PFEC Newsletter for Quarter 4 of 2016

Dear Friends,

I am late… It was lack of energy that prevented me from posting the newsletter earlier. There are several more subjects that I like to bring to your attention, but I have limited myself to the ones below and do the rest via other media.

In the third quarter, the number of members declined. We a new Basic members and two new Premium members. Unfortunately a number of long term members stopped collecting due old age. We just had the sad news that Vaclav Polacek has passed away. May he rest in peace.

Jiri Fochler extended his lead as  the nr. 1 PFEC recommender.

We welcome

Chris Reed of Australia and  Mireille Paradis of Canada

as Premium members

Further compliments go to Fernando Zamora.

This was the worst quarter for new members ever. If we like to have a vital community with lots of active members, everyone has to carry part of the burden.  How hard can it be to add one A5 sheet to a letter to a good collector and writing a few lines about your participation in PFEC which cannot be all that hard. I have now an A6 form of the size of a circuits, which I shall add whenever I have time. You can usually slip that in easily in your correspondence with non-PFEC friends without exceeding the weight limit for 20 grams.

Price of Dutch stamps for postage

Post NL has again decided to raise the price of postage stamps The tariff for an ordinary letter will go up from 73 to 78 cents. International letters will go up to 1,33 even though the fuel prices have come down dramatically and airfreight is more booming than ever.  I have decided not to increase the PFEC tariffs for 2017, but I shall need to catch up in 2018.

Collecting Dutch stamps

I have had it with Post NL as regards issuing policy. The limit was on September 12, when 15 different stamps were strewn over us poor cash-cows-collectors. Next year I will not entertain sheets with 10 different stamps for inland use. For 2017, 1 will only collect mint stamps of long going series, like the Mooi Nederland, Nederland Grenzeloos, the Europe stamps, the Children stamps and the December stamps, plus the sheets with just one, maybe two stamps like the one issued on the Day of the stamp.

Dropping the PO Box

The PO Box will definitely be cancelled early 2017. Please send your mail directly to my home address, which is on (nearly, when I forgot) every written communication from PFEC. The PO Box will remain in use until the level of mail has dropped sufficiently to close it safely. Last week I got about 60% of the letters to the home address. Keep up the good work and read the back of the circuit. I alter that occasionally.

Cover of Quarter 3 of 2016

I have selected a top 15  on October 1st . I published it on the weblog and I got 3 reactions there. Fortunately there were 17 voters  in the end: not great for 100 addressed members, but  not bad enough to stop this activity altogether. However, the post itself had 17 views. Not worth all the effort. Considering that there are people who spend their days with the posting of pictures of  their pet beetle, (double e) one might expect that some quality work by serious colleague philatelists might get a better reading. So this is the last newsletter on this weblog. No point in writing things that nobody reads.

The joint winners of Q3 were Hiroshi Motooka and Kare Johansson with 9 votes each.

The cover by Melvin Mazur was voted third with 5 votes .

That’s all for ever,

Take care,


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Cover of Q3 2016

Dear Friends,

The number of views on the PFEC blog is dramatically low and also since January 2016, the number of collectors interested enough to vote for the nice covers that some of the PFEC members produce or bring to my attention had decreased considerably. It is hardly worth the effort. The latter may be due to the change of access possibilities provided by Microsoft.

So I am about to combine the blog and the publication of the nicest covers in the last 3 months, which will be exposed for all to see.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This is a first attempt. If unsuccesful, I will consider carefully if the response is worth my time. By the way, from the preview this looks great to me.

PFEC members will get an alert that they can vote for the top 3 when the gallery of covers is on internet; others may vote via “Comments”.

The winning covers will be announced in the next newletter in November.


Best wishes from Pierre


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PFEC Newsletter for Quarter 3 of 2016

Dear Friends,

In the second quarter, the influx of new members stabilized, but  we had sufficient new members to fill the gaps left by members who left PFEC, mainly because of old age. We had several new Basic members and three new Premium members.

