useful when paper was scarce. He showed drop letters, one franked with a decimal issue on one side and stampless on the other. A 1-cent circular rate turned cover contained a 5-cent stamp. An 1870 cover was franked with a large queen. Bills of lading and bank drafts were used to create turned covers. A Civil War adversity cover was made from wallpaper. Bill Schultz concluded the meeting with a display of pages from his picture postcard exhibit on toll houses and toll gates. The exhibit earned the Research Award on one outing. Members retired to Iron Hill Brewery for lunch. Photo’s/write-up: A. Warren.
PDF Mini-Icon “Death Through the Letterbox: Early Canadian Mourning Covers”, by Ron Majors, 2019.
PDF Mini-Icon “Early Canadian Turned Covers (And Beyond)”, by Ron Majors, 2019.


2019-07-20: Our fifth meeting was hosted by Bob Rufe. After the minutes were read by Alan Warren from the June meeting, Richard Colberg shared with the attendees his Moline Plow Company Advertising Covers in a round table session, where all could observe and study each cover. AV gremlins prevented our second speaker Alan Warren, RDP from presenting on “The U.S. 1933 Byrd Antarctic Issue: Production, First Day and Other Uses.” He has agreed to present at a later date. General conversation and APS Summer Seminar dialogue easily filled remaining time! And an enjoyable lunch was had at the Iron Hill Brewery. See everyone in August! Agenda PDF Mini-Icon HERE.


2019-06-15: Our fourth Gathering was hosted by preeminent, award-winning postal historian Mark Schwartz. Dr. Charles J. DiComo read the website and membership report, while Alan Warren, recent Royal Fellow of Philately recipient, read the minutes from our May meeting. Mark then introduced our two speakers – whose biographies are nothing but exemplary. Dr. Gus Spector spoke first on “The Great Central Fair of 1864”, while Edward Siskin followed with his presentation on “Free Franks” from all the signers of the Declaration of Independence. There was an excellent Q&A session, followed by a short open discussion by Bill Schultz on “Single vs. Multi-Frames Exhibiting” and the recent changes to the rules to allow for more open displays and exhibits. Agenda PDF Mini-Icon HERE. Photo’s/write-up: DiComo.
PDF Mini-Icon “Free Franks”, by Edward & Jean Siskin, Released to Public Domain, 2019.
PDF Mini-Icon “The Great Central Fair”, by Dr. Gus Spector, 2019.


2019-05-25: Our third Gathering was hosted by Dr. Charles J. DiComo, President of both the Philatelic Society of Lancaster County and Empire State Postal History Society, a USPCS Life Member and Editor-in-Chief of the Chairman’s Chatter. Ellen E. Endslow opened the meeting to 20+ attendees by highlighting upcoming exhibits and events at the Chester County Historical Society. Kean Spencer then shared his complete collection of Canal Zone stamps and postal stationery in a 2 frame display, along with the dynamic history of the region and stamp production and delivery. Thomas Geiger then shared a PowerPoint presentation on his award-winning Exhibit of U.S. 1 Cent Franklin Scott #300, along with a 2 frame display – this was an era of change and experimentation and Scott #300 was a work horse. Bill Schultz ended the session with an open discussion on two new research projects, the preparing a census of the 6 1/4 “phantom” or “convenience” rate from the stampless era, along with the rare 16 1/2 rate (12 1/2 inland fee + 4 Ship Fee) from a nine year period in the 1790’s. Bill distributed a few recently discovered examples and requested the attendees to share any they may possess. Agenda PDF Mini-Icon HERE. Photo’s/write-up: DiComo.
PDF Mini-Icon “The Benjamin Franklin U.S. One Cent Green Stamp of 1902”, by Thomas Geiger, 2019.


2019-04-27: Noted postal historian, exhibitor, judge, and author Bill Schultz hosted our second Gathering, which included two diverse speakers: Dr. Paul Pitcher on the “Introduction to Aviation Pioneering on Postally Used Postcards”; and Bill Schultz’ Single Frame Exhibit on “Fort Delaware POW Prison 1862-1865”. This was followed by an open discussion on the “Importance in Collecting/Exhibiting.” Agenda PDF Mini-Icon HERE. Write-up: DiComo.
PDF Mini-IconAviation Pioneering on Postcards, Part I – Beginnings, by Paul Pitcher.

