USCS Constitution & Bylaws
Constitution of the Universal Ship
(Revised August 2018)
1. Name. This Society shall be known as the Universal Ship Cancellation Society.
2. Headquarters. The official headquarters of the Society shall be at the residence of the Secretary or such
place as he shall designate.
3. Purpose. The purpose of the Society is to promote the study of the history of the United States Navy and its
ships; to promote and develop the collection and study of the postal markings of the United States Navy and
other maritime organizations of the world; to disseminate knowledge relative to such material; and to foster a
spirit of fellowship and cooperation among collectors.
4. Membership. Membership in the Society shall be open to any person, unless such person shall be denied
membership for cause in accordance with the procedure set forth below.
a. Applications for membership shall be made on a form provided by the Society; they shall be
accompanied by membership dues in the amount required on the date of application. Upon receipt of an
application for membership, the Secretary shall assign a membership number and place the new member’s
name upon the rolls of the Society. The Secretary shall send a monthly report of new members to the Log
Editor for publication in the next issue of the Log.
b. Any member of the Society may challenge a new member within sixty days of the mailing of
the Log listing such membership by writing to the Secretary, who shall then forward the challenge to the
President. Challenges shall be acted upon by the Board of Directors, a majority of which may order the
membership voided and the membership dues refunded.
c. There shall be four classes of membership:
(1) Subscribing members shall receive a subscription to the USCS Log and shall have all rights
and privileges of membership, including the right to vote in elections and hold office.
(2) Life members are members 21 or older who have paid a one time membership fee in lieu of
further annual membership dues. Life members shall have all the rights and privileges of Subscribing
members. Life membership is non-transferable and terminates upon the death of the member.
(3) Youth members, age under 18, shall receive a subscription to the USCS Log and may vote in
elections but may not hold office. A youth member automatically becomes a Subscribing member at the
dues renewal date following the member’s eighteenth birthday. Date of birth must be provided with
applications for Youth membership.
(4) Upon reaching the 50th year since first joining USCS, members are designated Gold members
and may choose to use the prefix “G” before their membership number. There are no additional rights and
privileges with this membership class
(5) The Board of Directors shall prescribe procedures to transition to these classes of membership
from other classes that may have existed in the past.
d. Any member may be dropped from membership for cause by a two-thirds vote of all of the officers.
5. Membership Dues. Membership dues shall be as specified by the Board of Directors. Payment shall be made
in U.S. funds only.
6. Unpaid Membership Dues. Any member whose membership dues for the current fiscal year are not paid by
April 1 shall no longer be a member in good standing and their names shall be removed from membership and
mailing lists after mailing of the April Log.
a. A former member may be reinstated by paying membership dues at the same rate as required for a
new member, except that any former member applying for reinstatement in the year immediately following the
year in which he was in good standing shall be required to pay the full membership dues for the year. Reinstated
members shall be assigned the same membership numbers previously held.
b. Members are expected to resign when they wish to terminate their membership. Resignations
should be sent to the Secretary.
7. Officers. The officers of the Society shall be President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, Immediate
Past President, and eight Directors. The officers shall be designated as the Board of Directors. They shall
have duties, responsibilities and privileges as set forth in this Constitution and all powers requisite to the
proper performance of their duties. They shall be elected in the manner hereinafter provided for a term of
two years, which term shall commence at 12 o’clock noon on the first day of April of every odd year.
a. Any officer may be removed for cause from office by a two-thirds vote of all the officers.
8. President. The President shall be the chief executive of this Society and shall be responsible for the
observance and enforcement of this Constitution. He shall perform the various duties assigned to him in
this Constitution. He may appoint committees for such purposes as he deems necessary and require reports
from the chairmen. He shall appoint the Log Editor and all other appointive officers, and shall keep the
Board of Directors informed of appointments and other matters of interest.
9. Vice President. The Vice President shall advise the President and perform such duties as required of him
by the President. The Vice President shall coordinate recruiting for the Society.