We welcome

Don Hoar of USA and Bertrand and Loïc Bruandet of France

as Premium members

In fact just before I published this newsletter Mr. Christopher Reed of Australia also joined the ranks of Premium members. It is a bit silly to wait three months for the offical welcome as I did with Mr. Neal Clarke of England.

A warm welcome too, to Neal and Chris

By August 1st , Jiri Fochler once became the nr. 1 PFEC recommender. Further compliments go to Jac Kuijsters, Kris Trebacz, Bertrand Bruandet, Yves Dupont, Fernando Zamora and Douglas Tolen.

Dropping the PO Box (eventually!!)

I became very annoyed with PostNl, sending me bills for letters that were perfectly OK.The sad fact was that PostNL did not recognize their own stamps. I sent  20 letters with the international Janneke Brinkman stamps in batches of 5 and PostNL rewarded that twice with 5 notices of insufficient postage addressed to JANNEKE BRINKMAN, PO Box 405 in Veenendaal.

But let’s face it: What service do you get for your 200 euro PO box charge. OK, the letters are stored relatively safely and there is less chance of the letters getting wet during delivery. However, the box is relatively small. You have to go out end collect the letters yourself.

I have started to alter al references to the PO Box in outgoing correspondence and ask you to use the new address on the circuits and my letters.

The good news is that the first PFEC letter arrived at the new addres on August 5th. Thanks Mark Wells. I am not in a hurry to stop using the PO Box, but your help is welcome.

Cover of Quarter 2 of 2016

I have selected a top 15  on July 1st . Unfortunately, it seems that Microsoft is limiting access to the Onedrive, which means that I have to find a new spot for the Galleries. Some members wrote to me that they could not get access.   After 11 votes, the cover by Hiroshi Motooka won unanimously.

11 Japan by Hiroshi Motooka

11 Japan by Hiroshi Motooka

The covers by José Mauro Caldeira Reis with 10 votes (2nd ) and Frank Brown with 4 votes (3rd ) were also well liked.

That’s all for now,

Best wishes,


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Ten Years of PFEC 3.0

Dear Friends,

On April 30th, 2016, it is 10 years since I sent the first complete set of circuits to Teus van Beek of The Netherlands. The very first circuit, was a trial copy sent to Simon Hall, just to see how it worked. After receiving the green light from Simon, PFEC was back in the philately scene as an added value collector community.

Before I joined PFEC some time in 1994, it had a history of about 10 years under the management of founder Mary White of Texas USA. She made PFEC different from many other similar communities by establishing rules of conduct. Most of these are still operational. In 2000, Mary, for several reasons decided to end her activities and she transferred the administration to Bob Olds of Texas. Under his guidance, PFEC 2.0 kept on growing, but unfortunately, at the annual meeting of 2005, Bob Olds announced his resignation. As there was no follow-up, PFEC started to dwindle. In those days our late friend Gustave DeGreef was very active in PFEC and after a large number of telephone calls, he talked me into picking up the pieces.

This was not easy, because there was no central administration among members. Some members were kept apart and nobody, not even Gustave had a complete set of members. Even today there are about 300 member numbers for which I never found a name. I did not even know who the last person was who joined under the administration of Bob Olds. That is why I decided to mark the restart by giving all new members a number from 2000 onwards. With a lot of help from my friends we gradually reconstructed the database of what is now PFEC version 3.0.

Enough about me, because PFEC exists by virtue of good members. Today it is time to put some of you into the spotlight.

On April 29th 2016, we had 232 active Premium members and 58 Basic members.

Oldest and newest PFEC members

I have no idea with how many members Mary White made the start of PFEC 1.0 in 1984. I am sure that Glender Bruce was there from the start. Glender has also contributed greatly to the vitality of PFEC by being active in sending circuits herself. Thank you Glender for the great contribution that you made to this community of Philatelic Friends.

The oldest member of PFEC 3.0 is Patricia Rodenhiser, the first to join after the restart, who is also regularly active by sending out circuits herself.

