A Call For Chicago

The American Philatelic Society has long had an annual philatelic exhibition called STAMPSHOW. This annual get together is for the Board meetings and the Champion of Champion philatelic exhibition and houses what is probably the finest dealer’s bourse at any show. The policy of the APS for many years has been to have this show travel around the country in a kind of geographic pinwheel-first on the East Coast and moving across the country. The geographic diversity is supposed to make a a STAMPSHOW convenient to most APS members throughout each decade and was begun in the democratic (small “d”) feeling that shows should be equally convenient to all members.
What seems like a good idea really hasn’t worked out. Long lead times for good venues and high costs for one time rentals of decent exhibition space has meant that STAMPSHOW has graced many smaller towns that are very hard to get to for most people. Almost no one knows where next years show will be. Foreign collectors need a great deal of effort to get to many of these smaller towns and what began as an effort to be inclusive to APS members has had rather the opposite effect.
STAMPSHOW should be held in Chicago. It is in the center of the country and is easy to get to. Good exhibition space and hotel confirmations can be had at reasonable prices for organizations willing to book the same venue years out. Chicago is served by major airlines and has always been cheap to fly to. As far as costs go, most years Chicago will be cheaper for the vast majority of members than would be Sacramento (where the show was held this year) or Milwaukee (where it will be held next year). By comparison, it is a thousand miles by car from San Diego to Sacramento round trip. Accountants figure 50c a mile for gas and wear and tear on your car. Airfare from San Diego to Chicago round trip can be had for a bit more than $300 non stop.
There are other factors that makes this idea compelling. Collectors can plan well in advance to go because they will know three or four years out where and when the show will be. Many of us could easily add a stop over in Chicago to another trip or vacation. This plan will create more attendance, cheaper cost for attendees, easier planning for family inclusion and let STAMPSHOW offer attendees the lures of one of the world’s great cities for evening dining and entertainment. The only thing not going for this idea is the fact the the APS has never done it this way. That objection alone should prove fatal.
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