Harry Weiss

Harry Weiss

Harry Weiss was one of most influential and widely-read philatelic columnists of his time. As editor of Weekly Philatelic Gossip in the 1940s-1960s, he began a newsy column, “Inside Straight,” about the hobby, new stamps, inside stories and suggested “hot tips.” It ended up being one of the most popular regular columns ever published in any American stamp periodical. Simultaneously, Weiss was in the stamp business—but more as a favor to his readers—with a firm called Midwest Philatelic Laboratories who made it their task to help survivors of deceased stamp collectors to find the best way to properly dispose of the collections of deceased family members. It was strictly a part-time pursuit in addition to his editorial responsibilities, but it gained him widespread respect.

He also wrote another column, “Canadian Round Table,” for the magazine. He continued the weekly “Inside Straight” until Gossip ceased publication in 1961. Almost immediately, Weiss began another column, “Stamp Market Tips,” published in Stamps Magazine from late 1961 until his death in 1966.

During his editorship of Gossip, Weiss serially reprinted several important outof-print books. Among them was John N. Luff’s The Postage Stamps of the United States (1943 reprint).

His Midwest Philatelic Laboratories, offered a wide range of services to collectors and estates: appraisals, expertization, mounting, and suggestions for successful disposition of collections. His laboratory contained technical equipment available for use at only a few philatelic facilities. With his respected expertise in stamps—plus his early background as a vaudeville magician—Weiss produced the Harry Weiss Laboratory Show which used highlevel technology, chemicals, lighting and audio to entertain stamp show audiences in how fraudulent philatelic material was uncovered. He took it on the road and the show became a highly-demanded form of entertainment on the banquet circuit.

It might also be mentioned that Weiss was a mentor for this magazine’s editor. [Our thanks to the American Philatelic Society for some of this information, and to Herbert Trenchard, author of this biography.]