Our newest Premium member is Bertrand Bruandet, who was already very active as a Basic member and just decided to upgrade. Welcome Bertrand!

Our newest member is Mr. P.A. Stalin of India whose successful application arrived on the last day before the 10 year jubilee. His recommender is Yves Dupont, who has been successful before. Thanks Yves! Many of you were as successful and some even more.

Most successful PFEC recommenders

In this table you find the top 10 of members who were most successful in convincing collectors to join the ranks of Philatelic Friends. There are two kinds of ranking. In the left column you see the most successful members for finding starters. Every new basic member  counts for one point. If a member upgrades, there is a score of 3 points.

Nr Name members Nr Name points
1 Jiri Fochler 29 1 Gwen Pagonis 32
2 Gwen Pagonis 26 2 Jiri Fochler 31
3 Daryle Branford 16 3 Daryle Branford 18
4 Erwin Senkel 10 4 Erwin Senkel 14
5 Kris Trebacz 10 5 Andrew Anderson 13
6 Wil Jansen 10 6 Kris Trebacz 12
7 Andrew Anderson 9 7 Wil Jansen 12
8 Frans Geerlings 6 8 Frans Geerlings 8
9 Douglas Tolen 5 9 Douglas Tolen 7
10 Elvera van der Heiden 5 10 Elvera van der Heiden 7

Compliments to Jiri Fochler who found the most new members. However, Gwen Pagonis, who is runner-up in the left table, has brought in the most members who decided to upgrade to Premium membership for life.

Only the results from 2011 and further have been included in this table, because the system of Basic and Premium was introduced late 2010.

If the period 2006-2010 had been counted in, our late friend Andrew Anderson would have taken  joint third place.

PFEC varia

  • The latest circuit before the start of the new PFEC decade was nr. 31911 to Dianne Sapwell.
  • The best attended PFEC annual meeting was in 2001 and Amsterdam, organized by Hanny and Arthur Vermeer. There were 100 pariticipants.
  • The oldest member participating at a PFEC annual meeting was Molly Jochimsthal at the age of 91 at the meeting of 2006 in Trieste.
  • The youngest attendant to a PFEC meeting was Alex Hall, at the age of 3 in Cyprus in 2013.
  • The oldest active member of PFEC is Marcel Pennamen at the age of 94.
  • The oldest active member ever as far as the record go was our late friend Cees Nottelman of The Netherlands who passed away in 2007 at the age of 96.
  • Over 10 years we had 235 new members; that is just a little less than 2 per month

Feel free to share more PFEC facts with me and…..

Enjoy the next ten years,

Best wishes, Pierre


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Happy Easter

Dear Friends,

First of all a happy Easter for those using the western Christian Calendar and a happy Easter in advance for our Orthodox Christian friends. Remind me to send my good wishes to our muslim friends some time in July, when there is the Sugar festival.

The first quarter of 2016 was a relative good one for incoming new members. Just before the end of the first quarter, the count is 14.

We lost a few good members due to old age, sometimes in combination with the effects of the changing post market. As Frank Brady wrote to me in a letter that I just opened: It is getting more and more difficult to find good duplicates and the use of self-adhesive stamps is the future.

The top of the 2016 promotion competition is a crowded one, with Erwin Senkel, Jiri Fochler and Jac Kuijsters on 3 points each.

We welcome

Wim Peters of The Netherlands

as a Premium member

Further compliments go to Kris Trebacz, Daryle Branford, Elvera van der Heiden, Frans Geerlings and Armin Richter.

Sending of circuits

The next three months will be very hectic for Rosemary and me as we are involved in student exams. That means, I shall bore you less with descriptions of stamps and covers and I may have less time to answer your remarks about exchanges. As always, I will act appropriately, but I have less time for discussion.

I shall make up for that in July and August.

I expect no delays in the dispatch of circuits.

