Constitution & Bylaws

USCS Constitution & Bylaws

                                       Constitution of the Universal Ship

                                                   Cancellation Society

                                                                       (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

                                                 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

financial status.

            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

the cover.

            (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

other articles.

            (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.

8. Recruiting

            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

of Directors.

            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.