A longtime APS member from a town in Medina County, Ohio, recently wrote to the APRL to ask one short question: “Is there anything in print about collecting hometown postal history?”
The short answer is, yes, mostly short articles about covers found by collectors that fill niches in such collections. Many of these pop up in state postal history journals, like the “Hometown Post Offices” columns in every issue of the quarterly New Jersey Postal History Society Journal. Occasionally you may find a longer piece on the hometowns of specific collectors, how they came to collect, and what they’ve learned along the way, such as this hometown column on Cincinnati by former APS President Janet Klug.
However, our sense was that this concise correspondent was asking for a handbook or collector’s guide, a “how-to” book. That we do not have ― and perhaps we never will ― even though hometown collections appeal to a wide range of people.
This is because not only are no two hometowns exactly alike, but no two hometown collectors are likely to collect their postal artifacts in exactly the same way. In addition, there are fierce arguments over what does and does not belong in such a collection. Advertising covers? First day covers? What about incoming and outgoing foreign mail? There is no “right” or “wrong” when collecting to suit yourself, and most hometown collectors do exactly that.
If you, too, are interested in hometown collecting, the APS Education Department has a great opportunity in a StampCampus Collecting Connections module to be offered online on Friday, January 16, at 2:00 p.m. EST. Veteran collector Tom Horn, Director of the APS Sales Division, will guide the one-hour module titled “Collecting Your Hometown Postal History.” Tom’s session will help you to discover sources of information about your hometown’s history, where to look for postal history related to your town, and offer tips on making the wisest buying decisions.
Because these courses are offered online using GoToMeeting software, they are far more affordable than APS courses traditionally have been ― just $20 for APS members, and only $50 for non-members. (Non-members can join APS now to save on the tuition.) The session requires a computer, speakers, a microphone (useful for participation, but not required); having a web cam with a built-in microphone would be most helpful.