2019 Hall of Fame Inductees

Michael A. Mellone

Many collectors know the late Michael A. Mellone as a promoter of stamp shows, but he was a key figure in first day cover literature. His work in that field revolutionized FDC collecting.

Mellone passed away February 12, 2018, in West Palm Beach, Florida, at the age of 72, from cardiac arrest. He was born October 31, 1945, in Syracuse, N.Y., and was a graduate of the Rochester Institute of Technology. His initial jobs were in computer operations for a bank and a chemical company, what we would now call “IT.”

Mellone edited and published catalogs of first day cover cachets, the designs on envelopes bearing first day of issue postmarks. For the first time, FDC collectors could more easily identify what they had and what they did not have. The books not only listed each known cachet, but illustrated them and often assigned values to them. Mellone also assigned identification numbers to each cachet, especially useful when the same cachetmaker produced more than one design for an issue.

His first “Photo Encyclopedia” of cachets appeared in 1976, and it is no coincidence that within a few years, first day covers were one of the hottest areas in philately.

He also published catalogs of the “first cachets” produced by cachetmakers, first-day ceremony programs, and souvenir cards, beginning with the Gorham Photo Cachet Catalog by David Zubatsky.

His book, Discovering the Fun of First Day Covers, first published in 1978, became the Scott U.S First Day Cover Catalogue & Checklist. It not only included issue listings, but also articles on what an FDC is and how to identify cachets, plus a “Cachet Calculator” of more than 200 cachet lines. When his agreement with Scott Publishing ran out, and he and Scott were unable to come to terms, Scott stopped publishing new editions of the catalog.

Even though the first of the Mellone catalogs were published more than 40 years ago, collectors and dealers still use them today. Mellone updated the pre-1940 “Planty” catalogs, beginning in 1994 and was working on updating the 1940s listings at the time of his death.

The American First Day Cover Society (AFDCS) awarded Mellone an Honorary Life Membership in 2005, for his long-time work as bourse chair of many AFDCS conventions and Americover shows, and his cachet catalogs. He also received the AFDCS Glenn C. Michel special recognition service award in 1994 and 2000, and the organization’s Distinguished Service Award in 2000.

Richard Stambaugh

Rick Stambaugh was born in Akron, Ohio in 1946. He attended Ohio State University and Akron University from which he graduated in 1973 with a BA in political science. For most of his career, he worked in the Department of Defense as a civilian staff officer. It was there that he started to work with another officer, Joel Hawkins, who would work with him on several catalogs. He retired from that job in 2003. He currently lives in Prescott, Arizona with his wife, Rose Casey. Apparently their jobs with the government made it a little easier to collect postage meter mail from unusual parts of the world. Joel has a gold awarded philatelic exhibit of the USSR. Rick’s more recent exhibit is with New Zealand.

He joined the Meter Stamp Society in 1978 and almost immediately began to contribute by writing articles for Simon Warner, the editor of the Meter Stamp Society Bulletin. He became the editor of the Meter Stamp Society Quarterly Bulletin (MSSQB) in 1984 as Werner Simon retired. He worked as the editor until 2006 when he passed that job on to David Crony, the current editor.

The first edition of the United States Postage Meter Stamp Catalog (USPMSC) was published in 1976 by Werner Simon and David Walsh, both long-time members of the Meter Stamp Society. Rick and Joel Hawkins worked together to develop the second edition, which was published in 1994. Of course, a catalog like that is never finished because new postage meter stamps appear frequently. In 2001 they came out with a 168-page loose-leaf update. Later the same year they provided a 55-page update to the 2001 edition.

During these times Rick and Joel, while working at their day jobs, decided to work on an international catalog. It took them about ten years. Rick did most of the writing, and they shared the chore of cataloging several thousand postage meter stamps from every country that ever provided a postage meter stamp. In 2005 they published the 1200-page International Postage Meter Stamp Catalog (IPMSC) in paperback. This work replaced the most recent attempt to provide an international catalog that had been prepared by S.D. Barfoot and Werner Simon in 1950.

During this time Rick also developed a few more works, including:
  • United States First Class Permit Stamp Catalog, 1989
  • Meter Stamps of China (with Dee Dreell) China Stamp Society, 1990
  • Meter Stamps of China, 2nd ed, China Stamp Society, 2000
  • Meter Stamp Society Quarterly Bulletin, 40 pages each quarter during the times when “cut and paste” was a literal statement.
In 2009 Rick, after a number of updates published in the Bulletin, decided that the hard copy route to these catalogs had to change. He chose www.wikibooks.com as the platform for his next adventure. He began to format the IPMSC as an online publication.

In 2017, after seven years of work, Rick announced that he had completed the task of cataloging the postage meter stamps of about 265 countries. During this time Rick developed an international group of enthusiastic postage meter collectors. The group communicates partially via email and partially via our discussion group located at https://groups.io/g/meterstampsociety/.

In 2017 Rick began to move the specialized US catalog, the USPMSC, to Wikibooks. Early this year, after two more years of work, he announced that he had completed that task. Collectors now have freely available catalogs of all the postage meter stamps that have ever been used by every country in the world, as well as a complete specialist catalog for the United States.