Kuntz, Fred

Fred Kuntz, USCS #3411

Fred is one of a few 50+ year members of USCS, joining in 1956 while a sophomore in high school. His father was a naval officer (CWO-4) stationed at NATO Headquarters-Western Atlantic in Norfolk, Virginia. His dad had served with Chester Knowlson (USCS #1,444), either on board the USS Lexington or at the Philadelphia Recruiting Station. After some correspondence between Fred’s dad and Chester, Knowlson sent Fred a box of 100 ship covers, 10-15 of which were addressed to Knowlson. The covers contained the usual assortment of Commissionings, Last Day of Commissions, First Day Postal Service and event covers. After his dad explained to Fred why Chester sent the covers, Fred, already a stamp collector, was hooked on naval covers.

Fred had started collecting stamps while a high school freshman and had a Scott’s International bound album which he had purchased for $5. He was buying stamps from his 25-35 cent an hour babysitting monies. Today, this start has grown into collecting 1840-1940 stamps of the world in Scott’s Specialty Albums, his collection reaching 45 albums at this point! Stamps remain his primary hobby but his cover interests remain strong and he enjoys reading the Log.

Fred is married to wife Dottie and they have 2 children and 3 grand children. After a childhood of being a Navy brat, moving from location to location, Fred graduated from California State University, Long Beach with a Masters of Art degree and he was a public school teacher for 38 years, including serving as a principal during summer school. One of his 6th grade students was David Carey who became publisher of The New Yorker magazine. Fred’s hobbies today include traveling, motor homing and collecting rocks and minerals. His stamp collecting knowledge got him a position working on the Smithsonian Stamp Collection in Washington, DC in the preservation office. He prepared the rare revenue stamps for their eventual sale to philatelists, something stamp collectors may remember from the news in the past couple of years. He has done some exhibiting at local stamp shows, including an exhibit of Taze Nicholson naval covers created for the 1957 Norfolk Naval Review.

Fred’s favorite covers are the ones his father sent to his fiancé at the time, later Fred’s mother, when he was aboard the USS Lexington. He remembers the price lists sent out by Ed Brennecke (USCS #H-122) who was the USCS Sales Chairman for a time. Fred played saxophone in 3 dance bands and earned $10 a gig. He used that money to buy the least expensive covers he could find on Ed’s lists. Ed’s list of covers were marked down a penny or two until all sold. Fred purchased all of his USS Constitution tour covers from Ed for 3-6 cents each. He also bought some Crosby’s. He kept records on the back of each cover of what he paid and he says he never paid more than 15 cents for a single cover in those early years. To quote Fred, “Ah, for yesteryear!”

USS Lexington Earhart Search Cover

by Steve Shay USCS #L-10,821