Doubts about the PO Box

This quarter, I had 4 notifications about letters sent to me, that did not reach me. That is a lot. Please keep me up to date about the response that you expect from me. The PO Box costs a lot of money and if it performs less than a private letterbox, then I may as well have done with it. If this situation does not improve, I shall start using my home address by July 1st and cancel the PO Box by January 2017.

Cover of Quarter 1 of 2016

At the moment, I have preselected about 20 covers. I expect to send the top 15 to you on the first day of April that causes no misunderstandings, the second.

Best wishes, Pierre

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PFEC Newsletter for Quarter 1 of 2016

Dear Friends,

My good intentions to post the newsletter on February 1st were hampered by a workload of 40 requests for circuits in February. Apart from one, they are all in the post, leaving my personal correspondents to attend to.

For PFEC the balance a the fresh start of the year was positive with 5 new basic members versus one cancellation in January. These collectors obviously liked a change in the new year.

Some changes in PFEC have come announced like the increase in postage for international letters and the annual increase in the costs of the PO Box. The PO Box is now almost double the price (225 euro) of what it was when I restarted PFEC in 2006. The ten year anniversary of that fact will be a quiet one, I suspect. Never mind, as we say in Dutch, do well and don’t look back.

One unannounced change in PFEC is the increase in the repeat fee for BASIC members. The intention is that basic members are so satisfied with PFEC that they think that a symbolic 10 euro is a pittance for what it gets you in contacts and chances for improvement of the stamp collection. It is not fair to Premium members who are long term supporters, have no advantage over those who just like to come and go.

I have put the repeat fee for BASIC members back to 100 stamps without postage refund and 50 stamps with postage refund. The fee for email repeats remains at 25stamps. This has started by February 1st.

Quality rules as in newsletter 2015 Q3 remain and will be maintained  progressively strictly.

I have already congratulated the winners of the 2015 promotion competition. Apart from the 3 gentlemen winners, compliments are due to Godfrey Perera, Wil Jansen, Daryle Branford, Erwin Senkel and Jac Kuijsters

We welcome
Lucien Perera in Sri Lanka
as a Premium member

Guidelines for pleasant exchanges

I have said it before and I will say it again: PFEC is not just a stamp-shover’s community. We are a group of collectors who are interested in helping other collector members. At least that is the general intention. Here are a few hints to increase the pleasure of making the exchange.

  • Cheer up you exchange partner with a neat envelope, if possible neatly cancelled.
  • Use commemorative stamps or blocks. Some older blocks may be new to your partner’s collection.
  • Do not use stamps for postage that have already been used.
  • Strengthen your cover with a piece of cardboard if necessary, understandingly avoiding excess weight that costs you.
  • When you receive nice stamps, add a friendly note expressing your pleasure.
  • If you have a bone to pick, do it in private with an assertive but respectful note. You may let me know your displeasure, but avoid sour notes on the circuit sheet itself.
  • Always try to improve on what you receive yourself. Quality is what your partner expects plus a little more.

Cover of Quarter 4 of 2015

Cover 02 Japan by Hiroshi Motooka

Cover 02 Japan by Hiroshi Motooka


The competition was won by Hiroshi Motooka by 8 out of 11 votes. Theo Schilderman (7) and Jan Vanden Boer (5) were runners-up.

Best wishes, Pierre

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Happy 2016

Dear friends,

After a short break between Christmas and the New year, I have resumed PFEC activities. First of all, I wish you an interesting 2016 in good health with exciting stamp exchanges.

Among the highlights of 2016 was the 30000th circuit sent out since the restart in 2006.

Thanks to the friends who made an effort to recommend PFEC to other collectors. It is an essential activity to keep PFEC viable. Congratulations to Frans (F.J.) Geerlings, who won the 2015 version of the annual competition to win new members with 5 points. Also compliments to runners-up Douglas Tolen and Jiri Fochler.

Keep sending your stamps in good-looking covers. The selection of the best of Q4 2015 is online and will be made available to members with email.

Enjoy 2016,

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