10. Secretary and Treasurer.
a. The Secretary shall keep an accurate record of the membership of the Society and shall make a
monthly report to the Log Editor listing new members, reinstatements, changes of address, resignations,
deceased members and members dropped for cause for publication in the next issue of the Log.
b. The Treasurer shall keep an accurate record of and be responsible for all funds deposited to the
Society Treasury. Funds shall be deposited, as received, in a bank insured by an agency of the federal
government or in government-issued or insured financial instruments or in other investment instruments in
accordance with the guidance by the USCS Investment Committee; all disbursements shall be made by
check signed by the Treasurer. If necessary, the Treasurer shall maintain accounts in two or more banks so
that the balance in any one bank does not exceed the insurance limit. All disbursements shall be made by
check signed by the Treasurer, except those exceeding an amount prescribed by the Board shall be
countersigned by a designated officer of the Society. The Treasurer shall expend no funds except as
authorized by the annual budget or special request approved by a majority of the Board of Directors. He
shall make regular financial reports in such form and at such frequencies as may be prescribed by the
Board. The President and/or a director shall also be authorized to sign checks on the Society’s account, such
authority to be exercised only in the event that the Treasurer is incapacitated for any reason. The President
or his designate shall have alternate signature authority over other financial assets; password access to
accounts, where used, shall be kept on file with the Secretary.
c. The Treasurer shall obtain a position bond, and the cost of the bond shall be paid by the Society.
d. The records of the Treasurer shall be examined as soon as possible after the submission of the
required federal and state income tax returns for the previous fiscal year. The examination shall be
conducted by an accountant experienced in such examinations who has been approved by the President.
11. The Board of Directors. The government of this Society shall be vested in a Board of Directors for the
purpose of promulgating by-Laws, policies and practices. The Board shall be composed of the President,
Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, Immediate Past President, and eight Directors.
a. The President shall be Chairman of the Board and shall preside at all meetings of the Board;
however, in his absence, the Vice President, the Secretary and the Treasurer, in that order, shall preside.
b. A quorum shall consist of a majority of the officers. Each officer, except the President or the
person acting in lieu of the president because of the president’s absence from the meeting, shall be entitled
to cast one vote, a majority being necessary to carry the vote of the Board. The President shall only have a
tie breaking vote. When it is not possible for a quorum to meet together, the President shall submit all
questions for vote to the officers in writing.
c. The business of the Society may be conducted at annual meetings of the Board or by mail or via
the Internet and may include other procedures as the Board may prescribe. Any officer or Society member
may submit a proposed policy or instruction to the President who shall, in turn, forward to all board
members. Votes, either by mail or via the Internet shall be submitted to the Secretary for compilation
before announcing the results..
d. It is the intent of this Constitution to invest the President with powers and discretion in the
performance of his duties, but to retain final control in the Board of Directors.
12. Succession to Office. In the event of the absence, death, incapacity or removal of an officer of the
Society, succession to office until the next regular election shall be as follows:
a. President: Vice President.
b. Vice President: Director with the highest number of votes in the last election.
c. Secretary or Treasurer: As determined by the Board of Directors.
d. Director: Nominee for Director who received the highest number of votes in the last election
but who was not elected.
e. In the event of a temporary absence or incapacity of the President, the Vice-President, with the
concurrence of the majority of the Board of Directors, shall act for the President until such time as the
President is fully able to resume the duties of the office and has successfully petitioned the Board of
Directors to return.
13. Financial. No member shall create a debt against the Society without having first obtained written
authorization from the President or Treasurer. In no case shall such authorization exceed $100 unless
approved by the Board of Directors. No additional expenditure shall be authorized for any office or
committee, unless further approved by the Board of Directors.
a. The fiscal year of the Society shall be from April 1 to March 31 of the following year.
b. The President, within thirty days after receipt of the end of the year financial statement, shall
submit a proposed budget to the Board. When the budget has been approved by the Board, this will
constitute authority for the Treasurer to make the budgeted disbursements from Society funds.
c. The Board of Directors may authorize officers other than the Treasurer to hold bank accounts in
the name of the Society.
