The National Postal Museum Presents the 2019 Smithsonian Philatelic Achievement Awards

graphic featuring four Queen Elizabeth II stamp designs

On October 19, 2019, the National Postal Museum will celebrate three extraordinary individuals at the 8th Smithsonian Philatelic Achievement Awards. Established in 2002, the Smithsonian Philatelic Achievement Awards celebrate outstanding lifetime achievements in the field of philately—the study and collection of postage stamps, revenue stamps, covers, postmarks, etc., and other materials related to postal history. This achievement may include original research, exceptional service to the philatelic community or sustained promotion of philately to the benefit of current and future collectors. Recipients are nominated by their peers and selected by a committee chaired by the National Postal Museum’s Chief Curator of Philately. The process culminates in a Gala at which each winner is recognized by the Smithsonian Institution and presented with a Smithsonian Philatelic Achievement Award Medallion, which is resplendent with its own symbolism and tradition.

The award medallion is a 3-inch, gold-plated bronze disc depicting a sunburst with eight straight and eight wavy rays. Derived from the family coat of arms of James Smithson—founding benefactor of the Smithsonian Institution—the sunburst became the Institution’s official seal June 3, 1966 and is incorporated into the official flag flown by Smithsonian facilities and Smithsonian-sponsored expeditions throughout the world. As such, it is a universally recognized symbol of enlightenment and learning that links the Smithsonian’s history with its future. The medallion is suspended from a grosgrain neck ribbon in Smithsonian blue and yellow.

RPSL 150th-logo1

This year’s Gala has an extra special special theme, as we will additionally be celebrating the sesquicentenary of the Royal Philatelic Society London, the oldest philatelic society in the world. The event will include a special signing of the British Guiana One-Cent Magenta stamp. Mr. Stuart Weitzman, the owner of the rare stamp, will reveal the new signature on the stamp during the evening’s program. If you are interested in making a generous contribution to the National Postal Museum, tickets for the Smithsonian Philatelic Achievement Awards Gala in Washington, DC on October 19, 2019 can be purchased for $500 at the ticket link. All proceeds support the National Postal Museum’s programs that educate, inspire and spark joy in people’s lives through the extraordinary lens of stamps and postal history.

The 2019 recipients have each had a profound impact on the field of philately. It is our pleasure to share these winners with you: Alfredo Harp Helú, Janet R. Klug and Charles F. Shreve. Over the next three weeks, we will spotlight the 2019 Smithsonian Philatelic Achievement Award recipients in a special series of blogs. Stay tuned to learn more about these individuals who have dedicated their time and energy to encouraging worldwide appreciation for the beauty and educational value of stamps.

The 2019 Smithsonian Philatelic Achievement Awards is made possible in part by generous support from Presenting Sponsors Robert A. Siegel Auction Galleries, Inc. and an Anonymous sponsor, and Benefactor Sponsors George Jay Kramer, Anna Lee, Douglas and Kathrin Mattox, Daniel and Dianne Ryterband, Donald Sundman Family, Stuart Weitzman, and Alan and Sandy Whitman.