Earl P.L. Apfelbaum

Earl P.L. Apfelbaum
1905 - 1985

Philadelphia's oldest stamp firm was founded 78 years ago by Earl P.L. Apfelbaum who created a stamp dealing legend that is still talked about today. Few stamp dealers enjoyed such vigorous success over a lifetime and few of them did it outside of New York City. Apfelbaum did both.

In 1930, Earl Apfelbaum joined with his father to found the company after having been wiped out financially from the stock market crash ithe previous year. It was perfect timing on the part of father and son. The Great Depression ushered in a boom period for philately, fueled by countless thousands who turned to stamp collection because of the impetus provided by a newley elected stamp collector President, and the fact that, during hard times, people turn to hobbies for relief.

From a one-room office, they built one of the largest stamp firms in the United States. In fact, during the 1950s, many philatelists understood that the Apfelbaum firm was second only to H.E. Harris & Co. of Boston as the world's largest. The company specialized in public auctions, mail bids, filling want list and sending out approval selectins. Not only that, they operated a large fully-staffed store in the heart of downtown Philadelphia.

Earl Apfelbaum, himself, became one of the hobby's most beloved figures in part because of his deep love of philately and his caring, thoughtful personality. These assets were on display weekly for decades in his "Apfelbaum's Corner" column that ran in Linn's Stamp News and Stamp Collector magazines. For his writings, Apfelbaum was inducted into the APS Writers Unit Writers Hall of Fame.

Apfelbaum helped found the American Philatelic Congress in 1935 and his city's National Philatelic Museum in the 1940s. He was also accored the American Phiatelic Society's John N. Luff Award, deemed by many as the highest honor in American philately.

The Apfelbaum firm is carried on today by Earl Apfelbaum's grandchildren, after Apfelbaum's son, Martin, was tragicall killed in the terrorist bambing of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, over 20 years ago.