Dr. Tony Maniscalco
It seems I was destined to be a collector. It all began one afternoon while walking home from school. I found, on the sidewalk, a packet of stamps from Chile. The large, colorful engravings intrigued me. The high value depicted a steam locomotive and carried a denomination of $10. What was the story behind these miniature works of art; and more importantly, to an 11 year old, what are they worth? My father had a friend at work that was happy to help a youngster get off to a good start. He gave me his old two-volume 1955 Scott catalog and the adventure began. The stamps turned out to be the very inexpensive Scott 217-227. I still have the stamps and, in fact, a couple of them are now part of my chemistry collection viz. 219 (nitrate industry) and 221 (copper mine).
The Little Italy section of Manhattan in the 1950s did not remotely resemble the very trendy area it is today. However, the location was ideal for a young collector. Nassau Street, the hub of a thriving stamp trade, was only a short walk away. The world famous stamp department at Gimbels was two express stops away by subway, or a two-mile walk if I wanted to save the 15-cent fare. Despite my very limited budget, the professional dealers I met were always willing to offer their time and advice. In 1956, FIPEX was staged at the newly opened New York Coliseum. It was pretty exciting to pass through security guards to view the 1-cent British Guiana 'the worlds rarest stamp'. (I have recently become aware of the rumors that only a copy was on display!)
What followed was a couple of years of active collecting; then the evitable occurred. School and girls (not necessarily in that order) became more important. I received a B.S. in chemistry from Manhattan College (June 1965), married (January 1967), first son was born (December 1967), received a Ph.D. from Fordham University (February 1971), and began a 36 year career as a Professor of Chemistry and Computer Information Science at Springfield College (September 1971 to May 2007).
My interest in philately was revived, while in graduate school, by the article 'History of Chemistry Unfolds on Stamps' in the 29 September 1969 issue of Chemical and Engineering News (p.42-3). I have been actively collecting chemistry on stamps ever since. I add to my collection most everything related to chemistry, but as an Organic Chemist, I have a particular interest in stamps that treat this area, especially if they show chemical structures.
In 1979, I was contacted by Richard Gratton and invited to become a charter member of the ATA Chemistry On Stamps Study Unit. Although Ive written a couple of articles for PCP, Ive have been content to let others do the hard work of administration and publication of the journal; preferring to spend my time teaching, raising a family (my second son was born in 1972 and my granddaughters in 1999 & 2002), traveling (much of North America including all fifty states, all the countries of western and central Europe), hiking, orienteering, and, more recently, geocaching.
Retirement creates opportunities. The appeal in the latest edition of PCP for someone to manage the website seemed like a perfect fit for my computer skills, understanding of chemistry, and interest in furthering the goals of this organization. I am grateful that my offer to serve as CPOSSUs webmaster was so warmly accepted. My first task was to bring the website up to date. Now that thats done, I am looking forward to working with the officers and members of CPOSSU to add content that enhances the value of this resource.
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Rosemarie & Tony Maniscalco
At the Trevi Fountain