William J. Ainsworth (1941-2010)

William J. Ainsworth, a 30 year veteran of KPMG consulting, avid collector of Abraham Lincoln stamps and postal history, and above all a true gentleman who loved life, died in Roswell, Georgia on April 5th. He was 68 years old.

Mr. Ainsworth utilized the same analytical and social skills that made him a success in business in his collecting. After being a general collector of United States stamps, he chose as his specialty stamps bearing images of Abraham Lincoln. For the next thirty years he methodically sought out and acquired philatelic material in the best possible condition for all of the myriad United States issues that portrayed Lincoln. Included were essays, proofs, issued stamps and postal history of both postal and revenue issues. The sheer scope would have overwhelmed most collectors, but not Bill.

When I first had the privilege of working closely with Mr. Ainsworth, he was in the process of refining the collection and wanted to perfect his exhibiting skills and share his wonderful material with a broader audience. Although, like most collectors, Bill wanted to win any philatelic competition he entered, it was the social aspect of philately that he enjoyed most. This does not diminish his philatelic accomplishments in exhibiting. Counting International and National stamp shows, showing both single-frame and multi-frame Lincoln exhibits, Bill collected some 33 awards - all but three being Gold or better. Several of his exhibits are preserved on this website, linked from the Exhibits Page.

Richard Frajola and Bill Ainsworth at Garfield-Perry show in 2009

After surgery in 2003, Bill continued his unabated enthusiasm for life and philately. His ever-positive attitude was simply inspirational to those he came in contact with. Despite significant impediments to travel caused by his illness, he continued to attend stamp shows whenever possible. In 2008 he made the difficult decision to sell his treasures - keeping only a small group of interesting material that he could continue to collect and share.

Nick and Kamila Kirke with Bill Ainsworth reviewing Bill's auction catalog in 2009

Spink Shreves Galleries sold his collection in April 2009, the two hundredth anniversary of Lincoln's birth. The award-winning catalog produced for the auction became an instant classic and a must-have for all those interested in philatelic Lincolnalia.

Mr. Ainsworth's philatelic legacy is best measured not by the number of awards he received but by the number of friends he made. He was genuinely beloved by the legions of collectors he met.

Richard Frajola (April 2010)