14. Log. The official bulletin of the Society shall be known as the USCS Log and shall be mailed to each
subscribing member in good standing. The official bulletin will be published once a month. The Log Editor
shall be responsible that the expenditures for the Log are kept within the budget and that the contents of the
Log do not conflict with the Constitution, By-Laws or any written order of the President or Board of
a. Advertising space in the Log may be sold at rates set by the Board; all funds received for
advertising shall be forwarded to the Treasurer.
15. Convention. The Convention of the Society, shall be held at such time and place as the President may
direct upon the approval of the Board of Directors.
16. Elections. The election of officers shall take place on February 15 of each odd year in accordance with
the following procedures.
a. The President shall notify the membership in the August issue of the Log that nominations for
the coming election will be open September 1 of the year prior to the election. Applicants shall make their
availability known to the Chairman of the Nominating committee and shall certify that he or she will serve
if elected. The nominee shall submit a short biographical sketch to the Secretary of the Nominating
Committee by November 1.
b. Candidates for all offices must have been members in good standing of the USCS for a
minimum of two years. Candidates for President must have been at one time elected national office holders
in the USCS.
c. The Secretary of the Nominating Committee shall forward the list of nominees to the Log Editor
for publication in the December Log.
d. On or before November 1, the President shall appoint a Ballot Committee composed of three
members who are not candidates for office and who reside in a proximate geographical area. One member
of the Committee shall be designated as Chairman by the President.
e. During the first week in December of the election year, the Secretary shall mail to each
Subscribing, Life and Youth member in good standing, by first class or air mail as appropriate, a ballot
listing all nominees and and addressed reply envelope. Alternately, the ballot and reply envelope may be
included in the December Log as an insert. In order to be counted, all ballots must be received by the
Chairman of the Ballot Committee before midnight, February 1st. Ballots mailed otherwise than specified
shall be voided.
f. The Ballot Committee shall forward a written report signed by all members to the President
listing the totals for each nominee, and the report shall be published in the March Log. In the case of a tie
vote for any office, the election shall be decided by a majority vote of the Board of Directors.
17. Chapters. Five members in good standing are necessary to form a chapter. An application for a charter,
signed by the chapter members and requesting the assignment of a number and suggesting a name for the
chapter, shall be made to the President.
a. Each chapter and its officer shall be amenable to the Constitution and By-Laws of the Society at
all times and to such regulations as the Board of Directors may prescribe for the operation of chapters.
Chapters shall submit to the President, annually in January, a report summarizing the prior year’s
activities and shall submit such other reports as the President may prescribe.
b. Each chapter shall be required to hold at least one meeting a year or the chapter shall be
declared inactive. The President, upon direction of the Board of Directors by a two-thirds vote, may revoke
a chapter charter for cause. All chapter names, numbers and charters shall remain permanent and are the
property of the Society. The President may place an inactive chapter under the supervision of the Vice
President, and all records, property and funds shall be turned over to the Vice President, pending
18. Amendments. Proposed amendments to this Constitution may be proposed by a majority of the Board
of Directors or by a petition signed by a minimum of twenty members in good standing. The amendment
shall become effective thirty days after the mailing of the Log in which it appears unless a majority of the
members voting do not approve it, in which case, it will be void.
19. By-Laws. By-Laws which are not in conflict with this Constitution may be enacted by the Board of
Directors. They will be published in the Log.
20. Dissolution. Upon dissolution of the USCS for any reason, all assets of the Society shall be donated to
the American Philatelic Research Library in State College, PA.
