When a set of rare stamps was declared bogus several decades ago, collector and historian Patricia Kaufmann was certain stamp experts were making a mistake.
After 16 years of research, Kaufmann amassed enough evidence to prove that early stamps issued by postmasters in Confederate states were genuine.
Kaufmann will tell her story in a presentation at the Sussex County Stamp Club meeting at 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 12, at St. John's Episcopal Church Hall in Milton. The event is free and open to the public.
“The stamps were given a bad rap for close to a century,” Kaufmann said. “It didn't make a whole lot of sense to me when I acquired them, so I fought tooth and nail to get them their rightful place.”
Kaufmann began her research in the 1980s and finally reached her goal in 2000. Her presentation on the stamps and her research should take about a half hour, she said, with a question-and-answer session following.
Kaufmann often tells her story for stamp clubs, varying from large, highly knowledgeable stamp historians to smaller groups of stamp enthusiasts. She offered a presentation before a large group of philatelists at the seventh annual Postal History Symposium in Bellefonte, Pa., in November.
Provisional Confederate stamps were issued by postmasters in states declaring allegiance to the Confederacy before Confederate postal rates went into effect in 1861. One item, known to stamp enthusiasts as a cover - basically an envelope - sold for $65,000 in 2000. Single stamps, not covers, have sold for $20,000 to $25,000. Kaufmann said she has bought and sold these stamps, but she no longer owns any of them.
The Sussex County Stamp Club, originally the Lewes Stamp Club, was formed by a group of stamp enthusiasts in 1986, when Frank Morris visited Harry Moore, a Lewes resident and former postal employee who had an entire office full of stamps and related materials.
The turnout at the first meeting was light, but numbers grew as more meetings were held. Harry Perakis of Lewes is the only remaining original member.
The group meets the second Tuesday of each month at the Episcopal Church of St. John the Baptist, 307 Federal St., Milton. All ages and new members are welcome. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.