All posts by Ed Bierman

Postcard collector - Cliff House, PPIE and other local Bay Area spots

President’s Message: State of the Council

As we wind down 2018, let me review the year from the point of view of the Council of Northern California Philatelic Societies. OK, let’s admit Northern California has grown to include Western Nevada and Southern Oregon, and it extends south to Fresno. It includes 23 stamp clubs and the Western Philatelic Library.

The Council has a complete set of officers. These are Treasurer Nigel Moriarty (EBCC), Secretary Robert Pope (Sacramento), Vice President Kristin Paterson (Sequoia and Peninsula) and me, President Larry Crain (Southern Oregon). Two meetings are held a year, one at WESTPEX and this year, one at SACAPEX.

The Council cooperates with two WSP shows in the region — WESTPEX in April and Filatelic Fiesta in October. Both were successful.

Throughout the year there are seven regional shows with exhibits: NOVAPEX in Redding, SOPEX in Southern Oregon, Nevada Stamp and Cover Show in Reno, WINEPEX in San Rafael, EBCC Show in Walnut Creek, SACAPEX in Sacramento, and PENPEX in Redwood City. These offer local opportunities to buy or sell stamps and to see exhibits. FRESPEX is a bourse without exhibits in Fresno, and well worth attending.

The Council Courier, this newsletter, is a key element of the Council. It is delivered electronically, and each member club is encouraged to forward copies to all its members. It is informative with announcements of events to come and summaries of that which occurred.  Thanks to David McNamee for his editing.

Looking at next year, I hope we can strengthen the organization’s communication with each other. This could be by inviting speakers for club meetings, exhibiting at any of the nine shows in the

Council area and certainly by attending several of them. Volunteers can support the Council on any of its committees: communications, Council Courier, webmaster, speakers, judges, and frames. A few of
these are without chair people. Everyone can volunteer or encourage others to volunteer.

Elections will be held next year at one of the fall shows, TBA. Everyone is invited to attend the meeting on Sunday 28 April 2019 at WESTPEX.

Larry Crain, CNCPS President

WESTPEX® 2019 Stamp Show Details & Call for Exhibits

News Release for Immediate Release
Media Contacts
Robert N. Pope, 916-583-3027,
Bill Lenarz,

The exhibitor’s prospectus is now available for the fifty-ninth annual WESTPEX show April 26-28, 2019 at the San Francisco Airport Marriott Waterfront Hotel, 1800 Old Bayshore Highway, Burlingame, CA, just a mile south of the San Francisco International Airport.  The exhibitor’s prospectus and entry forms are available from Ross Towle 400 Clayton Street, San Francisco CA 94117 or at

This World Series of Philately open exhibition will feature over 275 frames of exhibits, including participation by the United States Stamp Society, Military Postal History Society, American Society of Polar Philatelists, Universal Ship Cancelation Society, and the Ryukyu Philatelic Specialist Society. The Ryukyu Philatelic Specialist Society will be celebrating its 50th Anniversary at WESTPEX 2019. This is a World Series of Philately exhibition with the Grand Award winner eligible for the Annual Champion of Champions competition at the American Philatelic Society Stamp Show in August 2019.

The show’s bourse includes seventy-five national and international dealers in stamps, postal history, and stationery along with a four-day auction by Schuyler Rumsey Auctions of San Francisco that will fill the bourse with items for the general collector, the specialist, and exhibitor.

Numerous specialty societies, clubs, and study groups will hold more than fifty meetings and seminars during the three-day event. There is a WESTPEX sponsored Youth Area with free stamps and supplies for young collectors.  On Sunday, April 28, a Boy Scout Merit Badge program is scheduled, which was a sell-out last year.

A United Nations Postal Administration First Day of Issue ceremony will take place on Friday, April 26.  The theme for the first day is “Endangered Species” and the stamps will be available.

The American Philatelic Society in conjunction with WESTPEX will conduct a special pre-show “On-the-Road” course titled “Competitive Thematic Exhibiting” taught by retired philatelic judge Phillip J. Stager on Thursday April 25.  See the APS website for details and required pre-registration.

Arizona Philatelic Rangers and the Collectors Club of San Francisco dinner Friday, April 26, 2019, at the Terrace Café, 1100 El Camino Real, Millbrae.

Continuing the tradition of a local show theme, WESTPEX 2019 will be celebrating the 200th anniversary of the birth of the extraordinary John W. Geary, Postmaster of San Francisco and San Francisco’s first and youngest mayor. WESTPEX will offer a special Cinderella souvenir sheet as well as cachet covers.  The show will officially open at 10 AM, Friday, April 26 and you will not want to miss this 59th WESTPEX Stamp Show.  Complete show details, reservations, schedules, and theme story available at

National Recognition for Local Philatelists

The 2018 APS Carter Volunteer Recognition Awards were presented at Stampshow in Columbus this past August. The Nicholas G. Carter Volunteer Recognition Award recognizes the outstanding efforts by volunteers at national and local levels. These are fellow collectors who contribute their talents and countless hours to benefit stamp collecting and the APS.

