The Lebanon Stamp Collectors Club

In the spirit of philatelic sharing, we offer our members and friends the Newsletter and History of the Lebanon Stamp Collectors Club (LSCC), Editor: Scott Ney can be reached at stnst2@aol.com or 3187 Oak Street, Lebanon, PA 17042. The LSCC thanks Dick Colberg for preparing and sharing the history of the LSCC.

If you find a broken link or an unreadable issue, please contact Charles J. DiComo, PhD.

Lebanon Stamp Club Newsletter, 2020-05
Lebanon Stamp Club Newsletter, 2020-04 Supplement
Lebanon Stamp Club Newsletter, 2020-04
Lebanon Stamp Club Newsletter, 2020-03
Lebanon Stamp Club Newsletter, 2020-02

Lebanon Stamp Club Newsletter, 2019-12
Lebanon Stamp Club Newsletter, 2019-08

Lebanon Stamp Collectors Club History

By Richard Colberg, February 2020.

Scott Ney has asked me to write the history of the Lebanon Stamp Collectors Club (LSCC) as I may be the oldest member (in age as well as years of membership).

According to the application filed with the American Philatelic Society on June 13, 1968, the official name of the club was the Lebanon Stamp Collectors Club. Frank Preisler, William (Bill) Levengood, both A.P.S. members, and Wayne Fox (membership pending) signed the application. Mrs. Edna Ritcher is listed as the secretary.

There does not appear to be a written history of the club, nor is there an archive. A pity.

I moved to Lititz, Pa. in 1976 and joined the LSCC in 1977. I was an exhibitor in the club’s annual exhibit in 1977. Even though I lived a lot closer to Lancaster, I had no interest in joining the Lancaster stamp club. I was turned on to the LSCC because most of the members were also exhibitors and that appealed to me.

The LSCC may in fact have much earlier roots. Shown below is a ticket to the “Second Annual Banquet Aero Philatelic Society and Stamp Collectors Club of Lebanon, Pa.” It was held at the Hotel Weimer on April 11, 1935.

The text further states that there will be an exhibit of Imperforate Stamps. Note also that there are two clubs listed: L.A.P.S. (Lebanon Aero Philatelic Society) and L.S.C.C. (Lebanon Stamp Collectors Club). The then-current officers of the two clubs are also listed. Henry B. Ritcher is listed as “Monitor”. I wonder if he is related to the Edna K. Ritcher who is listed as the Secretary of the LSCC on the 1968 APS application, some 33 years later?

In addition to the members listed on the APS application, a couple of additional prominent members at the time of my joining the LSCC were Erwin (Herk) Herschkowitz and Jerry Laconis. Herk was a wonderful man, always helpful to other collectors, even though he was on a far higher plane of philatelic expertise. He was an international exhibitor and winner of international gold medals. Jerry Laconis was the treasurer of the club for many years. He was the bookkeeper at the Treadway Hotel in Lebanon and was able to secure a monthly meeting room at the hotel for the club. Herk seemed to know everyone who was someone in the philatelic world and the club never lacked for interesting speakers at the monthly meetings. The same is true of securing judges for our annual club stamp exhibit, LEBPEX. Herk would always find prominent judges for our small-town exhibit. Our club pioneered the concept of “one frame exhibits” before it became popular. For a couple of years in a row we had 50 1-frame exhibits at LEBPEX. Getting 50 different exhibits for a small stamp show is no small task. In the end, we stopped having 1-frame exhibits exclusively because it was just too much work.

Herk was the owner of a company in Cornwall, PRL Industries. He donated space at his facility for the year-long storage of the LEBPEX exhibit frames and provided a truck and a 2-man crew to transport the frames to and from the LEBPEX site. This service even continued after his death in the mid-1980s.

For many years LEBPEX was held Friday and Saturday of the last weekend in October at the Lebanon Valley Mall. Later the exhibit was moved to a couple of different area malls. The club always tried to make their awards unique. I believe we succeeded beyond anyone’s wildest dreams. Some of the more notable awards were: various sizes of Seltzers Lebanon Bologna (the size depended on the award level) and various sizes of bottles of whiskey from Michter’s Distillery (no longer in business). Junior exhibitors were excluded from these awards! One year we got railroad rail spikes, had them zinc plated, and mounted on boards.

In about 1982 I designed a medal to replicate the well-known Lebanon Patent Cancel. I had them cast in aluminum and then mounted to small wood blocks. The following year I had the medals cast in bronze to give them some weight. Aluminum was just too light. The year was also cast into the design, so every year we changed the date and cast more for the next year. It appears that 1993 was the last year for the medals, and indeed, LEBPEX.

We had an interesting member in the 1980s named Hollis Kelly. He was a long-haul truck driver, but he made it a point to be in Lebanon when the club met on Tuesday nights. One year he entered an exhibit in LEBPEX at the urging of Herk. This was a very fine exhibit of the U.S. 1892 Columbian Issue. As a novice exhibitor, he won a very nice award. Not long afterward, he died. Then we created a new Lebpex award: The Hollis Kelly Novice Award in his honor.

In the early 1990s it was becoming harder and harder to get exhibits for LEBPEX and we realized that we were paying frame fees, hauling the frames, setting up and tearing down the exhibit, and renting the exhibit space and tables all for the pleasure of showing our own material. Thus, we decided to kill Lebpex, sell or otherwise dispose of the frames, and devote our exhibiting efforts to supporting other area exhibits like LANCOPEX (Lancaster) and YORKOPEX (York). I don’t think any of us regretted that decision.

Membership in the club has been fewer than ten members since the early 1990s. We’ve barely been able to replace those members who have either moved on or died. Lebanon just doesn’t seem to be an area where the stamp collectors are.

After a name and management change at the Treadway Hotel, we had to find another meeting space. We settled on the Chamber of Commerce Board Room in the refurbished Lebanon train station. It was a nice space, although a bit noisy when trains passed just feet from the room. A few years later we moved to the current location, the Lebanon Public Library. We meet at the library 11 months of the year and meet at a restaurant for a Christmas dinner in December.

Most of the club’s monthly meetings feature programs presented by the members. Occasionally, an outside speaker is brought in. Though our ranks are small, the members seem to be continually able to present varied and interesting programs.