Wisconsin Federation of Stamp Clubs (WFSC)
Across the Fence Post Newsletter
2004 President's Message columns

          This page includes President's Message columns from the 2004 issues of Across the Fence Post.

January issue No column this issue

February issue

The State of WFSC

By Brian J. Liedtke – president of WFSC

About this time of year many of elected officials give their "State of…" speech. Bush’s "State of the Union", Doyle’s "State of the State", etc. So, I’ll follow suit, with my own version: Liedtke’s "State of WFSC".

Unlike some long-winded politicians, I’ll keep this oration short, highlighting two opportunities and two strengths.

Strength #1 Local Stamp Club Meetings- All politics is local. Likewise, all stamp collecting is done locally. Each of our 33 local clubs is the true strength of WFSC. The statewide organization exists to promote, support and bind together these precious bastions of philately. From Gurnee to Iron Mountain: the bedrock is the month-to-month, business meeting-to-business meeting, program-to-program. To me, stamp clubs are exciting and essential.

Strength #2 Vital Federation Leadership- Another major strength (and it makes your President’s job easy) is all the talented, delightful fellow-collectors who serve in Federation leadership. Each board member, volunteer and appointee is crucial to the success of stamp collecting in Wisconsin. I’m amazed at both types of leaders we have:

Decades-long stalwarts who have incredible commitment, passion and service

New-comers (like me) who demonstrate renewal, relief and reward

Opportunity #1 Booming Club Rosters- Your President is confident in the hobby’s bright future, including swelling local club rosters. Stamp collecting will always attract a variety of personalities and interest-levels. Each generation produces a mass of philatelists. Wisconsin’s 50 and 60 year olds are attentive to hobby’s benefits of downtime relaxation, intellectual stimulation, motivations of organization and accumulation, and (key to our clubs) opportunities for social interaction and friendships.

Opportunity #2 "Wisconsin on Stamps" publication- America’s stamps often seem to have a Wisconsin connection. (Edna Ferber, Harry Houdini, Spencer Tracy.) The Federation is compiling these Wisconsin-related stamp stories. Your President is excited about the opportunity of this publication to reach the collecting and non-collecting publics. Look for news over the next two years. My dream is to celebrate publication at the 2005 Milwaukee convention of the American Topical Association (July ?-?, 2005). Again, this is an opportunity to educate, promote, and celebrate stamp collecting in Wisconsin.

The State of WFSC is STRONG!

March issue No column this issue

April issue

New ATA Chapter

By Brian J. Liedtke – president of WFSC

The Federation has just been named the newest American Topical Association Chapter. It is a real pleasure to join up with this energizing national organization. In January your board accepted the special invitation of ATA Executive Director Ray Cartier and we will now begin enjoying the benefits of this new relationship.

When I first considered the notion I thought, "Why would our state federation want to join a topical organization"? Here are just three of the benefits, as I see it:

Prestige of national chapter status

Close association with other philatelic organizations benefits us with shared resources, reciprocal publicity and the prestige of being apart of "something bigger". In 2003, the federation achieved a significant milestone; we are now an elite APS 50-year chapter member. I have similar hopes for a long-term and equally significant chapter membership in ATA!

Many Wisconsinites collect by topic

Hundreds of fellow collectors around the state collect topically. Topical collecting as strong roots in Wisconsin; Jerry Husak founded ATA in Milwaukee in 1949 and one of our federation clubs (ATA Chapter #5) meets regularly at Mayfair Mall.

In fact, the ATA Chapter dues are waived because we found more than six federation members who are also ATA members. If you have one of these fine people attend in your local club, please join me in congratulating them:

MaryAnn Bowman

Robert Mather*

John Fagan

Verna Shackleton

Karen Weigt

Fred Ziemann

Arthur Schmitz

Robert Matzek

James Johnson

*Bob Mather is appointed ATA Chapter Representative and will coordinate relations between the two organization.

"Wisconsin on Stamps" is itself a wonderful topic

Hundreds of U.S. postage stamps have fascinating ties to the Badger state. Did you know authors Laura Ingalls Wilder, Edna Ferber and F Scott Fitzgerald all called Wisconsin home? Wisconsinites Carl Schurz and Harry Houdini are already on U.S. stamps. (Politicians Bob La Follette and Joe McCarthy may one day join them…)

In fact, the federation is planning to publish (either book, CD-ROM, or both) these fascinating stories. Could this new publication be ready for the 2005 ATA national convention? It will be in Milwaukee, June 17-19, 2005. Plan now to attend.

