New RDPs to sign Roll of Distinguished Philatelists this July

An invitation to sign the Roll of Distinguished Philatelists (RDP)—regarded as the world’s pre-eminent philatelic honour—has been sent to four acclaimed philatelists by the Roll of Distinguished Philatelists Trust.

At a recent meeting of the board of election comprising Chairman Jane Moubray, Tomas Bjäringer, Christopher Harman, Alan Huggins, Rolf-Dieter Jaretzky, Robert Odenweller, Christopher King and Raymond Todd, the members unanimously decided to ask Robert Abensur, of France, Gustaf Douglas, of Sweden, Cheryl Ganz, of the U.S., and Geoffrey Lewis, of Australia, to sign the RDP.

The signing ceremony will be held July 27, during the Philatelic Congress of Great Britain, at The Assembly Rooms in Newcastle upon Tyne.


According to a statement issued by the Royal Philatelic Society London (RPSL), the RDP was established in 1921 by the Philatelic Congress of Great Britain with the approval of King George V, who was the first signatory. Not including the newly elected RDPs, 380 philatelists from 40 countries have achieved this distinction. There are currently 78 living signatories from 26 countries, including:

  • 16 from the U.K.;
  • 14 from the U.S.;
  • seven from Germany;
  • four each from France and Belgium; and
  • three each from Australia and Italy.

Denmark, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore and Thailand each have two signatories while Canada, Austria, Colombia, Finland, Greece, Israel, Japan, Korea, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Portugal, The Russian Federation and Switzerland have one signatory.

The sole living Canadian RDP signatory is Michael Madesker, of Toronto, Ont.


Abensur lives in Pont-à-Mousson in North East France. He has researched widely and fulfilled all requirements necessary for an RDP signatory. His main collecting and researching areas are the postal rates and regulations of France and Alsace-Lorraine. His latest book, published in 2017, is The Franco-Sardinian route in international relations (1818-1851) and his articles on various subjects number more than 100 in France and elsewhere.

He has been president of the Académie de philatélie since 2002 and has organized many philatelic meetings and exhibitions in France. He was awarded the chevalier dans l’ordre des Art et des Lettres in 2009, and at FEPA 2015, he gained a Large Gold medal for an exhibit on Maritime mail between France and foreign countries (1828-49).


Douglas is of Swedish nationality and has formed what are considered to be the most complete collections of both Sweden and Finland in existence. His monographs are always of the highest standard and he has attained Gold and Large Gold medals in international exhibitions since 1971. He co-authored Sweden Number One in 2005. He was awarded the RPSL’s Tilleard Medal as well as the Strandell Medal, the highest philatelic recognition in Sweden, in 2014 and is presently working hard as head patron for Stockholmia 2019.

“Always modest, charming and helpful to fellow collectors, he is a most worthy candidate to sign the Roll,” reads the RPSL announcement.


Ganz is best known for her lifelong philatelic outreach at local, national, and international levels, engaging a vast spectrum of collectors from specialists to new audiences. Her collections, exhibits, research, writing and speaking focus primarily on her specialty of zeppelin posts. Philatelic recognitions include:

  • the Smithsonian Philatelic Achievement Award;
  • Luff Award for Exceptional Contributions to Philately;
  • Alfred F. Lichtenstein Memorial Award for Distinguished Service to Philately;
  • American Air Mail Society Research Award; and
  • Single Frame Champion of Champions.

She has written and edited books, articles and online content, putting philately in a wider context to reach larger audiences without sacrificing philatelic scholarship.

“Her service to organized philately is multi-faceted in a variety of positions of influence and accomplishment,” reads the RPSL announcement. “Altogether hers is a very fine achievement, and she rightly deserves to be a signatory of the Roll.”


Lewis is an Australian resident of Randwick, a suburb of eastern Sydney, New South Wales, where he has lived for the whole of his life. His collections have included the postal history of Spanish Philippines, Cuba, New Orleans and stampless mail entering Spain. He has won FIP Large Gold medals in postal history with exhibits on the subject matter of each of the three continental areas: Asia, Europe and the Americas.

In 2013 he attained a Large Gold Medal for his well-written study entitled The 1836 Anglo-French Postal Convention—a difficult subject to cover in a readable form. He was president of the Philatelic Society of New South Wales between 1998 and 2013, chairman of the jury at Sydney 2015 and president of the organizing committee of the National Philatelic Exhibitions held in Sydney in 2007 and 2011. He has been appointed a Member of the Australian Philatelic Order and has received the Australian Philatelic Research Award.

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