2019-03-23: Noted philatelist Kean Spencer hosted our inaugural meeting of The Philatelic Gathering. The agenda included three diverse speakers: Mark Schwartz on “Special Arrangement between the U.S. & Liverpool from 1843-1848”; Bill Schultz on “Dining Car Postcards”; and Vince Costello on “Fancy Cancels” along with 3 displays. Agenda PDF Mini-Icon HERE. Photo’s/write-up: DiComo.

Article in the American Philatelist

In the May 2019 American Philatelist, Ken Martin, COO of the American Philatelic Society, penned an article mentioning our very own Bill Schultz and the formation and mission of our Philatelic Gathering. We thank Ken for the recognition in his Philatelic Happenings section of the AP! Click the image below to enlarge.

Those attending the Philatelic Gathering have shared that each meeting “…has been enlightening and inspiring, especially since there is such a range of interest and levels of expertise.” Why not join us today?

Charter Members

The Charter Members of this group (order determined by lottery), with primary areas of oversight are as follows:

# NAME E-Mail Chair | Advisor | Consultant | Liaison
1 Dr. Paul Pitcher Berks County and Railroads
2 Norm Shachat Montgomery & Philadelphia Counties
3 Kean Spencer U.S. Stamps
4 David Dewsnap Stamp Collecting
5 Dr. Charles J. DiComo U.S. Classics, Stampless & Lancaster County
6 Pam Gray Chester County History & League of Women Voters
7 Bill Schultz Postal History & AAPE
8 Ellen E. Endslow CCHS Liaison
9 Al Kaufman American History
10 Mark Schwartz APS & British/Colonial Postal History
11 Ron Majors Civil War & BNAPS
12 Robert Rufe Area Stamp Clubs; United States Stamp Society
13 Dr. Gus Spector Illustrated Mail & PA Postal History Society
14 Alan Warren Editorial, First Day Covers; AFDCS & Polar Society
15 John Howker Delaware & Northern Maryland
16 Vince Costello Fancy Cancels & Postal Markings
17 Michael Peich Sports History & Baseball on Covers
18 Richard Colberg Lititz (PA.) PH, France & Canada RPO’s, Baltimore Carrier Stamps
19 Dr. William J. DeWitt, III Transportation on U.S. Stamps
20 Lou DiFelice Classic U.S. Stamps & Postal History
21 Thomas Geiger, CFM U.S. 1c Franklin Issue 1903 & N.J. Postcards
22 Hal Klein U.S. Banknotes, Lebanon Co. PH, Overrun Countries & Prexies
23 Gene Fricks Advertising & Illustrated Mail, Direct Mail, PH of Portugal & Airmail Rates
24 Ed Siskin Colonial Mail, 3c 1851 Issue, N.J. Free Franks & Postal History
Invited Members
# NAME E-Mail Recruited by Date
25 Charles Gedge Michael Peich 2019-01-23
26 Aaron Heckler Charles J. DiComo 2019-02-13
27 John Barwis Bill Schultz 2019-03-07
28 Michael Marino Bill Schultz 2019-04-25
29 Bill Radcliffe Ronald E. Majors 2019-05-01
30 Chuck Buboltz Robert Rufe 2019-05-15
31 Greg Ajamian Robert Rufe 2019-06-15
32 Steve Washburne Alan Warren 2019-06-19
33 Bruce Marsden Bob Rufe 2019-07-20
34 Jean Woods Bob Rufe 2019-09-21
35 Paul Petersen Dr. Charles J. DiComo 2019-10-19
36 Fred Ferst N/A Jean Woods 2019-11-16
37 Armagan Ozdinc Alan Warren 2020-02-07
38 Jasmine Smith Bill Schultz 2022-10-30
39 Lou Glasgow Bill Schultz 2022-10-30
40 Robert Myers Bill Schultz 2022-10-30
41 Carl Barna Bill Schultz 2022-11-11
42 Jim Margolies Bill Schultz 2023-01-12
43 Mike Wilson Bill Schultz 2023-01-30