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World Stamp Show NY 2016 a Smashing Success!

The highly anticipated World Stamp Show NY 2016 has come and gone and it was an exhilarating experience! The show was held in the Jacob K. Javits Center and the scale of the event was mind boggling (see Figures 1, 2 and 3). I don’t know if the expected 250,000 showed up, but attendance was strong on both Saturdays and steady for much of the week in between. Fish and game stamps were well represented by dealers Michael Jaffe and myself, the annual meeting of the National Duck Stamp Collectors Society, and the award winning exhibit belonging to Will and Abby Csaplar. For me personally, it was the most successful show of my career and very gratifying all the way around.



Figure 1. The colossal Jacob Javits Center in New York.


Figure 2. Restored Curtis Biplane, better known to stamp collectors as the “Jenny”, on display in the lobby.


Figure 3. My wife, Kay, is dwarfed by the eight foot bronze statue of Jacob K. Javits.



State of the Market

Having the two largest fish and game dealers at the largest show ever held on U.S. soil offered an excellent opportunity to gauge the market. As expected, demand for non pictorial waterfowl stamps was very strong, especially for (in order of activity) stamps from Marion County, Kansas; Illinois Daily Usage; Honey Lake and Military issues. Pictorial waterfowl stamps not so much.

However, it is important to note that Michael and I flew to the show from the west coast, while most of the midwest and east coast dealers drove. Therefore, Michael and I knew we would be competing with with a fraction of our stock, while the other dealers would be at full strength. The result was that many of the larger general dealers had more pictorial waterfowl stamps at the show than we did!

Having said that, federal stamp sales were moderate, pictorial state sales were weak with governors editions having now become problematic. Several collectors were walking around trying to sell their governors editions (which neither Michael or I deal in) to no avail. One collector had a large holding of governors editions cataloging $70,000.00 which he was unable to get even 10% for (well under face).

Fortunately, non pictorial waterfowl stamp sales more than made up for our limited pictorial stamp sales and interest in other types of fish and game stamps was strong as well. Considering that all of the biggest dealers in the U.S. were present (and the whole world for that matter) and pictorial stamp sales were spread amongst many, many dealers, our sales far exceeded our expectations.


Remarkable Purchases

I had done a considerable amount of advertising over the past year and it paid off not only in sales but in purchases as well. Since I had three other people in the booth I spent a fair amount of time walking the floor and looking through dealer’s stocks before and during the show. As I walked by, dealers flagged me down with items they had put away knowing I was going to be at the show. In addition, several people walked into the show and brought items to my booth.

Some of the items were great rarities and others were just “better”. Late in the show, someone brought me a run of licenses that had belonged to a relative. All of the licenses bore a variety of fish and game stamps. Amazingly, there were eight stamps that neither Michael or I had ever seen before. That is all I am going to say about these for now, other than they will be the subject of a future blog post.

A few of the items I purchased included one of the four examples recorded of the 1957-58 Honey Lake waterfowl stamps (see Figure 4); only the second example recorded of the 1952 Illinois Daily Usage stamps for ducks (see figure 5) and complete sheets of the 1956 and 1957 Pennsylvania trout stamps (see Figure 6). Single stamps from the latter are not particularly uncommon, however, I had previously never heard of a complete sheet.



Figure 4. 1957-58 Honey Lake waterfowl stamp. One of four examples recorded.



Figure 5. 1952 Illinois Daily Usage for ducks. A new discovery and one of two examples recorded.



Figure 6. Complete sheet of 1956 Pennsylvania trout stamps.



The Honey Lake and Daily Usage stamps are the the kind of stamps that come around once a decade, maybe. To acquire both within 24 hours was astonishing. I believe the sellers were quite pleased also, so everybody was happy. The recent discovery of the elusive Daily Usage stamp proves that rare fish and game stamps are still out there to be found. To a much greater extent than collectors of more established areas of philately, we can still experience the thrill of the hunt and that is one of our hobby’s greatest rewards.


Ira Cotton Resigns From NDSCS

Ira Cotton was finally able to resign as President of the National Duck Stamp Collectors Society. For those of you who don’t know Ira (see Figure 7), he is a passionate collector of fish and game stamps. Further, he retains an almost youthful enthusiasm and seemingly limitless energy. He guided the NDSCS for 17 years and it has proved challenging to find a replacement. However, the society believes they have finally found their man in Dave Goyer.

During Ira’s extended term, the NDSCS has seen it’s black and white newsletter evolve first to partial color and then to a professional full color journal in collaboration with editor Peter Martin. Another major accomplishment was the development of society stamps for sale. Although not fish and game stamps as they were not required to hunt, the colorful stamps are popular with many collectors as collateral and as such, have proved to be a valuable revenue source for the society.

Thanks to Ira for giving so much of his time to support the hobby and congratulations for becoming a free man. Knowing Ira, he will take much of his newfound time and apply it to some other fish and game stamp endeavor. Hopefully he will be able to spend some of it with his charming wife Marcy.



Figure 7. Ira Cotton guided the National Duck Stamp Collectors Society for 17 years.



Waterfowl Stamps Awarded International Gold!

Will and Abby Csaplar have worked for many years to develop a top level exhibit of fish and game stamps – one that could level the playing field not only with revenue stamps but with regular postage stamps and postal history as well. During this time they have enjoyed invaluable emotional and technical support from their insightful and talented daughter Linda. At New York, the Csaplars took another giant step toward their goal when the international jury awarded them a gold medal (see Figures 8 and 9).



Figure 8. The Csaplar Family in front of their ground-breaking exhibit. From left to right: Linda, Will and Abby.



Figure 9. International gold medal awarded to Will and Abby Csaplar.



This marks the first time in 17 years since a fish and game stamp exhibit has received an international gold medal. Further, it marks the first time that a waterfowl stamp exhibit has earned this distinction. The exhibits I showed in the 1990s all included other fish and game stamps as well. To top it off, the Csaplars received felicitations from the jury. This honor is seldom awarded (at the discretion of the jury) and is in recognition of outstanding research and originality and that contributes to the advancement of philately.

Congratulations to the Csaplars and, speaking for all collectors of fish and game stamps, thank you for all of your time, efforts and continued support. Next up for the Csaplars is a four year quest to bring home an unprecedented international large gold medal to our hobby. The exhibit is scheduled to be shown again in the U.S. in 2020.


All in all, World Stamp Show New York 2016 was everything it promised to be and then some… it was a dream come true for collectors of fish and game stamps.




1 Comment

  1. Ira Cotton on June 11, 2016 at 12:21 am

    Hi David –

    You are very gracious in your remarks about both me and Dave Goyer, which I deeply appreciate. I thoroughly enjoyed leading the NDSCS for so long and I will continue as a member of the Operating Board and as an occasional contributor to Duck Tracks. I also hope there will be opportunities to collaborate with you.

    I’m delighted the show went so well for you, as I may have had a small role in encouraging you to participate.

    Best regards,

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