21. Effective Dates. This general revision of the Constitution was adopted by the Board of Directors in
July 1971, and became effective December 1, 1971; Amendment (new Art 20) October 1, 1978;
Amendment 2 (Arts 4,5,6,7,10,11,13, 16 & 17) December 1, 1985; Amendment 3 (Art 13) November 1,
1987; Amendment 4 (Art 10c) October 1, 1988; Amendment 5 (Art 4c & 16) October 1, 1991; Amendment
6 (Art 6) October 1, 1992; Amendment 7 (Art 18) November 1, 1993; Amendment 8 (Art 10) October 1,
1995; Amendment 9 (split of Secretary-Treasurer into two offices) October 1, 1996; Amendment 10 (# of
directors to 9) October 1, 1997; Amendment 11 (Art 16 nominating/ballot procedures) February 1, 2000;
Amendment #12 (Art 16 alternate ballot procedures) August 1, 2006; Amendment #13 (Art 4c eliminate
family member category) September 1, 2007; Amendment #14 (Art 10b Treasurer requirements) October 1,
2008. Amendment #15 (Art 10b Treasurer requirements & Art 7 & 11 Immediate past president as officer,
change # board members to 8, business via Internet); Amendment #16 (Art 17b chapter meeting & budget
prep) Oct 1, 2010. Amendment #17 (Article 10d to define timing of financial review, Article 11b to define
President role in voting) April 26, 2012. Amendment #18 (Article 12e to clarify Presidential absence)
September 2014. Amendment #19 (Article 10b to allow investments or in other investment instruments in
accordance with the guidance by the USCS Investment Committee). Amendment #20 (Article 7 modified
to clarify term Immediate Past President) September 19, 2014. Amendment #21 Article 4c, Reinstating
Gold membership. Amendment #22 Article 11c, Adding availability of other options for Board business
August 10, 2018
By Laws of the
Universal Ship Cancellation Society
(Revised February 2020)
The By-Laws of the USCS include policy decisions of the Board of Directors and information to
supplement or clarify selected provisions of the USCS Constitution. Where applicable, the corresponding
article of the Constitution is referenced in parenthesis.
1. Membership dues (supplemental to Constitution Article 6)
The following dues structure is effective September 1, 2007:
a. Subscribing member – Annual subscription and sustaining fees as determined by the Board of
Directors. Non-US member will pay an additional amount linked to the cost of postage to be calculated
annually and added to the basic subscription fee by the Treasurer.
b. Life member – a one time, sliding fee schedule for members based on age in lieu of future
annual membership dues.
c. Youth member – one half of Subscribing membership dues.
d. The Treasurer will set the rates for pro-rata dues to be paid by members who join at various
times during the fiscal year.
e. The Treasurer will make a second dues notice mailing to members who have not paid their dues
as of mid-February.
f. Dues once paid are not refundable.
2. Board of Directors (supplemental to Constitution Article 11)
Elected Directors are expected to:
a. Accept the obligation to participate fully in the affairs and promotion of the Society.
b. Attend the annual Board of Directors’ meeting. If not in attendance at the meeting, proxy
voting will not be allowed.
c. Exercise fiscal responsibility in decisions related to budgetary matters.
d. Inform the President promptly of any problem or areas of concern which may affect the Society.
e. Attend promptly to correspondence relative to Society business.
f. Internet voting procedures are established to provide time for discussion: motions to the
President will be carefully reviewed for clarity, then forwarded to the Board for a 10 day discussion period.
Before the end of the discussion period, the President will send a reminder that discussion shall end on a
date certain. The President will assure a quorum and call for a vote to be submitted to the Secretary.
Directors may vote “for”, “opposed” or “defer (to the next board meeting)”with a plurality prevailing. The
Secretary will compile the votes, advise the President of the results, and record the text and vote under
“Actions Taken Since Last Board Meeting” section of the next Board Meeting Agenda.
3. Financial (supplemental to Constitution Article 13)
a. The Treasurer shall conduct the financial business of the Society on a suitable financial software
program. The Treasurer will provide quarterly financial statements to the Board which show actual versus
budgeted expenses for the reporting period and year to date.
b. In the annual financial statement, prepaid dues for the following fiscal year will be accounted
for separately from current year operating income in order to provide a clear picture of current year
c. Service managers who deposit $2,000 or more per annum shall establish a dedicated bank
account to facilitate their particular service for maximum efficiency or shall forward checks to the USCS
Treasurer in a timely manner. Such dedicated bank accounts shall not be co-mingled with personal funds.