Call for Convention

Here’s the official invitation to all Wisconsin’s collectors and dealers. WISCOPEX 2004 promises stamp fun, awards, deals, learning and friendships. Please come to Iola, April 25 & 26! Your President will be leading the Annual Business Meeting for club delegates. Awards will be announced at the banquet. Many thanks to the show committee especially, Maurice Wozniak. See you at the show!

May/June  issue

U.S. Stamp Program

By Brian J. Liedtke – President of WFSC

One of my favorite aspects of our fascinating hobby is following the annual U.S. stamp program. I love to see each new design for the first time, in Linn’s or Stamp Collector, and then on a letter in the mailbox. Our nation’s ideals, history and culture are symbolically captured and annually expanded with each year’s new stamp program.

The 2003 U.S. stamp program recently came to a close with Linn’s popularity poll picking the Old Glory prestige booklet as the favorite issue of the year. This release is innovative, patriotic and colorful. 20 stamps are sold in two booklet panes, folded between a chronological narrative of our nation’s flag. The 2003 stamp program, like all years, is impressive in scope of subject and contains something for everyone from everyday mailers, to stamp savers, to us philatelists.

I’ve been an active observer of the annual stamp program for more than 15 years, and many of you have been for many more. I have many favorites of the past and always watch for what’s coming. From my early days at postal counters I fondly remember issues like the colorful Carousel Animals and the delicate Lace making block of 4. I started collecting stamps during the heyday of the Great American and Transportation series. These formative experiences with the U.S. stamp program will be with me for a lifetime.

Each Fall, the USPS publicizes the designs for the coming year’s U.S. stamp program. I am delighted by catching my first glimpse of all the new designs and topics. There’s just something special about seeing what will be carrying the nation’s mail and be ending up in our albums for generations to come.

I first saw the 2004 stamp program (about two days before the rest of the public) while attending a seminar at Chicagopex 2003. I was awed by the Lewis & Clark, Air Force Academy and Cloudscape designs. One of my first experiences with the amazing power of the Internet was one morning before a college class, downloading the just-announced 1997 U.S. stamp program. All the new stamps appeared on my screen, and in full color! Remember the first Triangle stamps and the Vince Lombardi stamp?

As collectors, we can participate in the annual stamp program in several ways. We can submit ideas for stamp subjects to the Citizens Stamp Advisor Council. Jay Bigalke, of the WFSC Stamp Suggestion Committee, has achieved success with this exciting process. Hobby newspapers carry the full announcement in the Fall and then give more details about each stamp’s release. Collectors then begin the fun of obtaining the new stamp at a postal counter or by mail order. The new stamp may end up in your album or be sent off for a first-day cancellation. You may decide to brighten up your outgoing mail, which hopefully will cause the recipient to take notice.

Our nation’s treasures and story are beautifully told on the pages of our stamp albums. Each year’s program adds a chapter to that story. As stamp collectors we get to be the custodians for a short time of these little scraps of paper with such deep importance about our nation’s past and for our nation’s future.

July/August issue


By Brian J. Liedtke – President of WFSC

WISCOPEX 2004 was enjoyed by all who attended, April 24-25, 2004, in Iola. Being the home town of hobby publisher Krause Publications, it was exciting to bring our state convention to this famous "stamp address". The show theme, "The Lure of Hobbies" was demonstrated by Chet Krause’s antique Sears automobile and coin display, Jay Bigalke’s colorful fishing show cover and cancel, and hand-quilted exhibit awards replicating the 1978 13c American Quilting stamps.

Normally WISCOPEX is hosted by one of our member clubs. For Iola, Maurice Wozniak organized local and state-wide resources. He is commended for his exceptional leadership and long hours of service. Maurice was surprised at the award banquet to receive the WFSC President’s Award. Job well done!

Other show highlights:

Roger Oswald wins Champion of Champions for his Confederate postal history exhibit

Gregg Greenwald elected Central Region Vice President

Mary Ann Owens graced our exhibition with her international-level, "The Badger"

Lectures by many knowledgeable collectors, including Wayne Youngblood

Bill Robinson was presented the 2004 Dealer Recognition Award

Central Wisconsin Stamp Club earned the 2004 Trivia Contest Award (…again)

As with any successful undertaking, we have many to thank:

Maurice Wozniak for countless hours and amazing leadership

Karen Weigt for substantial show publicity, plus coordinating the business meeting and show booth

Bob Mather for his vast experience and graciousness as bourse chair

Verna Shackleton for her organizational skill as exhibits chair

Greg Schmidt, Vern Witt and Claude Giralte for serving as judges

Dealers Roger Oswald and Bill Robinson for donating door prizes

Rollie Juhnke for helping at the show booth and serving as photographer

John Fagan for preparing the award certificates and exhibit ribbons

Club delegates for traveling and participating in the business meeting

As you can see, it was a fantastic show!

