Applications for Young Philatelic Leaders Fellowship open until May 15

The American Philatelic Society (APS) is now accepting applications for its 2020 Young Philatelic Leaders Fellowship (YPLF).

The YPLF provides its fellows with a year-long experience travelling to two APS national shows plus the American Philatelic Center for the annual Summer Seminar on Philately. Along the way, there are countless opportunities to learn from experienced collectors, exhibitors, writers and dealers.

“My first stamp show opened my eyes to many opportunities in the philatelic world,” said Grace Rogansky, who was part of the 2018 YPLF. “I was able to learn about stamps and covers, interact with and meet new people, learn new lingo, visit society booths and attend a first-day-of-issue ceremony.”

During the year, Fellows with the YPLF will:

  • receive a free one-year APS membership;
  • meet and make friends with Fellows and alumni Fellows;
  • choose a track upon which to focus a year of study;
  • learn from an adult mentor and other philatelic leaders;
  • complete and present a research project on a chosen philatelic topic;
  • operate the YPLF booth at APS shows;
  • support youth education efforts in the youth area at APS shows; and
  • interact with stamp collectors from around the U.S.

“I loved it when people came up to me at shows to share something about their collections or to explain why a particular item they bought from the YPLF booth interested them,” said Dani Leviss, who was also part of the 2018 YPLF.

“For example, a customer showed us a letter displayed in his collection. He transcribed the letter’s message and researched the backgrounds of the sender and recipient. In little moments like these, you can learn a lot about philatelic material from both collector and seller viewpoints.”


Upon acceptance into the YPLF program, Fellows choose a specific track upon which to focus their year of study. In each track, Fellows work with mentors to learn more about their chosen aspect of philately. The experience culminates in a year-long project presented at StampShow 2020.

Tracks and projects include:

  • the “Author Track,” through which Fellows will choose a philatelic topic and write an article for publication;
  • the “Curator Track,” through which Fellows will create a museum-style exhibit;
  • the “Dealer Track,” through which Fellows will develop a business plan;
  • the “Analytical Philatelist Track,” through which Fellows will conduct technical analysis of philatelic items;
  • the “Designer Track,” through which Fellows will display philatelic artwork at a national stamp show;
  • the “Exhibitor Track,” through which Fellows will choose a stamp topic and build a philatelic exhibit that tells a story; and
  • the “Additional Tracks,” through which tracks and projects are developed to match the needs and interests of the fellows.


All young adult philatelists between the ages of 16 and 24 are eligible for the YPLF program. To apply for the YPLF Class of 2020, applicants must be at least 16 years of age – but younger than 24 – as of Aug. 1, 2019.

To apply, complete an application form, write an essay and obtain two letters of recommendation. Finalists will be interviewed by a team of judges.

All applications for the 2020 class must be postmarked by May 15, 2019, and sent to the American Philatelic Society YPLF Selection Committee, 100 Match Factory Place, Bellefonte, PA, 16823.

To recommend a young philatelist for the YPLF program, complete this online form.

Fellows will be selected by the end of next month, and Class of 2020 programming begins this August.


All YPLF mentors are experienced dealers, exhibitors or authors and graciously volunteer their time to support a young collector for an entire year. Mentors serve as a philatelic guide for one fellow, helping him or her to achieve their goals and required assignments.

Following a detailed application process, mentors are chosen based on their knowledge of and commitment to the hobby as well as their willingness to assist young people in succeeding in philately.

For more information about becoming a mentor of the YPLF, click here.


Travel, lodging and meal expenses for each Fellow are paid by the APS. For Fellows who younger than 18 years old, a meal stipend is also provided for an accompanying parent or guardian.

Members of the APS donate funds to the YPLF program, and “without their generous support, the program would not be possible,” explains the APS website.

“A year ago, I had no clue that such a large community of stamp collectors existed, and I am now proud to be among the APS ranks,” said Tasos Kalfas, who was part of the 2018 YPLF.

For more information about the YPLF, click here.

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