The service manager shall file the name and location of the bank, account name and number and an access
card with the USCS Secretary so that the latter may access the account in the event of death or disability of
the service manager. Service managers shall file an annual report at the call of the President.
d. The investment policy of the USCS shall be established by an investment committee with the
approval of the Board of Directors. The committee shall consist of three members including the Treasurer.
The committee shall establish a simple balanced portfolio that may include mutual funds (stock) and such
fixed investments as a bond fund, stock fund, money market fund, cash equivalents, and cash in the bank.
4. Log (supplemental to Constitution Article 14)
a. Articles in the Log may be reprinted by chapters outside the United States in which English is
not the native language.
b. The Editor may refuse articles, letters or advertisements submitted for publication which, in his
opinion, do not promote the study of the United States Navy and its ships or the study of postal markings of
the U.S. Navy and other maritime organizations of the world.
c. Advertising rates shall be set by the Board of Directors and published in the Log.
d. Listing of covers for sale in the Log shall be made available, free of charge as space is
available, to USCS members, chapters and non-profit clubs.
(1) Listings will be limited to covers directly related to the Navy or other maritime organizations.
(2) Listings will be limited to covers for sale at a nominal price, considering the cost of producing
(3) The Editor shall have sole discretion to determine whether or not a cover offered for listing
meets these criteria.
(4) Sponsors shall submit either a completed cover or a $1.00 donation per cover listed. All
covers submitted under this requirement become the property of the USCS and may be sold for the benefit
of the Society.
(5) Covers for sale will be listed in a separate section of the Log; offers will not be included in
(6) The Editor shall publish procedures for listing covers for sale and may restrict the number of
free listings per month for an individual sponsor.
5. Convention (supplemental to Constitution Article 15)
a. The USCS will sponsor awards for convention exhibits as agreed to by the Board of Directors.
b. The senior USCS member (lowest number) will be given the honor of adjourning the annual
General Membership Meeting.
c. The USCS will take an ad in the convention program.
6. Elections (supplemental to Constitution Article 16)
a. Upon assuming office, the President shall appoint a Nominating Committee of five members to
prepare a slate of nominees for the next biennial election for the offices of President, Vice President,
Secretary, Treasurer, and Director. Nominees will submit the required biographical information by the
7. Chapters (supplemental to Constitution Article 17)
a. USCS chartered chapters may also include non-USCS members.
b. An application for a charter shall be submitted in writing and include:
(1) A roster of charter members, including non-USCS members
(2) The proposed slate of officers listing, as a minimum, President, Secretary, Treasurer and
Cachet Director and
(3) A statement agreeing to comply with all provisions of the USCS Constitution and By-Laws
concerning Chapters. If the applicant cannot comply with a certain provision(s), a request for waiver of the
provision(s) and reasons therefore shall be included in the application.
c. The USCS President will submit a copy of the request to each Director who shall respond
within 14 days to the Secretary who will compile the results and advise the President. The President shall
notify the applicant of the Board of Directors decision within 30 days of receipt of the application. A duly
signed and dated Certificate of Charter will accompany an approved application.
d. A chapter with less than three active members may be declared “Inactive” by the President.
e. Annual reports from chapters are due by January 31st of each year and will include an up to date
roster of members. The Chapter Coordinator will notify each chapter, annually in December, of the
information desired with the report.
f. Any chapter which is unable to meet the Article 17b requirement concerning meetings shall
request a waiver with reasons therefore with its annual report.
g. The charter of a chapter which fails to submit the required annual report for two successive
years may be revoked for cause as prescribed by Article 17.
a. Each member, other than the elected officers, who recruits five or more members in a calendar
year shall receive a dues-paid membership for the following fiscal year. Credits are non transferable and
do not apply toward sustaining or other Society fees. The Secretary shall maintain the necessary records
for this program; all decisions of the Secretary are final.
9. Heirs and Estates
a. The USCS provides an advisory service only and will recommend to heirs and estates of
deceased members sources through which a collection may be disposed. USCS dealer members will be
given preference whenever possible.
10. Matters of Policy
a. Mailing labels shall not be provided to private individuals other than those representing a USCS
b. All disciplinary action against or warnings to members by the Board of Directors will be noted
on the member’s record and may constitute cause for refusal to renew or reinstate membership status.
