Edson J. Fifeld

Edson J. Fifeld

The American Stamp Dealers Association went through a time of relative dormancy prior to 1927—and then, a 20-year period of burgeonng growth and stamp hobby excitement reigned supreme! Much of this renaissance was due, of course, to having a stamp collector in the White House. Franklin Roosevelt was not only an active philatelist, but just like the rest of us, he dealt regularly with a handful of stamp dealers in New York City.

Not the least of these was Edson J. Fifield, who following a stint as editor of the Scott Postage Stamp Catalogues, became a major dealer in the heart of Manhattan at 511 Fifth Avenue in 1938. Long active in the ASDA when he was with Scott, Fifield took a number of key roles with the organization including being a director and Association secretary. Following his hard work on the 1947 Centenary International Philatelic Exhibition (CIPEX) in New York in 1948, he was elected president of the ASDA. It was he who appointed his predecessor, Peter G. Keller, to the position of fulltime executive secretary of the organization. This led to the founding of the ASDA’s giant National Postage Stamp Shows which, beginning in 1948, became the largest annual stamp shows held in the United States for a period of more than four decades. Amazingly, this innovation under Fifield’s helm regularly drew crowds of well over 50,000 to the annual fall extravaganza.

Fifield’s firm was famous for its auction sales—including the 1948 public auction of the large collection formed by former Secretary of the Interior in the Roosevelt Administration, Harold Ickes. Fifield was friends with Roosevelt and others in government, including Postmaster General James A. Farley.

Fifield led the dealer community during one of its most exciting periods when  philately was in a serious growth period. He was an active dealer well into the 1960s. He passed away at 75 on June 20, 1967 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.