Philosateleia
Kevin Blackston
PO Box 17544
San Antonio TX 78217-0544
United States of America

Philosateleian Blog

Cal Farley’s Boys Ranch joins faux postage movement

I’m gradually getting caught up on things after time out of town, and wanted to share the latest interesting business reply envelope that I’ve received as part of a nonprofit mailing, this one from Cal Farley’s Boys Ranch.

Cal Farley’s Boys Ranch business reply envelope with faux postage stamp designs
Cal Farley’s Boys Ranch business reply envelope

The holiday-themed designs picture a Christmas tree, a present with the word “Noel,” and a bird.

At only 7″×4⅛″, this is an unusually small business reply envelope, and the faux postage stamp designs on the front are smaller than one would expect real stamps to be, but it’s obvious that the mailer was trying to give the impression of stamps being present.

Although I’ve received numerous BREs from Boys Town, which is the first organization that I knew was using stamp-sized labels or preprinted designs, this envelope is the first of that sort that I’ve received from Cal Farley’s Boys Ranch.

Philosateleian Post wedding anniversary FDC arrives

Last Friday was the first day of issue for Philosateleian Post’s new stamp commemorating Sarah’s and my 10th wedding anniversary, and the first day cover that I mailed to myself showed up in my post office box by Monday.

First day cover bearing Philosateleian Post 1-stamp 10th Wedding Anniversary stamp
Philosateleian Post 10th Wedding Anniversary FDC

I’ve noticed that a lot of stamps with water-activated gum, both my own creations and older United States stamps used for postage in recent months, end up seriously scraped or scuffed, sometimes with a little scroll of paper hanging off the side; I presume something in the mail processing equipment is doing the damage. In this case, however, the only obvious damage was a tiny scrape near the upper point of the triangle, so I’ll count that as a win.

Also of note here is the surprising legibility of the postmark cancelling the Merced River stamp that I used to pay postage. Linn’s recently reported that mail processing centers around the United States began using new cancellation printers this month, and it looks like San Antonio must be one of them. In my opinion, it is a definite change for the better.

United States Thank You stamps are sharp, classy

When I went to the post office to mail a package yesterday, I asked the clerk who assisted me if he had any of the new United States Thank You stamps in stock. He did, so I purchased a couple of panes. It doesn’t necessarily show up all that well in scans, but the design on each of these four stamps is a shiny gold, and they look sharp!

Block of four United States Forever “Thank You“ stamps
United States Thank You stamps

“Thank you” is a phrase that seems to have all but disappeared in some places, so to see it on a stamp makes me smile a little bit. And think of how perfect these things will be for use on thank you notes! I’ve been underwhelmed by a lot of new United States stamp issues this year, but these are big winners as far as I’m concerned.

My only complaint about these stamps is that on both panes that I purchased, what look like cracks are visible to the naked eye near the bottom edge of many of the stamps, as illustrated here. This is most apparent on the stamps with the darker backgrounds.

Apparent crack near bottom edge of design of United States Thank You stamp
Apparent crack

I can’t help wondering if this visual effect has something to do with whatever process was used to apply the gold designs, but maybe I just got a couple of panes from a batch that wasn’t quite perfect. Have you seen any of the new Thank You stamps? I’d be interested in knowing if yours have these same apparent cracks, or if they are flawless.

NLEOMF uses cinderella label on business reply envelope

A friend and correspondent of mine, Mary S., recently sent a business reply envelope that she received from the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund to me. On the envelope, next to a label that bears three identical stamp-sized pieces of artwork, she wrote, “Are these real stamps?”

National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund business reply envelope bearing label with blue jay and flower cinderella label
National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund business reply envelope
Label bearing three copies of design picturing blue jay, dragonfly, butterfly, and flowers
Label picturing blue jay, dragonfly, butterfly, and flowers

The design on the label pictures a blue jay, a dragonfly, a butterfly, and a variety of flowers.

The answer to Mary’s question, of course, is no, these are not real stamps, but it’s easy to see how a non-collector could end up wondering about that. Like the Boys Town BREs that I’ve previously illustrated here, the designs on the label on this envelope are virtually the same size as the designs of actual United States postage stamps. Interestingly enough, this particular label even has simulated printed die cuts around each design, but once again, all three images are printed on a single label.

As I mentioned in my February 2019 post about a Boys Town BRE with similar labels, non-profits have found not only that applying actual postage stamps to their reply envelopes boosts response rates, but that applying labels or stickers apparently accomplishes the same thing. Regardless of their reasoning, it has provided me with some nice curios for my collection.

Bat’s Private Post issues Lebanon semipostal

The latest new release from Beverly Hills-based Bat’s Private Post is something fairly unusual for a local post: a semipostal stamp. The design picturing the flag of Lebanon was issued in imperforate sheets of six on August 31, 2020.

Bat’s Private Post Lebanese Flag semipostal local post stamp on first day cover
Bat’s Private Post Lebanese Flag semipostal FDC

A press release included with the first day cover pictured here states that the stamp pays Bat’s Private Post’s standard 60¢ postage fee, while the additional $1 generated by the sale of each stamp will be donated to the Lebanese Red Cross.

A massive explosion at the port in the Lebanese capital of Beirut in early August killed nearly 200 people and injured thousands of others, and reportedly left up to 300,000 people homeless.

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