September issue

Welcome Back!

By Brian J. Liedtke – President of WFSC

Many clubs are kicking-off fall programs after a summer recess. Some clubs enjoyed summer-weather picnics or other social events, including Waukesha County and Northwestern Mutual (which I attended). The fall season resumes regular club meetings and is encouragement to return to your stamp den. Enjoy!

Milcopex this year is a grand kick-off to the fall season of collecting in Wisconsin. My thanks to everyone who organized and attended our state’s revitalized national APS show! I’m so pleased to see how Milcopex promotes stamp collecting in our state as positive, progressive and thriving.

Many things are changing in our hobby – as in all aspects of our society. Three hobby institutions that I’ve know my whole collecting life have ended over the summer:

Stamp Collector ceases publication

JPA closes down

Deanna Juhnke is no longer WFSC treasurer

Since the 1930’s Stamp Collector newspaper gave the philatelic community news, features and education. It was published in Iola, Wisconsin since 1995 by Krause Publications. It is sad to lose our state’s most famous hobby institution. I am a big fan of the fantastic and ground-breaking writings of Wayne Youngblood, Fred Baumann, Maurice Wozniak, and recently Jay Bigalke.

I joined the Junior Philatelists of America in 1988 after responding to an ad for free stamps. It was my introduction to organized philately and hobby leadership, which I feel in love with, due in no small part to three incredible JPA leaders in Wisconsin (David Flack, Karen Weigt and MaryAnn Bowman). In my junior and senior high years I served as an elected JPA officer. I will never forget those formative years. For more than 40 years the JPA years operated "for and by juniors".

Deanna Juhnke entered a nursing home in June, ending her long standing term as our treasurer. Her commitment and caring touched many, including fellow federation officers and countless collectors who stopped by our show booth over the years. The federation is certainly better off financially (and otherwise) due to her stability and talent.

Deanna was often accompanied to meetings and shows by her husband and "chauffeur", Rollie Juhnke. Her home club, Central Wisconsin Stamp Club, will miss her enthusiasm and loyal membership. Federation secretary, Karen Weigt, is an especially good "stamp friend" and had the honor of working closely over the years.

The duties of treasurer, such as financial reports and management of cash, assets and inventory, will continue on. The Executive Board has appointed Paul Schroeder to complete the term.

October issue

"National Stamp Collecting Month"

By Brian J. Liedtke – President of WFSC

October is National Stamp Collecting Month! Let the celebration begin!

All across our fine state of Wisconsin this month, we stamp collectors are in a celebratory mood. The USPS leads off the party October 4, 2004 with the first day of issue for the "Cloudscapes" pane of 15 stamps (and 15 picture postal cards), one of the most bizarre and innovative stamp topics of the year.

Each year the USPS has a special stamp release to celebrate National Stamp Collecting Month. Many just happened to be released on my October 1 birthday (co-incidentally, I’m sure). Remember the Carousel Animals of 1988 or the Wild Animals issue of 1992? Those are my favorites October 1 first day of issue.

Here’s three great ways to celebrate our hobby’s month in the spotlight:

1. Promote our hobby by using the WFSC "The Arts in Stamps" mini-exhibit pages

Each WFSC member club received a special packet in September. The idea is to setup a philatelic promotional display in your local post office, library, shopping mall, or other suitable public place. The mini-exhibit pages this year have "The Arts in Stamps" as a theme. Let your club’s creativity go wild! Be sure to include details of your club meetings. My thanks to MaryAnn Bowman for designing and executing this promotional project. My home club, Waukesha County, has great success (and fun) by putting our pages up in the local post office and bank. Viewers often asked where to purchase the stamps on display, so we now include contact information for USPS mail orders and local stamp dealers.

2. Attend your local stamp show

Five local clubs host shows in (and around) October. It’s show time!

Wausau Sept. 25

Monroe Oct. 9 (host of Fall WFSC board meeting)

Sheboygan Oct. 16

Wauwatosa Oct. 23-24

Appleton Nov. 6

3. Treat yourself with a new publication or membership

Celebrate stamp collecting month by splurging on a new stamp book, subscription, or membership. Explore a new collecting area, or support a national stamp society. Use your October stamp budget to treat yourself. My recommendations:

-Mike Baadke’s huge new guidebook to everything you need to know

-the brand new 2005 Scott U.S. Specialized catalogue

-join APS, National Postal Museum, or Washington 2006

(How’s that for my October 1 birthday wish list?)

