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American Philatelic Society

The American Philatelic Society (APS) is the largest non-profit philatelic organization in the world. As of 2010, they have about 35,000 members in approximately 110 countries. Both the membership and the focus of the society are Worldwide.

The society was founded in September 1886, in New York City, as the American Philatelic Association, and the first president was John K. Tiffany. Their early membership roster read like a who's who of the giants of philatlic history that we recognize today. In 1908, the name was permanently changed to the American Philatelic Society. By 1940, there were over 4,000 members, including President Franklin D. Roosevelt! In 1945, the headquarters of the APS moved from New York City to State College, Pennsylvania, and in 2004, the headquarters was again relocated to nearby Bellefonte, Pennsylvania.

The products and services available to APS members are:

The American Philatelist - Monthly Journal
APS StampStore - An online venue, via their website, with stamps for sale by members.
Sales Circuits for most specialties, via mail
American Philatelic Research Library - books and research materials available for loan to members, via mail.
Insurance for stamp collections
American Philatelic Expertizing Service
Accreditation of Philatelic Judges
Educational opportunities
Member Code of Ethics and a Complaint Process
Website ( with news and information for all levels of stamp collectors.

I have been a member of the APS since 1982, and in the time since, I have used almost all of their services numerous times. There is a wealth of information in the APS monthly journal, The American Philatelist, which is now printed in full color. I have also found the American Philatelic Research Library to be an outstanding source of information over the years. A few years ago, I began researching 19th Century Austrian Imperial postmarks for my Austria collection. It was a huge undertaking, encompassing postmarks from over 11,000 post offices, covering most of Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean. Many of the most important publications on Austrian Imperial postal history and postmarks are German language books that have been out of print for decades. A couple of them were published at the beginning of the 20th Century! The APS had all of them, and I was able to borrow them for use in the configuration of my postmark collection.

If you would like to become a member of the APS, here is an APS Membership Application, with myself as the recommender. All you have to do is print it, fill-out the form, and mail it to the APS with your payment.

You can go directly to the APS website, by clicking on either of the APS logo images on this page.

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American Philatelic Society