Award Criteria

To recognize its authors, La Posta sponsors two annual awards. The winners are selected based upon annual voting results by the La Posta editorial staff and subscribers of La Posta.
The Richard W. Helbock Prize, established in 2012, is awarded to the best postal history article appearing in the previous year’s La Posta: The Journal of American Postal History. The Richard W. Helbock Prize is named in honor of the founding editor of La Posta who died from a heart attack in 2011. Helbock founded La Posta in 1969 and continued to edit the journal for more than 42 years until his death.
The Charles A. Fricke Small Bites Award, established in 2016, is for the best one- or two-page article appearing the previous year’s La Posta. The award is named for Charles A. Fricke, a postal card specialist, long time author and La Posta columnist, who died in 2017 at age 94.

2020 Richard W. Helbock Prize (for 2019 articles)

  1. Charles Neyhart Jr., “A Case Study of the Demise of the West Portland Oregon, Fourth Class Post Office” 1Q

  2. Michael Wing, “The Origins of Rural Free Delivery: An Emancipated Slave and a Georgia Politician” 4Q

  3. Bill Nix, "Liberty Before the Storm: Naval Covers from 1937’s Portland Rose Festival, 1Q

  4. Jesse I. Spector, M.D., "Kickapoo Joy Juice and Stanley’s Snake Oil—A Pandora’s Box from the Back-of-the-Book", 4Q

  5. Eric Knapp, "Alaska’s Gold Rush Forts: The U.S. Army Forts and Camps 1897-1925", 4Q

Receiving honorable mentions were:
Ronald Blanks, “Dealer Mail Helped Supply Scarce 1975 Degressive Rate Covers” 2Q
John M. Hotchner, “Customs Duty Markings on Incoming Covers Part Five: The Green Tape Markings” 2Q
Patricia Kaufmann, “Thomas Hardy: Forebearer of Military Royalty” 1Q
Ralph Nafziger, “William S. Linto: A Prolific Cachetmaker” 4Q
Jesse I. Spector, “President John Tyler, The Accidental President” 4Q

2019 Richard W. Helbock Prize (for 2018 articles)

  1. James W. Milgram, M.D., “Portfolio and Package Envelopes of the American Civil War” 3Q

  2. Jesse I. Spector and William Kaczynski, “Japanese Americans in World War II: February 19, 1942, A Day that Should Live in Infamy” 2Q

  3. Richard S. Hemmings, "Enigma from the Stamp Vault: Stanley Gibbons, New York and Their Educator Packets, Part III: The Geography of Stanley Gibbons", 1Q

  4. Rick Barrett, "The Amazing Prolific Marketing of the 1901 Pan American Exposition Souvenir Stamps", 4Q

  5. Diane DeBlois and Robert Dalton Harris, "Newspapers and the Mail in Missouri 1832 to 1855", 3Q

Receiving honorable mentions were:
Ronald Blanks, “Dealer Mail Helped Supply Scarce 1975 Degressive Rate Covers” 2Q
John M. Hotchner, “Customs Duty Markings on Incoming Covers Part Five: The Green Tape Markings” 2Q
Patricia Kaufmann, “Thomas Hardy: Forebearer of Military Royalty” 1Q
Ralph Nafziger, “William S. Linto: A Prolific Cachetmaker” 4Q
Jesse I. Spector, “President John Tyler, The Accidental President” 4Q

2018 Richard W. Helbock Prize (for 2017 articles)

  1. Richard Street Hemmings, “Enigma from the Stamp Vault: Stanley Gibbons, New York and Their Educator Packets, Parts 1 and 2,” 3Q and 4Q

  2. Jack Hilbing and Stan Bednarczyk, “The Story of the Brand Hoard: The People, Breweries, Coins and Covers,” 2Q

  3. Charles A. Neyhart Jr., "Swift & Company and the North Portland Post Office", 4Q

Receiving honorable mentions were:
John M. Hotchner, “Post Office Handling of Coin Covers Could Result in Postage Due Markings, But Mostly Don’t” 4Q
Patricia A. Kaufmann, “Breaking the Rules: A Civilian Flag of Truce Cover” 2Q
James Milgram, “Indian Territorial Postal Usages in the Confederacy” 1Q
Jesse Spector, “Crossing the Isthmus of Panama in 1850” 2Q
Steve Swain, “‘Fake Town’ Spanish-American War Postal History” 1Q

2017 Richard W. Helbock Prize (for 2016 articles)

  1. Patricia A. Kaufmann, “Confederate Postal History: California Overland Mail to a Confederate Prisoner of War” 3Q

  2. Charles A. Newhart Jr., “East Portland, Oregon: A Postal Heart Still Beats” 4Q

  3. Charles Neyhart, “Missed Connections? The May 15-21, 1938, Air Mail Week in San Diego” 2Q

  4. Richard D. Martorelli, “The U.S. Postal Service’s ’90-Day Wonder’ Rates” 3Q

  5. Jesse I. Spector and Robert L. Markovits, “Espionage and Sedition in America in the First World War” 4Q

Receiving honorable mentions were:
Wayne Anmuth, “The Postmarks of Sandy Spring, Maryland, and Its Adjacent Villages” 1Q
Joe Crosby, “A World War II Cover to My Parents Found Online” 1Q
John Hotchner, “Unusual Auxiliary Markings on Outgoing International Mail” 1Q
Dennis Pack, “Special Delivery Markings Used at Washington, D.C., Substations” 3Q
Paul Petosky, “The Drummond Island, Michigan, Post Offices” 3Q


