The President’s Message

October, 1999 — Gordon R.D. Milne, GBCC, U.S.A.


Published in The Chronicle, the journal of the Great Britain Collectors Club. Reprinted by permission.

It is difficult to conceive that this is my last “Message” of this millennium. (It isn’t, Gordon, you have another year to go! — Larry) So I suppose it had better be a good one!

At year’s end, it is a popular pursuit to reflect on not only what has been but also what is likely to be in the year(s) ahead.

Unashamedly, I decided to borrow that familiar journalistic approach when, at the close of my “In the Spotlight” interview with Scott Catalogue Editor, Jim Kloetzel, (which appears in this month’s issue of “The Chronicle”) I asked him for his reflections on the state of the hobby as the new millenium appears, all of a sudden, right on our doorstep.

I hope you will read the whole interview since it contains, I believe, some really good, positive, up-beat, well-reasoned, wholesome material on the major changes Scott has made to its Machins listings.

But, if you don’t or can’t at one fell swoop read it all (since it’s another long one), then do, I beg you, read Jim’s responses on where he sees the hobby headed into the 21st century. His predictions are logical, insightful and, probably most telling of all, mirror a lot of my thinking exactly!

Let me use this space to add some additional thoughts of my own that also allow me to cover the “what has been” of the last three months.

The continued good health of our hobby depends, I believe, on energetic input by existing collectors at all levels of the hobby, none less important than those at the local club level.

There was no better example of that than at August’s Stampshow ’99 in Cleveland, Ohio, where, in my view, the local clubs backed the APS’ effort in grand style.

A warm and genial welcome greeted me (and, I’m sure, the majority of others) at the constantly well-staffed registration booths and, bolstered by a huge attendance at the First Day ceremony for the Trains issue, the show’s opening day was a huge hit.

On the rare occasions I got away from the GBCC table for other duties, like helping out (with Charlie Mayfield) at Stamp Saturday — how refreshing it is to participate in this program and see the joy on the faces of new adult collectors as they experience the fun of stamps for the first time — I heard nothing but upbeat comments about the great job the Midwest does in staging a big stamp show.

Many dealers volunteered the comment that, already, at opening day’s end, they had covered their expenses. Wow!

Resident Northern Ohio Club members also should be proud of their efforts in the GBCC’s cause.

Before opening day was over, I had long-time members, John Cummings of Southgate, MI; Dick Roser of Brook Park, OH; Dick Jones of South Euclid, OH; Will Penney of Lakewood, OH; and the ever-supportive Ann Triggle of Clarence, NY stop by the GBCC table with offers to staff it for an hour or more over the four days of the show. And they did — to my great relief and appreciation. Good job!

The first image below shows Dick Roser and Dick Jones at the GBCC table at Stampshow ’99 in Cleveland, Ohio. The second image is Will Penney. Gentlemen, enjoy your new Internet fame!

GBCC table at Stampshow 99

GBCC table at Stampshow 99

Also making a point to stop by the GBCC table and introduce themselves — and I do like putting the face to the name! — were (among others) Donald Brown of Springfield, OH; Ken Magee of Clinton, ONT, Canada; Tom Kacmarcik of Parma Heights, OH; and Clint Many of Brook Park, OH. It was great making your personal acquaintance.

Unfortunately, due to a family emergency that erupted while I was in Cleveland, I was unable to fulfill my promise of attending the show the following week in Omaha, NE. So, on the one hand, apologies to those whom I’d hoped to meet there and, on the other, my thanks to V.P. Tom Myers (and others), who deputised in my stead.

The following weekend, the ever-dutiful Cincinnati trio of Charlie Mayfield, Janet Gordon and myself, staffed the GBCC table at INDYPEX. This year’s Indiana showpiece, for me personally, was a surprisingly lacklustre affair with poor attendance and a decided lack of “atmosphere” on and off the show floor. Maybe I was spoiled at Cleveland!

The show did have, I admit, some excellent exhibits, including the Gold award-winning ones of GBCCers, Don Hines (also a winner at Omaha the previous week) and Paul Phillips — but the highlight for me was again making the acquaintance for the first time of GBCCers like the Rev. Wilmer Bloy of Sun Prairie, WI and new member Greg Meyer of Greensburg, IN.

All of the aforementioned GBCCers had one thing in common — a refreshing enthusiasm for the hobby, irrespective of the area of their collecting interest.

It is upon those disciples and their hopefully continuing zeal for the hobby that the future of stamp collecting depends.

And so I close this last message of the millennium with the following exhortations.

Spread the news — to young and old — STAMP COLLECTING IS FUN! (I heard recently of a great job that GBCC’er Aureol Moore is doing with a bunch of kids down in Wilmore, KY. They meet at Aureol’s home every Thursday after school; and I look forward to visiting with them some time in the next few months to help, in whatever way I can, further promote her enthusiasm for the hobby.) Follow Aureol’s example — and spread the gospel!

Attend your local Stamp Club’s meetings. Enjoy the programs that volunteers put on for your edification and entertainment. Even come forward and offer to share your special stamp knowledge — ’cos you have some! – with others.

Swap/exchange material for which you no longer have a need or interest with others. Or, alternatively, give it away to kids!

Enroll yourself in a GBCC circuit (as I plan to do this winter season with the Vickies).

Get out that new GBCC Directory and get in touch with members who share your collecting interests.

And, most importantly of all, stay active in the hobby, because its future depends on YOU!

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