An invitation to sign the Roll of Distinguished Philatelists is the highest and most prestigious honour in philately, which recognises achievement, research, publication and service in many areas of philately. The Roll was instituted in Harrogate in May 1921 and the signature of His Majesty King George V appears at its head as the first signatory. In its design, it contains the names of 42 so-called “Fathers of Philately”, names of great philatelists who would have been invited to sign had they been alive at the time. At the first ceremony in Harrogate the signatures of the initial 39 names were added to the Roll.
This year’s signing ceremony, on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the Roll, will take place from 6pm on Monday 4th May 2020 at The Royal Philatelic Society London, 15 Abchurch Lane, London EC4N 7BW during the London 2020 international philatelic exhibition. Attendance at the ceremony is encouraged and open to all. The new signatories join 81 other current RDPs from 24 countries spread over six continents. More details on the Roll of Distinguished Philatelists can be found at:
At the annual meeting of the Board of Election of the Roll of Distinguished Philatelists on 5th March 2020 it was unanimously agreed that the following five philatelists be invited to sign the Roll:
Dr. John H. Barwis, RDP, FRPSL (USA)
James L. Grimwood-Taylor, RDP, FRPSL (United Kingdom)
Michael M. Y. Ho, RDP, FRPSL (Chinese Taipei)
Dr. Yamil H. Kouri, Jr. RDP, FRPSL (USA)
Charles J. G. Verge, RDP, FRPSL (Canada)
Dr. John H. Barwis, RDP
John Barwis brings together the study of science and philately. He was a founder member and is current president of the Institute for Analytical Philately and has led the organisation of the three international symposia on analytical methods in philately. John has formed several important collections. In particular, his early Victoria (Australia) gained many high awards at exhibition and his study of these stamps formed the basis for his large gold medal book The Half-Lengths of Victoria: The Stamps and Postal History, 1850-59. His other award-winning collections include the three cent Continental postage stamp of 1873-79, China’s large dragon issues and aspects Philadelphia postal history from Colonial times to UPU.
A leader in organised philately, John has been President and Chairman of the US Philatelic Classics Society and a member of the long range planning committee of the American Philatelic Society. He was awarded the Luff Award for Distinguished Philatelic Research in 2017 by the American Philatelic Society and, in January 2020, the Collectors Club Lichtenstein Award.
James L. Grimwood-Taylor, RDP
Generally accepted as one of the most knowledgeable individuals on the subject of pre-20th century British postal history. James has been active in the philately from a young age and has held a number of senior positions, including as president of the Great Britain Philatelic Society and president of the Society of Postal Historians. He has collected a wide range of subjects, including the British postal reforms led by Rowland Hill, postal history of the British Offshore islands, the postal history of Derbyshire, and New South Wales overseas mails, receiving many high awards at exhibition. His recent researches into postal reforms across the globe up to 1850 covers every continent and is the subject of a major book International Postal Reforms to 1850 to be published by The Royal Philatelic Society London in the spring of 2020.
James has always given freely of his knowledge both to researchers and to other collectors and he is author of hundreds of articles in numerous journals. His displays to hundreds of societies around the globe are notable for their erudition, originality and humour.
Michael M. Y. Ho, RDP
Michael Ho has been active in Taiwanese and Asian philately for many years. He was an executive member of FIAP (Federation of Inter-Asian Philately) since the mid-1990s, including being secretary general from 2005 to 2009, and today remains an honorary member. He has been a Jury member at many international exhibitions and was FIP co-ordinator for the Bandung 2017 World Stamp Exhibition. He has also participated on the expert teams at several exhibitions.
Michael has formed several significant collections, with his collection of China Small Dragon issues winning the Grand Prix International in Bangkok 2003 and the Grand Prix d-Honneur in St. Petersburg 2007 and his book China: The Small Dragon awarded a large gold medal and special prize in Bandung 2017. Others of his collections, including the postal stationery of Nicaragua, the American Bank Note issues of Bolivia, and the postal stationery of Honduras received high awards at exhibition.
Yamil H. Kouri, Jr. RDP
Yamil Kouri is involved in many areas of philately, both in the United States and internationally. He has been the USA commissioner at a number of international exhibitions and is an accredited FIP juror in postal history. He is a board member of the Spellman Museum of Stamps and Postal History and was vice-president of the American Philatelic Society from 2013 to 2016. As vice-president of Boston 2020 World Stamp Show, he is significantly involved in delivering this major, once in a decade, exhibition.
His collecting interests focus on the stamps and postal history of Cuba and he is author of several monographs. His book Under Three Flags; The Postal History of the Spanish-Cuban/American War (1895-1898) received the literature grand award at StampShow in 2019. Initially forming award-winning collections of postal history, his traditional collection of the first postal issues of the Spanish Antilles received the Champion of Champions Award at StampShow 2019.
Charles J. G. Verge, RDP
Arguably the leading philatelist in Canada, with a worldwide reputation as an author, exhibitor and FIP judge, Charles Verge has been involved in large numbers of philatelic events in Canada and worldwide. Today he is leading the organisation and presentation of the FIP Jury Academies, whereby international judges get together to discuss and hone their skills in judging and assessing competitive exhibits. In the field of literature judging, Charles has had significant influence in the development of methods of assessment of philatelic literature and, in particular, electronic/digital literature.
As curator of the Brigham collection of Canada, he has prepared and developed exhibits from probably the finest and most comprehensive collection of Canada ever formed, winning many large gold medals and several grands prix. His own collecting interests are wide ranging and he has written numerous research articles, including regular philatelic articles in non-philatelic publications such as The Ottawa Citizen. He is currently vice-chairman of the Vincent Graves Greene Philatelic Research Foundation and is involved in their expertising and issue of certificates.