Should a member be expelled who, in the meantime, has not renewed membership, the expulsion shall be
retroactive to the previous March 31st.
11. Donation Policy
a. The USCS encourages donations to help it in furthering its educational goals. The Society is
tax-exempt under the provisions of Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and all donations to it
are deductible by the donor to the extent provided by law.
b. The Society gladly accepts donations of philatelic and directly related material for its programs,
the value of which is deductible by the donor subject to Internal Revenue Service rules. Under federal law,
the Society is prohibited from evaluating such donations. Donors of material valued in excess if $500 in a
calendar year must file IRS form 8283 (Non-Cash Charitable Contributions) with their tax returns. For
donations exceeding $5,000 in a fair market value during a calendar year, the donor must obtain a qualified
written appraisal for the donation to support the estimate, which estimate cannot be provided by the USCS.
Because of tax reporting requirements, donation of property valued in excess of $750 must be approved by
the Board of Directors in advance. Those who wish to make large donations of philatelic property for the
Veterans’ Hospital program will be given the address of a hospital so that a direct donation may be made.
c. The USCS will not accept restricted donations to other than the Veteran’s Hospital program.
Donations for the Veteran’s Hospital program will be passed through at no cost when no substantial effort
by the Society is required. However, donations that require sorting, evaluation, and processing will be
handled with one third of the net proceeds accruing to the USCS Treasury.
d. The President shall appoint a standing Donations Committee composed of three appropriate
officers, service managers or members in good standing to oversee receipt, inventory, disposal and/or
reporting in compliance with IRS requirements of such donated material.
12. Amendments and Effective Date
a. Additions, deletions or changes to these by-laws may be made by a majority vote of the Board
b. These by-laws, having been accepted by the majority of the Board of Directors on December
20, 1990, are effective on February 28, 1991. Modifications to Articles 1, 2, and 12 were approved July 26,
1991 and are effective October 31, 1991. Modifications to Articles 11 and 12 were approved and become
effective June 11, 1994. Modification to Article 6 (Nominating Committee) was approved May 15, 1998,
effective immediately. Modifications to Article 1f (second notice) and 6 (election/slate) were approved and
are effective on November 12, 1999. Modification to Article 10 (Heirs & Estates) was approved effective
September 19, 2000. On August 9, 2002, the dues structure of Article 1a and was modified as of the 2003-
2004 renewal year; the provisions of Article 1g and 12c were added, and the financial reporting of Article
3a was modified, effective immediately. On May 26, 2007, Article 12b was modified and Article 12d
added to bring requirements for donations into compliance with IRS requirements. On September 1, 2007
Article 1 was modified to delete family member status. On October 9, 2009, Article 2f was revised to
stipulate Internet voting procedures and Article 7c modified. On May 28, 2010, Article 2f was modified to
clarify Internet voting procedures. On April 5, 2011, Article 2b was modified to clarify proxy voting is not
allowed; Article 3c was added. On April 26, 2012, Article 3c was modified to clarify service manager
handling of funds. The following Articles were modified, 4c, deleting copy requirement, 4d, deleted
requirement to reserve 2 pages for Log Donation auction, 5a, changed specifics on convention awards, 5b,
deleted awards by individual sponsors, 5c, deleted host chapter notification of awards, 5d, deleted host
chapter determination of frame fees, 5e, deleted convention coordinator need to obtain judges, 5f, deleted
banquet ticket provided to judges, 5g, deleted requirements for USCS judges, 5i, changed requirement and
specifics on convention show program advertisement, 8, deleted Study groups, 11a, deleted Slide Program,
11d, deleted specific pictorial cancel assistance to ships. On August 30, 2013, The Treasurer shall conduct
the financial business of the Society on a suitable financial software program added to Article 3a. deleted
1b, new Life memberships. On September 19, 2014, added 3d Investment Committee. On August 20,
2016, added 1b, added Life memberships. On April 26, 2019 changed 2f, period from 14 days to 10 days.
On February 10, 2020, changed 11b, from $500 to $750.