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

Philosateleian Blog

Ideal Postal Scale weighs in style

While visiting an antique mall in New Braunfels, Texas, last month, I saw several postal scales of varying sizes and designs. One in particular caught my eye, and although I didn’t purchase it during that visit because I thought it was priced a bit too high, I later returned and made a lower offer which was accepted.

Ideal Postal Scale
Ideal Postal Scale

The basic design of this Ideal Postal Scale, which can accommodate items weighing up to two pounds, has been around for well over a century. The label on the front of the scale has markings for each ounce, but instead of simply having a number indicating each ounce, the label indicates lists what was at the time of its manufacture the appropriate amount of postage for each step up in weight.

Ideal Postal Scale label
Ideal Postal Scale label

By consulting a reference book that I purchased earlier this year—U.S. Domestic Postal Rates, 1872–2011 (Third Edition), by Henry Beecher and Anthony Wawrukiewicz—I’ve concluded the scale dates to the latter half of the 1920s.

Although the 2¢ per ounce rate used for first-class mail was in effect from the 1880s on until 1932, the rates listed for other classes of mail indicate that rate changes introduced in 1925 had already come into effect.

Granted, this scale can’t handle heavier packages like modern digital scales can, but I can certainly weigh my outgoing mail and small parcels in style!

New American Indian acquisitions

My collection of the 14¢ American Indian stamp has grown a bit over the past month, and two of the additions are of special note.

First, I snagged this great plate flaw on eBay! If you look closely, you can see that there is a diagonal scratch running from the “ED” of “UNITED” nearly all the way down to the bottom of the vignette. This variety is not listed in Loran French's seminal work, Encyclopedia of Plate Varieties on U.S. Bureau-Printed Postage Stamps, but that book was admittedly published nearly 40 years ago.

14-cent American Indian stamp with diagonal scratch running across vignette
14¢ American Indian stamp with plate flaw

The other American Indian item that I’m more than a little excited about came by way of a postal history dealer. I’ve generated a detailed writeup, but the summary is that it is an extremely scarce example of the 14¢ stamp paying the quadruple-weight international surface letter rate that was in effect in 1934 (five cents for the first ounce, and three cents for each additional ounce).

Front of cover bearing 14-cent American Indian stamp
14¢ American Indian cover mailed from New York, New York

This is a “show me another one” kind of item, and I’m happy to add it to my collection.

Rosback tabletop perforator for sale

Update: this machine has been sold. Thank you for your interest!

When I started seriously searching for a pinhole perforating machine back in early 2014, I had no idea whether or not I would ever actually get to own one. Late that year, however, I did have the opportunity to purchase a Franklin tabletop perforator.

Since that time, I’ve been able to purchase two other perforating machines: a Southworth tabletop perforator, which I use to perforate my Philosateleian Post local post stamps, and a recently acquired Rosback tabletop perforator. I’m now offering the Rosback for sale!

About the machine

In addition to its better known treadle-operated models, Rosback produced several different tabletop perforators. This lovely piece of machinery with its utilitarian military green paint is neither the oldest nor the newest of those tabletop machines, but somewhere in the middle, probably dating to the 1930s.

Rosback tabletop perforator
Rosback tabletop perforator

As is often the case with these old machines, this one has some cosmetic wear. For example, the alignment guide that was originally bolted on to the front of the wooden table has been removed. In addition, the bolt that secures the handle to the perforator apparently broke at some point, and a previous owner drilled a hole through the handle and the shaft to which it attaches, securing the handle with a replacement bolt and square nut not original to the machine. From what the owner of another one of these perforators has told me, I get the idea that this is probably actually an improvement over the original design, as it’s impossible for the handle to slip on the shaft when the machine is being operated.

Rosback tabletop perforator logo
Rosback tabletop perforator logo
Rosback tabletop perforator handle with bolt
Rosback tabletop perforator handle with bolt

Despite these minor wear and tear notes, the perforator works flawlessly. It has all of its pins, which are nice and sharp—not worn out—and that means you can punch a 10-inch long line of nice, crisp holes. As a bonus, the perforator still has its original wooden table; that’s something a lot of perforating machines (including the Franklin I originally purchased) have lost along the way. In addition, the rear of the table has an adjustable guide that can be used to align the paper you’re perforating.

Rosback tabletop perforator pins
Rosback tabletop perforator pins
Rosback tabletop perforator adjustable guide
Rosback tabletop perforator adjustable guide
Paper perforated by Rosback tabletop perforator
Paper perforated by Rosback tabletop perforator

My price

So, how much am I asking for this beautiful item? It can be yours for just $500 plus shipping (unless you make a trip to San Antonio to pick it up). If you come to San Antonio, or if I ship to a Texas address, I also have to collect 8.25% sales tax since various state and local government entities want their piece of the pie, too.

The perforator weighs somewhere around 65 pounds. I’ll ship the perforator itself and the wooden table in separate packages to help make them as manageable as possible.

If you’re interested, please contact me right away; include your address so I can provide an estimate of the shipping cost, and let me know how you plan to use the machine. I look forward to getting it into a good home!

Fall 2017 update for The Philosateleian

Great news, stamp album fans! The Fall 2017 Supplement (141 KB, 2 files, 12 pages) for The Philosateleian U.S. Stamp Album is now available for you to print and download! This update includes spaces for more than 50 United States postage stamps issued since the release of the summer supplement.

I hope you enjoy adding these updates pages to your stamp album, and I appreciate your continued support for my project. Happy collecting!

Stamp club meeting cancelled as Hurricane Harvey approaches

As you may have seen on the news, Hurricane Harvey is headed toward Texas. The forecast calls for lots of rain and some wind in the San Antonio area over the weekend.

Although it’s still unclear when bad weather may arrive, the San Antonio Philatelic Association is cancelling its scheduled club meeting for this week. “As much as we may love our hobby, there is no reason to tempt Mother Nature as to the arrival time of this storm,” wrote SAPA Treasurer Fred Groth earlier today. “The bourse scheduled for this Friday is cancelled.”

In addition, next Friday is part of a holiday weekend, so no meeting is scheduled for that day, either. That means the next SAPA meeting will be held on September 8.

Stay dry, and stay safe!

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