If you look out onto the philatelic landscape, our next legendary collector is the oak tree standing at the center of our vista, with a spectacular canopy of branches and foliage that reflects a pleasing hue upon all those that care to gaze and admire the view.
Charles Lathrop Pack (1857 to 1937) an American philatelist, was one of the world’s richest men prior to the first world war, and as well as being a highly decorated philatelist, Pack was best known as an international authority on forestry. Pack is also famous for being the principal instigator in the war garden or food gardens for defense initiative, which encouraged the growing of vegetables, fruits, and herbs in private residences and public parks in the United States during the war.
As is often the case in a man’s life, his achievements in work seem to be mirrored in his social interests. This was certainly true of Pack, and he was an individual whose colossal achievements in his business and social sphere were also reflected in his philatelic accomplishments. A millionaire of towering proportions, Pack was able to form important collections in Canada, Cape of Good Hope, British North America, New South Wales, New Zealand, Argentina, Brazil, and Victoria. The latter research was the catalyst for his 1923 book ‘Victoria: the Half-length Portraits and the Twopence Queen Enthroned’ to which he was awarded in 1923 the Crawford Medal by The Royal Philatelic Society, who also awarded him the Tapling Medal in 1924, both made Pack the first American to be awarded either prize. And he was also the first American to win The Lindenburg Medal in 1926.
As you might expect it wasn’t just the Europeans that recognised his contribution to the world of philately, because back in America Pack won The Collectors’ Club medal, and was named in the American Philatelic Society Hall of Fame for 1941. The famous Brazil 1843 Bull’s Eye interpanneau strip of three with two different values was also named “The Pack Strip” in deference to his ownership of this unique item which was sold at auction by David Feldman SA in 1993 for 1.15million Swiss Francs. It goes without saying that a man who grew so tall in philatelic stature would sign the Roll of Distinguished Philatelists in 1921, and he was honorary member of many philatelic societies around the world, and during his lifetime Pack generously donated collections to both the Collectors Club in New York, and The Royal Philatelic Society in London. Pack won the highest awards Internationally for his exhibitions, in all the areas he collected, and he made many friends not just for his stamp expertise but also for his generosity in giving his time and sharing his wealth of knowledge.
So it is easy to see why Pack is represented by an awesome oak tree in what is a pivotal spot in the philatelic scenery, and which commands a handsome position in our overall horizon. It is no coincidence that Pack stands out amongst the wider vista of trees which represent a great and wonderful forest of legendary collectors. Pack perhaps with one or two of the others who stand as tall seem, in many ways, to emit a refreshing philatelic oxygen that gives life to any budding or fledgling collector, who one day might, with the right amount of philatelic growth, rise into a legend like Charles Lathrop Pack. The Philatelic Tree left by Pack, stands out as one of the all time great symbols of what makes up our philatelic landscape.
Next time we meet Frederick J. Melville. You can catch-up on the previous 17 legendary collectors by clicking the links: Legendary Collectors: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10, Part 11, Part 12, Part 13, Part 14, Part 15, Part 16 and Part 17