The Claude C. Ries Southern California Chapter #48 of the American First Day Cover Society is the largest chapter in the AFDCS. With a current membership of 70, the organization is one of the most active chapters in the AFDCS. Over 30 of the chapter members are cachet makers, who produce their own cacheted FDCs on a regular basis for sale and/or trade.
The members of the Ries Chapter meet six times each year. On four of those occasions, the members conduct their meeting at a potluck food gathering. The other two meetings take place at ORCOEXPO in January in Anaheim, CA, and at SESCAL in October in Los Angeles. At the end of each meeting, except for the Yule Tuber in December, a drawing is held in which each member gets to select one or more covers that are donated by the attending members. A drawing is not held at the Yule Tuber, because the members conduct live bidding event to raise funds for their chapter treasury. A portion of the auction proceeds is donated to the AFDCS Publication Fund.
Besides eating and having meetings during the year, the Ries Chapter is involved in other philatelic events. When the occasion arises, the chapter has co-hosted with the local USPS personnel First Day of Sale ceremonies. Three of these ceremonies included the 2008 Bette Davis stamp, the 2010 Cowboys of the Silver Screen stamps, and the 2010 Katherine Hepburn stamp. In addition, the chapter has co-hosted various local non-First Day philatelic events like the 2010 Centennial of the First Air Meet in America. For many of the afore-mentioned events, the chapter has prepared the ceremony program, the postal cancellation, and/or the official event cacheted cover. Two of our chapter officers have actually performed the cancellation duties at these events for years.
The AFDCS holds its annual convention called AMERICOVER in July or August in different locations throughout the U.S. One of the most popular activities at AMERICOVER is the Hospitality Suite, which is usually hosted by the local chapter of the AFDCS. When there is no local chapter, or when the local chapter is unable to handle all of the responsibilities, the Ries Chapter co-hosts the Hospitality Suite with the local chapter and/or the Robert C. Graebner Chapter #17 from Virginia, another very active chapter within the AFDCS.