Scott English has extended his contract as executive director of the American Philatelic Society (APS) until at least 2021, when the APS is slated to invite several international organizations – The Royal Philatelic Society of Canada (RPSC) among them – to the U.S. for an international show.
During the APS “Campaign for Philately” event on Feb. 14, English announced the board’s decision to continue his contract, which began in 2015 but was extended in 2017.
English previously worked as the chief of staff for Republican Representative Mark Sanford, of South Carolina, and as the chief operating officer for South Carolina’s Department of Education.
The APS and RPSC recently launched a partnership set to kick off the 2019 Royal Convention in Mississauga this June.
To be held June 21-23, The RPSC’s 91st convention is the first step in a plan slated to culminate with a quasi-international show in 2021, the midpoint between the World Stamp Show in New York three years ago and the one coming to Boston in 2026.
“What we’re talking about with The RPSC is establishing what I consider to be a foothold in the worldwide community,” said English, who added the partnership will “go beyond” the APS’ current ties with international organizations such as the Royal Philatelic Society London (RPSL).
“We have recognized World Series of Philately (WSP) shows that occur in Great Britain, but it’s never reached beyond that.”
Rather than “a mutually beneficial exchange of exhibiting” – something the APS already shares with Canada, which hosts a handful of WSP shows each year – the plan is to foster a “wholesale partnership to promote the hobby around the world and make as many doors as possible for people to get into the hobby,” he added.
“It will be more comprehensive than anything we’ve done before.”
The partnership will kick off this June with the first of many co-promoted conventions. The APS will send Scott Tiffney, its director of information services, to this June’s Royal Convention, where he will man a table on the bourse and lead a seminar on the American Philatelic Research Library, which he also serves as library director.
Tiffney also spoke at last year’s British North America Philatelic Society (BNAPS) Convention in Québec.
In turn, The RPSC will also send representatives to major U.S. shows beginning this fall.
From The RPSC’s perspective, the partnership with the APS ties into the former society’s reinvented strategic initiative, which was unveiled at the 2018 Royal Convention in St. Catharines, Ont.
Executives of the Canadian society are hoping “to appeal to everybody in the broadest way possible,” said RPSC President Ed Kroft, who added there is a “need to increase our membership because we want to offer more things to more people.”
Canada is a “natural fit” for the APS’ plans, Kroft added, because of the two countries’ close ties both culturally and geographically.
“We go to one another’s shows, and our dollar is cheaper than the U.S. dollar, so if Americans want to come to Canada, attend our shows, patronize our dealers and offer things to our members, we welcome it.”
Kroft is also the immediate past president of the Society of Israel Philatelists (SIP) and previously worked with English and the APS while at the helm of the SIP, which was the first society to use the APS headquarters in Bellefonte, Pa., as its office.
These national and international partnerships, he added, are vital for the hobby going forward.
“Philatelic organizations need to co-operate with one another in order to keep the hobby strong and attract new members,” he said, adding The RPSC’s top demographics include baby boomers, who are retiring, and the preceding cohort, Generation X.
“I’m very excited about this partnership with the APS because it’s part of The RPSC’s philosophy to partner with different organizations.”
One of nearly 100 members of the Fédération Internationale de Philatélie (FIP), The RPSC also maintains close ties with many Canadian philatelic organizations, including the Toronto-based Vincent Graves Greene Philatelic Research Foundation.
“The RPSC is fortunate to have the benefit of working with the Greene Foundation. It’s like Bellefonte – it’s really the Canadian equivalent – and we’re grateful for that relationship,” said Kroft.
“We’re trying to be connected to as many people throughout the world – including in Canada – to grow our membership and serve our existing members. We want people in Canada to benefit as well.”