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2004 Smithsonian Philatelic Achievement Awards

photo of eight people posing together at a gala

The Smithsonian Philatelic Achievement Award honors Americans and individuals from around the world for outstanding lifetime accomplishments in the field of philately. The achievements can include original research that significantly advances our understanding of philately and postal history; exceptional service to the philatelic community, and, the overall promotion of philately for the benefit of current and future collectors.

The Smithsonian Philatelic Achievement Award Recipients of 2004

George Brett

George Brett is widely regarded as the greatest living authority on United States stamp production. For over 60 years he has written groundbreaking research on U.S. stamps from the first issue in 1847 to the most recent issues. Brett is the author of over 500 reports, articles and books. A great teacher and a living legend in the field of philately, Brett was unanimously voted "Chairman Emeritus" for the United States Stamp Society in 2000. [Video clip of George Brett's speech

Tom Alexander

Tom Alexander has been described as the ultimate philatelic research scholar. His writings include numerous articles and books, including the authoritative United States 1847 Cover Census and two works in a series of National Postal Museum philatelic research publications. He is presently co-authoring a publication on recently rediscovered Post Office Department records relating to the production of U.S. postage stamps from 1847 to 1910. In addition to his many writings, he has volunteered thousands of hours of his time to organized philately. 

Barbara Mueller

Barbara Mueller is one of American philately's most distinguished writers and editors. Over the last 50 years she has made major contributions to philately, editing and writing publications for audiences that range from novice collectors to specialists. She is one of the most honored philatelists in the hobby and was the first woman honored with the prestigious John N. Luff Award by the American Philatelic Society in 1956. 


The 2004 Smithsonian Philatelic Achievement Award Recipients were honored Saturday, May 22, at a Gala Dinner hosted by the National Postal Museum. The recipients were selected by the museum's Council of Philatelists, a 25-member body of US and International dealers and collectors. Pictured above, front row, left to right: Roger Brody, Accepting the award on behalf of George Brett, Tom Alexander and Barbara Mueller; back row, left to right: National Postal Museum Curator Wilson Hulme, Allen Kane, Director of the National Postal Museum, Postmaster General John Potter, Smithsonian Institution Deputy Secretary Sheila Burke and National Postal Museum Council of Philatelists Chairman Guido Craveri.