Founding of the APS 

U.S. #1474 was issued at the request of collectors that wanted a “stamp of their own.”

On September 13, 1886, a group of stamp collectors met in New York City to establish what would become the American Philatelic Society.

After the first official U.S. postage stamps were issued in 1847, a small group of people began saving these relics, recognizing the history they represented. Over time, more and more people became stamp collectors, reaching about 25,000 collectors in the 1880s.

U.S. #2198-2201 was issued for the 100th anniversary of the APS. It was the first U.S. commemorative booklet and was on sale for just 60 to 90 days.

In 1886, a group of prominent philatelists met and began talking about the possibility of forming a national organization of collectors. That April, they formed The Committee on National Organization and printed an announcement calling for interested collectors to write in and see if they would want to join such an organization. Click here to read the announcement.

U.S. #2201b – Stamp Collecting error pane with missing black ink.

Eventually, about 400 collectors answered the advertisement, agreeing to assist in creating the organization. A few months later, 40 interested collectors met in New York City on September 13. As The American Philatelist later noted, “When one considers the distances involved and the means of transportation available at the time, to have attracted that many participants is no small indication of interest in the formation of a national organization.” The attendees selected a committee and chose the name American Philatelic Association. That day also marked the very first annual convention, known today as StampShow.

Item #M4929 – Sweden joint-issue marking the 250th anniversary of the Swedish Post Office and 100th anniversary of the Swedish Philatelic Society.

The following day the committee selected John K. Tiffany as their first president. They also adopted a constitution and bylaws. Members would pay $2 per year in exchange for several convenient services. They had a purchasing department that worked to provide older issues for face value, an exchange department to trade in duplicate stamps, a library department, and a counterfeit department to identify fraudulent stamps.

U.S. #UX110 – 1986 Stamp Collecting Silk Cachet Postal Card.

In 1897, the group briefly changed their name to the American Philatelic Society, but quickly changed it back within a few months. They changed the name again in 1908 and it has remained the American Philatelic Society since then. Today the APS is the largest nonprofit stamp collecting organization with over 28,000 members.

Item #MDS226 – Disney stamps honoring the APS and stamp history.
Remember you can click on all of the images above to find more conditions plus several neat First Day Covers you can easily purchase for your collection.

Click here to get both the regular and error Stamp Collecting strips in one easy order.

Click here to visit the APS website.

Click here to see what else happened on This Day in History.

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  1. Stamps are just one form of history and I love history. I enjoy standing on a historical spot and imagine transporting myself back in time. I get the same feeling when I gaze upon an old stamp. It takes me back in time. Some people will never understand that.

    1. Mr Stu… I completely understand the feeling you described… I also travel back in time ( in the imagination) to the events and occasions surrounding an historic site or postage stamp. Little time capsules they are.

  2. I became interested in stamp collecting when I joined an international postcard club, and noticed the beautiful stamps from around the world. I still find beauty in collecting stamps, especially topicals, from which I have made postcards and bookmarks to give away on family birthday celebrations.

  3. Have been an APS member for a while now. Have enjoyed it. I focus on US stamps, but also find the info about other countries’ stamps interesting as a comparison to US stamp history and process. Renewed my interest in stamps when several years ago I ran across some of my old paper collection books and a couple cigar boxes of stamps from my endeavors back in the 60’s. With Mystic’s daily stamp histories and some direction from APS, having fun with the collecting. Being a bit more serious about it than as a kid, and find the stories behind the stamps to be a little extra bonus.

  4. I have been a member for 30 plus years. I am surprised how little I know about this amazing hobby and how much I learn with each new monthly American Philatelic magazine. The price of membership is less than you’d pay for this quality publication for a year!

  5. To really appreciate the art work on a stamp, put on a “loupe” and study the details. I guarantee you’ll be amazed at all the find work involved.

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