GBCC at St. Louis Stamp Expo, February 2005
By Gordon Milne, GBCC President
(This is an edited version of Gordon’s article that appeared in the April, 2005 edition of The Chronicle.)
The story of my participation in the show actually started in January when I worked a 10-day program down in Orlando for a pharmaceutical company, at the end of whose annual meeting several of the 400-strong delegates were falling ill with a “mystery” bug.
Being the dyed-in-the-wool Scot that I am, I hate to let anything go by that is going for free. No sooner had I returned to Cincinnati than I realised that the bug had got me, too!
Sadly it stayed with me for six l-o-n-g weeks and was diagnosed as a severe attack of bronchitis verging on pneumonia.
As it ran its long course, I was beginning to get concerned that I wasn’t to be fit enough to attend the Club’s annual convention in St. Louis — a convention already decimated by the absence of regular booth-manning GBCC stalwarts, Parker Bailey and Charlie Mayfield, both of whom had given me early warning that prior commitments elsewhere were to render them unavailable for duty in St. Louis.
Although still not at my best, I declared myself fit enough to drive down with wife, Jan, but the bug hit me again on the Saturday, resulting in our not being able both to attend (as planned) that evening’s awards banquet and dinner and help staff the Club table on the Sunday.
Upon arrival on the Friday and under vigorous prompting by Immediate Past President, Tom Myers, I was, however, able to organise, at short notice, the traditional Friday evening dinner for members and friends. And, as usual, a good evening was had by one and all, as this group photograph, taken by the waiter using Larry Rosenblum’s camera, shows.
The happy group (this was taken after the meal!) at the Friday night GBCC dinner at Lombardo’s Restaurant. Seated at the table, from left to right: Larry Gardner (front left), Jerry Miller, Mariko Burgess, Tim Burgess, Tom Myers, Sue Bruce, Sarah Bruce, Jan Milne, David Alderfer, Gordon Milne, Anne Hughes, Jim Cysl (front right). Standing in the back, Larry Rosenblum (definitely on the left) and Paul Larson. Reflected in the mirror, proving that they, at least, are not vampires: Paul Larson, Tom Myers, David Alderfer, Gordon Milne. Many thanks to our unnamed waiter who took time out from his busy evening to take the picture.
I particularly impressed “the wife” by negotiating, via the hotel, a free shuttle to the restaurant and back!
It’s the third year in the last eight that I’ve attended the St. Louis show, this year at a location that was new to me and which, sadly, had one major failing.
Like the NAPEX set-up of a few years back when the Club visited Washington D.C., the societies’ tables at St. Louis were set up beyond the entrance door to the show, and, sadly, this resulted in our having very limited traffic come our way.
Here, the Prez is on duty at the table with Larry Gardner, who, with few potential new members to talk to, spends his time looking through the recent Linn’s book co-authored by Larry Rosenblum and David Alderfer.
Larry Gardner reading some funny bits to Gordon Milne from Introduction to the Stamps of Great Britain
by Larry Rosenblum and David Alderfer, the hot new book that knocked The Da Vinci Code off the best-seller list.
To my great surprise and delight, David came down from Chicago to join Larry at the show for the weekend. I hadn’t seen either of them since way back at the PAC ’97 show in San Francisco.
David Alderfer (left) and Gordon Milne enjoying dinner.
As a result of the poor traffic flow past our table, not surprisingly, we were only able to sign up one new member to the Club — a result that, for all the time, effort and money expended in attending, was, to say the least, very disappointing!
But my admiration and respect for each of these three St. Louis shows that I’ve attended continued to abound in the wonderful way the organizers encourage participation and involvement in the show by the neighborhood school kids.
There is no better such effort nationwide, in my view, and those responsible for these efforts, including GBCCer, Jim Troester, deserve the highest commendation.
The kids arrived at the show in bus loads, were greeted at the show entrance by Club volunteers, and were then escorted along to two rooms specially set up for them with table upon table just loaded down with boxes of stamps. The delight and excitement in the kids’ eyes at the treasures found was a wonder to behold.
The kids were even taken into the exhibit area where another volunteer explained to them what was in the frames … though I do have to admit that there I did observe the occasional yawn!! And it wasn’t on the face of the volunteer!
By contrast, when Paul Larsen and Larry Gardner offered to give Jan and me a personal tour of their gold-award-winning exhibits, not a yawn was in sight. Thanks, guys. We enjoyed your explanations immensely!
Paul Larsen showing his gold-medal-winning exhibit to Larry Gardner (left) and Gordon Milne.
Mentioning exhibits, the Club was well represented in the competition for the prestigious Tom Current GBCC Founder’s Award, which this year went to Jerry Miller for his outstanding “From Hill to Wilkinson: The Experimental & Early Machine Postmarks of England: 1857 – 1912.” Heartiest congratulations, Jerry!
I should point out that, contrary to some exhibitors’ beliefs, the GBCC President plays no part in the judging process for the prestigious award honoring the Club’s founder. The decision rests solely with the panel of judges presiding at that particular show.
On the subject of the awards dinner, my commendation, too, to GBCCer Alan Barasch for an outstanding job putting together the Palmares.
This year’s St. Louis show also offered me the great delight of meeting, for the first time, our new GBCC Vice President, from Concord, California, Tim Burgess, and his charming wife, Mariko.
GBCC Vice President, Tim Burgess, and his better half, Mariko.
Tim was serving as an apprentice judge at the show — Chief Judge at St. Louis was another GBCCer, Charles Verge, from Canada, and if Tim’s efforts for the Club match those that he expended in his apprentice judging role, the Club has found a certain winner!
Before wrapping up the St. Louis report, my thanks to Immediate Past President, Tom Myers, who had an audience of about 20 for his Saturday talk “British Airmail to the Americas.”
GBCC Past President Tom Myers enjoyed giving his talk at the GBCC annual meeting.
The Club’s 2006 convention will be in conjunction with the prestigious WESTPEX show in San Francisco. Tim Burgess is already successfully soliciting exhibits for this event, so this is one way you can give him personal support.
To close, a summary of the awards GBCCers won at the St. Louis show:
American Philatelic Society Award: Pre-1900 to Larry Gardner for his “Morocco Foreign Post Offices and Agencies.” This exhibit also won Larry a Gold in the Multiple Frame Exhibits category and the American Philatelic Congress Award.
American Philatelic Society Award: Research to Jerry H. Miller for his “From Hill to Wilkinson: The Experimental and Early Machine Postmarks of England — 1857 – 1912.” Jerry’s exhibit also won a Gold in the Multiple Frame Exhibits category and the Tom Current GBCC Founder’s Award.
Also winning a Gold in the Multiple Frame Exhibits category was Thomas P. Myers for his “British Airmail Rates to the Americas, 1931 – 1950.”
In the One Frame Exhibits category, Alan R. Barasch won a Vermeil for his “Falkland Islands 1878 – 1902 Penny Reds.”
To all, my (and the Club’s) heartiest congratulations.