Copyright 2011-2017 John N. Lupia, III

Philip Mathias Wolsieffer, Jr. (1857-1934), was born on May 28, 1857 in Egg Harbor City, New Jersey, the son of German immigrant father from Bavaria : Philip Mathias Wolsieffer, Sr. (1807-1872), a musician, vocal instructor and founder of an academy, and Pennsylvania native Catherine Kochersberger Wolsieffer.

In 1860, he lived with his family in Egg Harbor City, and at Galloway, Atlantic County, New Jersey.

In 1870, he lived with his family at Mullica, Atlantic County, New Jersey.

As a young boy he became a collector of stamps and coins.

In 1880, he lived at 212 North 9th Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

In 1882, he worked as a clerk and lived at 422 West Harrison Street, Chicago, Illinois.

In 1883, he married his first wife Katherine Dorothea Messinger (1858-1912).

In 1883, he lived at 8 Eldridge Court, Chicago, and became the publisher of vocal sheet music and advertised in the Delta Herald, Friday, November 2, 1883, page 2

On December 20, 1884, the Chicago Stamp Collectors Union was first organized at 169 Washington Street, Room 23, with Jerome H. Raymond elected as temporary chairman. One year and nine months later the American Philatelic Association was founded and less than a month after that the Chicago Stamp Collectors Union was reorganized into the Chicago Philatelic Society with Wolfsieffer as a key member.

In 1886, he was a founding member of the American Philatelic Association (later named American Philatelic Society) on September 14th, and three weeks four days later on October 8th, of the Chicago Philatelic Society.

Early on in his career as a stamp dealer Wolsieffer invented key philatelic supplies including the Approval Card and Left Page Stock Books. These allowed stamps to be kept without causing harm, damage, or any defect through handling and shipping. They were an immediate success.

Fig. Scott Stamp & Coin Co., Ltd, Approval Card comprising a heavy card stock card with a mounted plastic pocket forming a clear viewing window for the Scott #022 Nicaragua 2c issued in 1892. Courtesy Lupia Numismatic Library.

Fig. Advertisement in Philatelic West, Vol. 2, No. 4, back cover. The advertisement mentions his "Wolsieffer's Left Page Stock Books" which also was advertised in The American Philatelist, November 1896, inside back cover. Courtesy Lupia Numismatic Library.

Fig. Wolsieffer correspondence with the very famous New York botanist Professor Charles S. Sheldon, registered mail postmarked, Chicago, February 15, 1897. Franked with a VF well centered specimen of the very rare Scott #289, 8c violet brown Trans-Mississippi - Troops Guarding Wagon Train. A very early Wolsieffer Stamp Auction mailer of his first auction January 30, 1897. Courtesy Lupia Numismatic Library. Estimate $175. Write john@numismaticmall.com

From 1897 to 1933 he held 314 philatelic auctions.

In 1902 he donated numismatic literature to the ANA Library.

In December 1906, he joined the ANA influenced by his friend Ben G. Green.

In 1910, he was an active member of the Chicago Numismatic Society. In the summer of 1910 he proposed that the ANA and the APS hold their annual conventions at the same place and time each year.

In 1912, his wife Katherine died.

On February 7, 1914, he married married his second wife, a widow, Antonia Lurch Ervine (1859-1933) at Manhattan, New York.

In 1917, he owned the Philadelphia Stamp Company, 1936 North 31st Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

In 1923, he changed the name of the Philadelphia Stamp Company to P. M. Wolsieffer.

From 1924 to 1925 he served as president of the American Philatelic Society.

His wife died of a heart attack on September 18, 1933.

He was admitted to the State Hospital on September 15, 1934 suffering from bronchial pneumonia. He died on October 6, 1934 at Norristown, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.

In 1941, he was inducted into the American Philatelic Society Hall of Fame.

Auctions : (314)

[001] January 30, 1897

Bibliography :

Chicago City Directory (1882) : 1308

P. M. Wolsieffer. “Origin and Progress of the Chicago Philatelic Society.” The Stamp Collector, August (1888) : 20-21

The Numismatist, April (1902) : 112

The Numismatist, December (1906) : 404

Philadelphia City Directory (1917) : 1010

American Philatelist (1994) : 1090