With the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic spreading illness, fear and uncertainty, the cancellation of virtually all in-person events spurred two U.S. collectors to fill the social void in the philatelic community. Trying to match the camaraderie of mingling with people at stamp shows, Michael Cortese and Charles Epting launched Conversations with Philatelists, a video podcast featuring guests both directly and tangentially tied to the hobby. The hosts both graduated from the Young Philatelic Leaders Fellowship (YPLF), founded by the American Philatelic Society in 2009, and crossed paths at international shows before launching the podcast in mid-2020. Since then, it has garnered about 120,000 views on YouTube, as well as thousands more on other platforms, with nearly 100 episodes airing as often as every week. “It started pretty innocently like that: we just wanted to talk to people,” said Cortese, of Pittsfield, N.H., the co-owner and executive vice-president of NobleSpirit, a family-run company specializing in stamps, coins and other collectibles. “But as we put up more and more episodes, something happened that we didn’t really expect.” Continue reading →
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