The American Stamp Dealers Association will, in 2014, observe its 100th anniversary—quite a milestone in a hobby where many of our institutions and ways are fleeting. This magazine is in the process of preparing a written history of this organization—one that is full of nostalgic stories of collectors, dealers, great rarities, monumental stamp shows, and of course, the people of our hobby. The history of the ASDA is the history of philately in the 20th century.
However, we don’t think the ASDA could possibly have reached this milestone without the steady hand of a former trade show manage and organizer who stepped in to rescue this association nearly 5 years ago. Joseph B. Savarese was brought into the ASDA by dealer-member Bob Driscoll in the late 1 0s when it had next to nothing in the bank and a membership that was starting to dwindle.
Roy DeLaFosse, longtime member from Georgia, likes to tell the story of how Joe came up with the idea that financially stabilized the ASDA not long after his arrival. Facing the prospects of an organization almost without funds at all, the ASDA board asked Joe what he thought they should do to get some money in the bank.
Joe calmly responded, “Send out the dues notices early...do it right now. Don’t wait.” Within a couple of weeks, a precarious situation had been set to rights.
Joe Savarese (with the quiet moral support of his wife, Bette, and his family) has served the stamp dealers of America for well over three decades—overseeing so many “sea changes” in the ASDA, they’re too many to recount. Included among his many accomplishments are the now 18- year old close relationship with the USPS in sponsoring stamp shows, the expansion of the Association’s member benefits almost tripling them), and the advent of The American Stamp Dealer & Collector magazine.
Joe has been controversial, too, at times. The ASDA’s recent evolution into a modern, fully-national trade association for the stamp dealing community—led by a new set of elected officers—has not been the easiest of roads to follow. We think Joe’s strongest attribute is his unfailing friendliness to all he meets and his calmness even under the most difficult of situations. And his “coming to the rescue” on occasions that are far too numerous to mention. As he approaches retirement, we salute him.