Sunday, December 25, 2005

The Brazil Philatelic Association

The Brazil Philatelic Association (BPA) was formed in 1968 by a few US collectors with a special interest in the stamps and philately of Brazil. Since then it has grown gradually but steadily; it still numbers only between 100 and 200 members, but by now it is Unit 32 of the American Philatelic Society (although one need not join the APS to join the BPA). The largest fraction of its members are in the USA, but it also has a significant number of members in Latin America (mostly in Brazil, as you might expect), as well as a scattering of members as far from Brazil as Japan. The only real requirements for becoming a member are an interest in stamps or philately of Brazil, and willingness to pay the dues. Dues for members in the USA and Canada are $15 for 1 year, $25 for 2 years, $35 for 3 years; for members in other countries the dues are $5 a year higher, to cover the extra costs of mailing.

Members include recognized experts, other specialists, serious collectors who study the philately of Brazil, and, more than all others put together, ordinary collectors like me who are just interested in forming or enlarging or understanding their collections of Brazil philatelic material. Dealers as well as collectors are welcome, and members include not only dealers, but even the publisher of a specialized catalog of Brazil's stamps and philately. Our membership list is held confidential, so you can join without worrying about becoming widely known unless you wish to be.

The BPA publishes a quarterly journal, "Bull's Eyes" (now up through whole number 143) carrying articles, news notes, classified ads, occasional letters, and the listings for BPA auctions (which are open to BPA members only); the articles range from serious new research studies to casual short items to tutorial material, just depending on who happens to write what. All members are encouraged to write for Bull's Eyes about any aspect of collecting Brazil that interests them, although only a fraction of the members actually do write for Bull's Eyes, because writing for publication takes time that most members cannot devote to it. The auctions provide a wide range of scarce material at what usually turn out to be very reasonable prices. But perhaps the most valuable result of joining the BPA (at least for me) is that gradually it brings one into contact with others who share one's special interests, including people from whom one can learn, and with whom one can exchange information, literature, stamps, covers, ..., whatever, on an informal basis that benefits everyone. (We need a Web site, but for reasons I won't bore you with, we don't have one yet, although we hope to some time soon.)

If you think you might be interested in joining the BPA, write or email our membership chairman,
Phillip Pulsinelli
2946 Sunset Drive
Export, PA 15632
email: pulsinel+@pitt.edu
for an application form and answers to any questions you may have about BPA membership.

I'll just conclude this note by observing that although I'm a lifelong non-joiner, I have found membership in the BPA to be extremely rewarding, and intend to continue my membership more or less forever.

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