Stamp Club Hilton Head

A club that started to preserve the history of stamps

From friends to philatelists

Above Photo: Pictured from left are Sun City Stamp Collectors Club members Peter Umberto (executive board member),  Nick Rodites (treasurer), Ron Aflin (president), Rodger Anderson (executive board member) and Lloyd Marksaner (vice president).

Story by Sheila Paz + Photos by Mike Ritterbeck

What started as a few friends coming together over a passion for stamp collecting has evolved into the Sun City Stamp Collectors Club. 

Established in 2008, the club started meeting in members’ homes to share stamp knowledge and trade stamps. Word began to spread, and the club’s membership rose. Today the club’s 90 members commemorated its 15th anniversary. It’s officially registered within the Sun City community with a reserved meeting space in the Hidden Cypress Clubhouse. 

On the third Tuesday of each month, the members gather for an educational session. Following the lesson is where the real fun begins. The club hosts an auction, where a treasure trove of stamp-related items is exchanged amongst each other. Auction items range from single stamps to comprehensive stamp catalogs. Each member can bring up to five items to be auctioned off. Profits earned are donated to a nonprofit the members agree upon at each meeting. 

The club’s mission is to teach the community that there is more to the hobby than sticking stamps on a piece of paper and calling it a collection. Stamps illustrate history. Their progression captures pieces of history, such as women rising to prominent roles or when color was added to printing. 

“If you look at U.S. stamps, most of the stamps in the 1920s were red. In the 1930s they were purple. Then, when I was a kid in the ‘60s and ’70s, they were colorful. So you’d go and open an album, and you’d have all these different colors of stamps in there. It makes it interesting to see the color variation,” says club member Roger Anderson. 

Through these artifacts, the club members seek to share their passion for the hobby, mainly focusing on younger generations. Their next objective is to collaborate with local chapters of Scouts BSA, offering their wisdom to introduce stamp collecting and help Scouts earn the stamp-collecting merit badge. 

If you want to join the Sun City Stamp Collectors Club or have questions about stamp collecting, contact club president Ron Alfin at 843-705-7960.

Fun facts

The value of stamps is based on the rarity of the stamp.
For example, one of the most coveted stamps is the Inverted Jenny, a misprinted stamp showing an upside-down image of a blue Curtiss JN-4 on a 24-cent stamp in 1918. In November an Inverted Jenny sold for $2 million.

Great Britain is the only country not required to print stamps with the country’s name on it. As the first to make stamps, it has seniority over all other stamp-issued countries.

Stamp lingo

Philatelist: Someone who collects or studies postage stamps.

Cancellation: Used stamps are called cancellations due to the postal marking to prevent reuse. The cancellation mark is essential to collectors because it tells them when and where the stamp was canceled. 

Cover: A cover refers to the envelope, postcard or item on which the stamp is affixed. Covers can be just as valued as stamps because they tell the story of where the item has been and when and where the stamp was canceled.

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