When The American Stamp Dealer & Collector asked me to write my father’sbiography for his induction into the American Stamp Dealer Hall of Fame, first I thought how will I be able to squeeze all of his accomplishments into words and express how personal the experience of working in the world of philately has been for him. There are many great stories of his mentors from his youth and the friendships he has
made along the way.
I do believe that many readers may have an idea of how important these relationships have been to him over the decades through the pieces he has written about his friends such as Bob Driscoll and most recently his story of the late Walter “Wally” Mader (in the January issue of this magazine).
As with many of his generation, Greg’s interest in philately was sparked by his grandfather at the early age of seven. By the age of 12 he was already dealing in stamps at clubs and at 15 he placed his first ad in Linn’s Stamp News for his mail order business. The following year, with a partner, he opened his first store front in South Orange, New Jersey. The partners had an employee who ran the store during school hours. Throughout high school Greg was also on the road attending stamp exhibitionsin every major city along the east coast and in the Midwest….along the way making many lifelong friends.
From 1964-1966, Greg learned the auction business working for William A. Fox as a describer and all the while still running his own mail order business. Greg then teamed up with Bruce Gimelson to form Gimelson-Manning Auctions and in 1967 they sold the Walter P. Chrysler collection.
The 1970s only got busier for Greg. He served as Linn’s market valuation editor and also contributed as the “Trends” author and began writing a column on the stamp market that he would do for 25 years. 1971 was a year of particular importance. Most importantly, I was born, but philatelically speaking, Greg began conducting auctions in London under Greg Manning Collections and the company became the official agency for the Commonwealth of Australia in North America, establishing the Australian Stamp Bureau. In 1973, through Greg Manning Auctions, he introduced to the marketplace full color stamp auction catalogs on behalf of the Philatelic Foundation sale.
IPM was founded in 1974 and the following year it was named agency for the British Royal Mint in North America which was then followed by agreements with the Australian Mint and the Dutch Mint. Then 1977 as the year that the Philatelic First Day cover program conducted with Reader’s Digest became the largest FDC continuity program in history with 400,000 subscribers at its high point. By 1984 IPM had established sales partnerships for North America with the Crown Agents of England and represented over 50 countries in North America.
In this same year IPM hosted the first Postmaster General of Micronesia, Leo Falcam, who later became president of Micronesia from 1999-2003. IPM designed and marketed Micronesia’s first set of stamps as an independent country and continued as the country’s first agent.
The 1990’s brought Greg’s focus back to the auction business. In 1993 he took Greg Manning Auctions public and proceeded to purchase other collectible businesses such as Ivy, Shreve, and Mader, later to be known as Ivy & Mader. This brought Greg back together with longtime friend, Walter Mader. Together under Greg Manning Auctions and Ivy & Mader, they conducted the immensely successful Pacific ’97 auctions at that international exhibition in San Francisco selling a total of $10 million dollars in material. The auctions established a world record for any major stamp exhibit auction.
With the advent of Internet commerce in the mid nineties, Greg jumped into uncharted territories. In 1999 GMAIAsia held the first online auctions in Beijing. Back in the U.S., Greg Manning Auctions established relationships first with eBay and then with Amazon as the Internet giants were establishing themselves in the fine collectibles arena.
Greg’s love of philately has not wavered. He was very excited in 2003 to auction to the public the United Nations Archives collections through Greg Manning Auctions. The hard bound full color catalog alone was a piece of art. Most recently from 2006-2008, Greg’s passion project was a true homage to philately. He conceived and worked with China Post and the IOC to bring together over 100 countries to produce a four volume masterpiece for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. This also gave Greg a chance to work with his close friend, Paul Schmid, who was the artistic mind behind the project. This is thought to be the single largest stamp project in history with sales of 30,000 collections each retailing for $5,000 US.
Before closing this piece, it should be said that Greg Manning has an unusually fertile memory of the great history of this hobby. When he first started out as a kid in the 1950s, many of the early greats of philately’s collector and business sides were still very much active. He knew them, learned from them, and to this day cherishes the memories of, and stories about, them. People like Warren Colson, Bob Siegel, Herman Herst, Jr., Lester Brookman, Lambert Gerber (now there’s a strange story!), Ezra Cole, Sylvester Colby, Ernest Kehr, Mortimer Neinken, Stanley Ashbrook, so many more. In many ways, he is a walking-talking history book of philately.
Needless to say he has loved every aspect of the philatelic world and has always worked to grow the hobby and the business. His grandchildren are looking forward to getting a taste of his world at World Stamp Show-NY 2016 and who knows, maybe one of them will pick up from him and continue his life’s work.
—Alicia Manning Kalmar