A collector for over seventy years, John Birkinbine II has been a professional philatelist for over fifty years. His history as an exhibitor includes 1985 U.S. Champion of Champions, five International Large Gold Medals, Court of Honor at AMERIPEX 1986, WORLD STAMP EXPO 1989, and NORDIA 2001. The American Philatelic Congress honored him with the McCoy Award in 1969 and 1997 for best research paper, and he won the Barr Award 1997 for best presentation. The U.S. Philatelic Classics Society honored him in 1995 with the Distiguished Philatelist Award.
Birkinbine has served on the APS Expertization Committee for thirty-three years, as a Scott Catalogue consultant for fifteen years, and he as an APS accredited judge for twenty-three years. He has been chairman of the Arizona Philatelic Rangers for over twenty years.