November issue

WFSC Blue Book

A guide for hosting a stamp show

By Brian J. Liedtke – President of WFSC

One of my favorite stamp activities is attending stamp shows. Wisconsin’s stamp shows can be found almost every-other weekend, somewhere between Rhinelander and Rockford. One of many WFSC promotional resources is "The Blue Book", a helpful guide to planning, organizing and hosting a stamp show.

The Blue Book was developed in the 1970’s and is updated annually. It is available for use by all WFSC clubs and it is utilized exhaustively by the annual host of WISCOPEX.

Among the many gems contained within:

Our first convention was held 1932 in Fond du Lac

Wisconsin’s convention was held in Illinois twice (1958 and 2002)

Contact information for 28 dealers

Sara Henak won the first WFSC Husak Topical Award (1999)

Tip for day before show: get sleep

Chapters address every imaginable show topic including awards, banquet, bourse, exhibits, finances, judges, program, publicity, show cover, security, society tables and meetings, and youth table. As any past show committee knows, that much and more needs attention, commitment and thought.

A time schedule is given, suggesting plans should begin 18 months before show time. Initial organization is needed for show site, hotels, budgets, dealer applications and getting show committees formed. A year out reserve the frames, contact the judges and make initial publicity announcements. About 10 months prior start contacting societies, solicit donations and start designing the show cover and cancel. Each month gives activities to check-off your progress to show time.

Sample bourse contract, floor plan, vendor tax form, prospectus and exhibit entry form can be adapted for local use. Exhibit judging sheets are included. Contact information for society awards and WFSC certified judges (including yours-truly). Guidelines and past winners for several special awards:

WFSC Dealer Recognition

WISCOPEX best of show

WFSC Husak Topical

Wisconsin Postal History Society award

WISCOPEX club award

This indispensable show guide is available at nominal cost to cover duplication and distribution. Annual updates are distributed upon request. Please contact me for pricing details. IT’S SHOW TIME!

December issue

WFSC Year in Review

By Brian J. Liedtke – President of WFSC

2004 was a great year to be a stamp collector in Wisconsin! Here’s a run-down of some of the highlights!

The federation always keeps busy, promoting the hobby and linking local clubs and members to new ideas and exciting events. You can be proud of all that’s going on…

Milcopex gem of 2004 shows - In September enthusiastic leadership revitalized Milcopex, the state’s national exhibition. Our federation annual convention was held in the hometown of Krause Publications in April, bringing together dealers, exhibitors, delegates, and collectors of all ages. From Rhinelander to Rockford, local clubs held shows and bourses, which could be found somewhere in Wisconsin on average almost every-other weekend. In March, Madison hosted the second WFSC single-frame competition.

Maurice Wozniak, WFSC Man of the Year - Maurice chaired the WISCOPEX effort with energy and imagination, a real showcase of the spirit of collectors in our state. The show in Iola was held in the shadow of Krause Publication’s facility and highlighted hobbies in general. Maurice’s efforts were recognized at the show banquet with a surprise designation of the WFSC President’s Award.

Deanna Juhnke – Deanna served for years as our federation treasurer with distinction and exceptional commitment. We are saddened to no longer have her gracious presence at board meetings and staffing countless WFSC show tables. Her enthusiasm and friendly spirit will live on, especially among her home club, Central Wisconsin Stamp Club. Paul Schroeder has taken on the duties of treasurer, and we thank him for his service.

New faces in abundance - Some WFSC volunteers have been around for decades, which demonstrates unbelievable commitment and a passion for the hobby. New this year to WFSC leadership are Gregg Greenwald, as Central Wisconsin Vice President, Tim Wait on the Bylaw Committee and Robert Matzek, returning on the Committee on Exhibitions. The federation is thankful to have so many great philatelists and willing volunteers. You are what make this organization a success, in 2004 and every year.

Club meetings most frequent event - WFSC is about local clubs. Our state-wide roster includes 33 clubs, so I’d guess that’s 400+ club meetings during 2004. (That’s an overwhelming amount of stamp talk, trading, business meetings, auctions, and slide shows.) WFSC will continue to support your club’s activities and memberships. Thank you for the opportunity to be of service.

On behalf of the executive board, let me wish everyone Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! Together we’ll make it an even better 2005…

Latest update: June 13, 2005 

URL:   http://www.WFSCstamps.org/wfsc_atfp_atfp_president_2004.shtml