Ross Towle has been recognized for his contributions at the national level as a leader in numerous national and international philatelic societies. Ross is a well-known presence in the Council area at stamp shows as an exhibitor and philatelic judge. He is a prolific author and a key member of the WESTPEX Committee and Board of Directors. Ross developed the software to support the WESTPEX registration, exhibits and awards functions, greatly easing the burden of show administration for many others.

Wayne Menuz and Roy Teixeira were individually recognized for their contributions to local philately. Wayne has been involved in local philately for 50 years.  After many years as Bourse Chair for WESTPEX, helping to make that show one of the finest in North America, he was instrumental working with the San Jose Stamp Club to prepare Filatelic Fiesta to rejoin the national WSP circuit.

Roy has been the “go-to” person on the Board of the Western Philatelic Library, volunteering huge amounts of time for decades supporting library operations.  Lately, he has been supervising many building safety improvements in their new quarters in Redwood City.

These three volunteers are representative of the scores of volunteers that support the Council and local stamp clubs and stamp shows for the benefit of collector throughout the Council and beyond. All three have also served in leadership positions in national and international philatelic societies.  All three have been previously awarded the Council’s highest honor for service to philately, the Henry Chaloner Award.

Congratulations for well-deserved honors!

Great Stamp Shows Coming this Fall

This Special Edition has been created to encourage all Council organizations and club members to support our great  fortune that the Council has a bountiful harvest of philatelic Exhibitions coming
to you in October and November:

Each of these shows will bring dealers, exhibitors and collectors together for a weekend of fun: North Nay, South Bay, East Bay, and Sacramento — if you live in the Greater Bay Area, then get ready to harvest a lot of philatelic fun!

Club Leaders — Announce these up-coming shows at your next meeting. Make certain that everyone has these marked on their personal calendars. Directions and Maps on the CNCPS web site

New Council Judges

New Council Judges Ralph Nafziger from Oregon and Mark Woodward from Redding are the latest to sign up for training as a Council Certified Philatelic Judge. Their first experience will be as part of the jury at SOPEX.

When you train as a judge, you get a better understanding of exhibiting techniques. Exhibiting makes you a better collector by training you to be selective in what you collect, as well as teaching you about the rich philatelic background of your subject. Judging makes you a better exhibitor because you learn how to organize your thoughts and communicate why you collect and exhibit what you do.

To sign up for judges training, contact David McNamee at

  • RENO STAMP SHOW JULY 28-29, Reno, NV Judges: Dzintars and Vesma Grinfelds
  • WINEPEX OCTOBER 5-7, San Rafael Judges: Stephen Schumann + David McNamee
  • EBCC SHOW OCTOBER 27-28, Walnut Creek Judges: Behruz Nassre + Akthem Al-manaseer
  • SACAPEX NOVEMBER 3-4 Sacramento Judges: Nestor Nunez + Bob Grosch
  • PENPEX DECEMBER 1-2 Redwood City Judges: Nestor Nunez + Bill Barlow

CNCPS Western Philatelic Library Gets a New Look!

A new Safety Committee has been formed by Roy Teixeira (Chair), Ed Jarvis and David McNamee to address critical safety issues with the building housing the WPL. The Safety Committee has solicited WPL supporters for funds to accomplish specific site improvements that enhance the safety of volunteer staff, visitors and the philatelic literature collection.

Among the first actions was to press the Board to acquire adequate insurance to cover the liabilities and risks of owning its own premises. Funds were raised to hire an electrical contractor to audit the complex circuits and repair as necessary, upgrade the lighting where required and install lighted EXIT signs.

Safety push-bars were added to the two glass doors to conform to standard building codes. These first efforts were high on the list of safety and security projects.

Future projects include a better security fence and gates for the parking area. Also, there are items that are clogging the aisles between the stacks still left over from our move to the building from Sunnyvale; these represent a safety issue for emergency egress.

Ed and Judy Jarvis have contributed a microwave, coffee maker, and cabinets for the coffee bar/snack area. Roy Teixeira has spent countless hours cleaning up the inside and outside, painting and working with the various contractors. On behalf of all members, we owe a big “Thank You” to Ed, Judy and Roy.

These projects may seem dull when reading about them, but if you come down to Redwood City for a visit to WPL, you will see that we are beginning to look like a real library: clean, lighted, safe, and organized with study tables and WiFi access — all the “mod cons” as they say (modern conveniences).


Fellow Collectors:

Stamp collectors should be excited about spring because the year’s run of shows has just begun (such as NOVAPEX in Redding the first weekend of March). However, there may be some trepidation also about spring cleaning. Do we ever want to spring clean our collections? That is wiped clean the dusty album tops, wash the page protestors (not that we won’t find they need it when we remount our exhibit), throw out the old (covers . . . heaven forbid!!) or clean out the stamp area (we can do if it is only re-arranging — vacuuming not).

