It was in the spring of 1920 that several of Utica's “most prominent’ stamp collectors met in the office of M. J. Horn, 105 Arcade Building, and organized a stamp club “for the philatelists of this city.” According to the April 29 1920, Utica Daily Press, the following officers were collected: M. J. Horn, president; Charles S. Hibbard, vice president; William J. Fox, secretary and treasurer; Floyd Harrington, sales and exchange manager. W. J. Barton, A. H. Kirkland and F. Harrington were appointed to a membership committee. Interested stamp collectors were invited to join the club.
The Utica Stamp Club became Chapter #66 of the American Philatelic Society on July 1, 1925, and APS Life Member #14 on August 29 1929. The group continued to meet in the Arcade Building on the second and fourth Monday of each month, until at least 1927. Eventually, it moved to the YMCA, 726 Washington St., where meetings were held until 1956. The club next moved to the T. R. Proctor House (Munson-Williams-Proctor Institute) until that building was demolished in 1959. From 1960 through 1970 meetings were held at the YWCA on Cornelia Street. In January 1971 the club again moved its meeting place, this time to the Plymouth – Bethsada Church on Oneida Square where members gathered until September 1988. At that time, the club moved to our present monthly meeting site, Zion Lutheran Church, at the corner of French and Burrstone Road, New Hartford.
Thre is no record of the club's first or second annual banquet. However, the third such event was held June 8, 1923, in the dining room of the Masonic Craftmen's Club at the Masonic Temple. Tickets were $2 each; the menu included soup, fish, salad, potatoes, stuffed olives, celery, coffee, ice cream, cake, and cigars. (Remember, there were no women in the club!) “There was a fairly representative attendance,” according to the next day's Observer-Dispatch, which went on to state, “The Utica Stamp Club is steadily growing in size and importance …” Club president at that time was W. J. Horan.
Membership had grown to a total of 40 by 1927, and the seventh annual exhibit and banquet was moved to the YMCA building. Prize for best all-around exhibit went to W. R. Staplin. By the tenth event in April 1930, W. J. Barton has taken over as president.
About 40 members attended the 30th anniversary observance in May 1950 at Brassel‘s restaurant. They reviewed the club's history, recognized the seven charter members, and took part in an auction during which the members paid a total of $50 for 44 stamps.
The 60th annual banquet was held December 16, 1980, at Ventura's, Lansing Street. The program again honored “the seven founders,” listed as: Floyd Harrington, Charles S. Hibbard, A. H. Kirkland, William J. Fox, W. J. Barton, M. J. Horn, and Don Parish.
Undoubtedly the most famous member of the Utica Stamp Club was Arthur J. Hind, president of Hind and Harrison Plush Company, Clark Mills. He made national headlines on July 9 1822, when he outbid the King of England for an 1856 British Guiana one-cent magenta stamp. Hind paid $37,000 for the only specimen known to exist at that time — the highest price ever paid for a single stamp. At the Royal Philatelic Society's exhibit in London the following year, judges awarded the local man two gold medals and two grand gold medals for his various collections, including some of the rarest stamps in existence. Hind's collection of Confederate States stamps was said to be one of the best in the world.
Mr. Hind was not the only local philatelist with a valuable collection. On May 21 1928, the Utica Daily Press printed a very informative article about the club, which at the time was headed by W. Ray Staplin. It was reported that Floyd Harrington's collection of specialized stamps “of the bank note issue, from 1870 to 1888,” would be exhibited at the upcoming National Philatelic Convention in Cleveland. The article went on to cite other examples of rare and valuable specimens, as well as prize-winning stamps, owned by several other members.
The Utica Stamp Club has held many shows throughout the years; one of the largest was in October 1965 at the Utica Memorial Auditorium. This three-day event was a joint effort of the Niagara Frontier Federation of Stamps Clubs and the Federation of Central New York Philatelic Societies. The show was billed as “the biggest ever to be put on in the state outside the Metropolitan New York area.”
Since 1970 the club hosted a yearly stamp exhibition on a rotating basis with four others clubs (Fort Stanwix Stamp Club, Chenango Valley Stamp Club, Community Stamp Club, and Tri-County Stamp Club) called CINCOPEX.
This club history was taken from History of the Utica Stamp Club, written in 2000 for the club's eightieth anniversary.
The Utica Stamp Club has grown to its present membership with collectors from Otsego, Chenango, and Delaware counties. Programs are presented by the members of the club with occasional guest speakers from other federation clubs; also slides or other philatelic material.
name was changed to the Greater Utica Stamp Club in late 2005.