Max Ohlman

Max Ohlman

While we wait for the Nassau Street stamp dealer list to reach its final stages, we can think of no more appropriate an individual to induct into our Hall of Fame than the legendary (that may be an understatement, by the way) dealer, Max Ohlman. For decades—as attested to by his perennial ads in such publications as The American Philatelist, Mekeel’s, STAMPS Magazine, Weekly Philatelic Gossip and Chambers Stamp Journal—he maintained offices at 116 Nassau Street—in the famed Stamp Center building which, by the way, still exists.

In the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library at Hyde Park, New York, there are a few records of the stamp collecting president’s philatelic transactions. Chief among them are bidsheets submitted by FDR for one of Max Ohlman’s famous auctions. The President had such a close relationship with Ohlman that the latter's signature appears on FDR's 1929 American Philatelic Society membership application. That application, by the way, is often on display at the American Philatelic Center in Bellefonte, Pa.

In March 1912, Mekeel's ran an editorial suggesting to the dealer community that a national organization of stamp dealers be formed. Finally, on December 15, 1914, the charter of the American Stamp Dealers Association was adopted. There were 26 charter members of the ASDA and No. was Max Ohlman. Even more important, Max Ohlman was elected the first president of the Association—being sworn in at the beginning of 1915.

This magazine is now working on a formidable, serialized article on the full history of the ASDA, but it has become clear from the beginning that Max Ohlman’s infl uence within both the dealer and collector community was quite important.

The chief purpose in founding the ASDA was to promote the inherent integrity of the Association’s membership. By selecting Ohlman—whose reputation in philately was consistently spotless—the dealer community sent a message to the philatelic public that is continually maintained right to the present day.