Spring means more sunlight hours to read that blurred cancel on a stamp by tipping it from side to side to catch the gleam of the black ink. Spring means warmer tap water to soak that collection on paper bought at a winter club auction. Spring means having light in the dark corners of a room to sort those newly-soaked stamps or having space to open more than one album at once or more than one catalog.

Spring means getting active again with your collection, with your club or with your exhibiting. Welcome to spring. Welcome again to our hobby. And welcome especially to WESTPEX April 27-29 at the San Francisco Airport Marriott in Burlingame. Join the Council Sunday at 12 for its annual general meeting. Stay afterwards to hear Bob Grosch talk about the Boston negative cancels.

Larry Crain


The new Vice Chairman of WESTPEX, Daryl Reiber, was introduced by Clyde Homen to the 50-member WESTPEX Committee of volunteers at the March 26 final contact meeting prior to the show April 27-29, 2018. WESTPEX is hosting a number of specialist societies with 60-odd seminars and meetings, most open to the public. The featured societies include the American Airmail Society, the Rhodesian Study Circle, and Women Exhibitors. If for no other reason, you should go to WESTPEX for some of these meetings and displays. Tables will be set up for information on these and other stamp societies. Stop by and chat. On Thursday (the 26th) before WESTPEX officially starts, the organization Women Exhibitors will conduct an all-day seminar with presentations covering the full range of exhibiting experience open to both men and women.

WEFest VI will feature 6 presentations:

  • “You’ve Had Your Arm Twisted to Exhibit — Now What?” with Larry Crain
  • “Adding Old(er) Material to an Exhibit: What, Where and How” with Pat Stillwell Walker
  • “Layout Challenges in Exhibiting” with David McNamee
  • “Types of Postal History Exhibiting: Purpose and Plan” with Tony Wawrukiewicz
  • “An Opportunity to Exhibit Anything” with Tim Bartshe
  • “An Exhibit Judge for a Day” with Liz Hisey.

2017 Chaloner and Holstrom Award Winners

Larry Crain presents the Chaloner Award to Kristin Patterson. The award is the Council’s highest honor, given to people within the Council that have provided significant service to philately in the Council area sustained over time.

Larry Crain and Vesma Grinfelds present the Holmsten Award to Bradley Fritts (at right).
Larry Crain and Vesma Grinfelds present the Holmsten Award to Bradley Fritts (at right).

Larry Crain and Vesma Grinfelds present the Holmsten Award to Bradley Fritts (at right). The annual Holmsten Award represents exhibiting excellence in support of local stamp shows within the Council Area. The award rotates among all Council local philatelic exhibitions. The winner of the designated local show adds their name to the perpetual trophy plaque, and their club gets to display the plaque until the next time it is awarded.


Fellow Collectors:
“It is my observation that many of us take the hobby and our participation in it with such seriousness that we neglect the concept that the hobby should be fun.” John M. Hotchner, The American Stamp Dealer & Collector, No. 114 Oct 2017, p 19

Let us resolve in 2018 to have fun with our stamp collecting. Let us decide to spend a few days getting lost in our collections and, also, to spend a few hours at a few shows enjoying the people who are stamp collectors or stamp dealers. Let us take some of our favorite philatelic items and show them off at club show-and-tell, with talks or with new, creative exhibits.

Let me suggest that you thoroughly investigate one of your covers. Bob Grosch in Redding does this. He researches the senders and the addressees. Fascinating stuff!

Two examples that I have:The Granger cover

The Granger cover (above) which I bought for the good reason that it, well, it was just interesting and unusual. I bought it at a PENPEX in the last millennium because it intrigued me, it was the last half hour of the show and I still had few bucks left.

I like messy covers, but after organizing the messiness (postmarks, forwarding, and labels), it stayed in my eclectic covers cigar box. Years later I went on the internet to learn about the towns called Granger. There are, or were, 17 in the USA, and the cover went to five. Of these one has dinosaur statues in places around town and one has an elephant cemetery from when a circus wintered there. OK, not philatelic but FUN knowledge.

Would that I could find 14 more and have a most unusual one-frame. OK, probably not even one more. Nope!

The Belfast Cover

Then the Belfast cover (above) appeared. This one went to three Belfast’s until the US ran out of Belfast’s, I guess, and the PO tried a Bellfountaine. See the conclusion on the cover. But, anyway, one of these places was burned by the British in 1779, and one has the shortest street in the world. FUN!

Welcome to 2018. May we all enjoy philately in the coming year. There are seven local/regional shows and two WSP shows in the Council area. I hope to see you at a few of them.

Larry Crain

“Introduce a Fellow Collector to your next Club Meeting. The hobby grows richer when we expand our social contacts and friendships.”