2016 Richard W. Helbock Prize (for 2015 articles)

  1. Charles Neyhart, “Play It Again, San Diego–The 1935 California Pacific International Exposition” 2Q

  2. Kelvin Kindahl, “The Inside Story of the Staples Post Offices” 4Q

  3. Wayne Anmuth, “The Postmarks of Rockville, Maryland: Postal Cancellations from 1801 to 1975” 3Q

Receiving honorable mentions were:
“A Cover to a Sea Captain—The Victim of Mutiny and Murder” by Patricia A. Kaufmann
Three by Jesse I. Spector and Robert L. Markovits:
“Resurrecting William Thompson: Lunatic Asylums in the Western World”
“A Patriotic Cover and the Johnson’s Island Confederate Prisoner of War Camp”
“A Great War Postal History Perspective”


2015 Richard W. Helbock Prize (for 2014 articles)

  1. Charles Neyhart, “A Knife in the Back – The 1915 San Diego Panama California Exposition” 3Q

  2. Richard Hemmings, “We Circle the Globe: The Post Card Union and Their Private Stamps” 2Q

  3. Jesse I. Spector and Robert L. Markovits, “Mary White Ovington and the Fight for Racial Equality” 2Q

Receiving honorable mentions were:
“The Modern Challenge: The U.S. Postal Service Sorts the Mail” by David Crotty
“The Earliest Documented Use of a Government Postal Card in Alaska” by Don Glickstein
“International ‘Form of Mail’ Problems” by John M. Hotchner
“A Black Jack Use from the Old Capitol Prison” and “An Aristocratic Planter Goes to War” by Patricia A. Kaufmann
“Bisects in the Mails: Illegal But Tolerated” by Richard D. Martorelli
“The Rise and Fall of a Classified Postal Station: Station E and Montgomery Ward, Portland, Oregon” by Charles Neyhart
“The Classification of Four-Bar Postmarks Appearing After the Introduction of the ZIP Code” by Christine C. Sanders
“Atherton Perry Mason: Physician, Philatelist, Renaissance Man” by Jesse I. Spector and Robert L. Markovits


2014 Richard W. Helbock Prize (for 2013 articles)

   1. Charles Neyhart, “The 1905 Portland, Oregon, Lewis & Clark Exposition Postal Stations” 2Q

  2. Henry J. (Hank) Berthelot, “U.S. Foreign Offices’ Use and Handling of Fractions on Insufficiently Paid UPU Cards” 2Q

  3. Richard S. Hemmings , “Intoxicated Ground Zero” 1Q

  4. Barry Jablon , Auxiliary Markings of the 1869 Three-Cent Pictorial Issue” 4Q

Receiving honorable mentions were:
“The United States’ Large Grant Postal Cards Use in the UPU Mail” by H.J. Berthelot;
“The Postage Meter Tips Off Mail Preparation” by David Crotty;
“The 411 of 9/11” by Richard Hemmings;
“First Battalion Florida Special Cavalry: ‘Munnerlyn’s Cow Cavalry’” by Patricia A. Kaufmann;
“The SMS Kronprinz Wilhelm Revisited” by Jesse Spector and Robert Markovits.


2013 Richard W. Helbock Prize (for 2012 articles)

   1. Richard Hemmings, “New York City’s Cortlandt Street: One Way to the River” 1Q

  2. Kenneth C. Wukash, “My Address is the World’s Fair” 4Q

  3. Thomas J. Richards, “The Postal History of the U.S. Naval Mission to Brazil” 3Q

Articles by Michael Dattolico, Andrew Mitchell, David Straight and three articles by the team of Jesse Spector and Robert Markovits also received votes.



2020 Charles A. Fricke Small Bites Award (for 2019 articles)

   1. Don Glickstein, “1944 Diplomatic Pouch Mail to Ceylon” 1Q

  2. Patricia A. Kaufmann, “A Cover from Chesapeake (Federal) Military Prison, Fort Hamilton, Virginia” 1Q

  3. Don Glickstein, “Rare ALCAN APO ‘Smoker’ Card Touches Little-Known Black History” 3Q

Receiving honorable mentions were:
“An 1874 Swiss Hotel Cover to Cleveland” by Harlan Stone 2Q
“A 1966 11-cent Aerogramme to Jerusalem, Jordan” by Richard S. Hemmings 1Q


2019 Charles A. Fricke Small Bites Award (for 2018 articles)

   1. Stephen Kochersperger, “32 Days Hath October” 1Q

  2. Louis Fiset, “1940 New York World’s Fair Employee Interned” 4Q

  3. Jeff Lough, “A 1902 New York Paquebot Marking on a Hamburg-American Line Cover from Columbia” 2Q

Receiving honorable mentions were:
“Vermont Statehood Censored FDCs” by Glenn Estus 1Q
“A Fraudulent Cancellation from the Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition” by Kirk Andrews 3Q


2018 Charles A. Fricke Small Bites Award (for 2017 articles)

   1. Jim Doolin, “A Rare Cover Related to Pancho Villa, Columbus, N.M., and the Pershing Expedition” 1Q

  2. Wayne Anmuth, “The Steel Blue Variety of the 24-Cent 1861 Issue” 2Q

  3. William Schultz, “A Confounding 1848 Cleveland SFL to Wurttemberg” 4Q


2017 Charles A. Fricke Small Bites Award (for 2016 articles)

   1. Roland Austin, “A Not-So-Special-Looking Special Rate” 3Q

  2. Kirk Andrews, “Smoking Gun Found for 1905 Portland Lewis and Clark Exposition Cancel Usage” 4Q

  3. Jerry Johnson, “Mailed Without Postage During the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake Recovery” 2Q

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